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Amanda Sullivan - HerSong Interview

Amanda "Mandy" Sullivan is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter. Mandy plays classical guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, the Merlin (a dulcimer-guitar hybrid), and piano. She is currently the lead singer and co-songwriter for Sylvie's Songs Feat. Amanda Sullivan. For the duo's song "Roots Run Deep," Amanda and Sylvie were 2019 Gold Medal Winners at the Global Music Awards for Best Songwriter/ Best Lyrics and Amanda for Best Vocals. As part of the folk group The BeeKeepers, Amanda sang lead vocals on the EP, Songs From the Hive." The EP was recolonized with an Akademia Music Award for Best Folk EP. Mandy received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. She owns Mandy’s Music Lessons in Milford, CT where she currently teaches guitar, piano, and ukulele.

Photo by: Brittany Graf

What is your earliest memory of music? And, how did you get started in music?

My earliest memory of music is my mom singing nursery rhymes and folk songs to my sister and I. I got into playing music because my dad had his old guitar from his childhood sitting in the corner of the living room. I loved to sing and always gravitated towards musical instruments. When my parents saw I was drawn to the guitar, they took me to lessons which I am forever grateful for.

What was the first song you ever wrote? What or who inspired you to start writing music?

The first song I ever wrote was called "Where Was I?" I wrote it in elementary school. It was basically about my pondering on where was I before my life started? Where was "I" when the world was creating history?

Do you play any instruments? If yes tell us about it. If not, do you work with a band or studio musicians? Do you produce your tracks or work with a producer?

I play a couple of instruments. My main instrument is guitar and secondary is piano. I also play ukulele, the Merlin dulcimer, and a little bit of mandolin. I used to be in two groups: Celticity, a trio that performed classical arrangements of Celtic folk tunes (I was the classical guitarist) and The BeeKeepers (I was a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter). The BeeKeepers created an EP called "Songs from the Hive, Vol.1." A couple of my songs are on there along with Sylvie Abate, who is a dear friend of mine who I often write with.

What is your favorite part about being an artist (performing, recording, writing, playing)?

My favorite part about being an artist is having something that gives purpose to my life, a passion. I'm never bored.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for young women pursuing music?

My advise to young women pursuing music: decide early on if this is a full time job or a passionate hobby... If you choose this to be a full time job: how will you pay the bills and support yourself so you don't have to depend on anyone? Is going to a fancy arts school worth all that debt? Can you learn from a great teacher with private lessons instead? To pay the bills will you be performing at weddings and corporate events? Touring? Composing? Teaching in a public school? Teach in your own studio?

It's harsh but sometimes people don't want to talk about money. However, it's important especially if you want to make your dream a reality and not burn out. Also, try to talk to as many people as you can who have done this before you. Most music professionals in your local music community can be very helpful and encouraging. If you are deciding this as a hobby: how will you challenge yourself as a musician/artist? How will you continue to grow? Will you make sure to leave yourself enough room in the week to explore what music has to offer? If this is not for profit, can your skills in music be to enrich your community through volunteering as a performer or teacher?

For readers who have never heard your music, can you suggest one or two songs to start with?

A song I wrote that I'd love people to hear is "We Both Know" off of The BeeKeepers's EP: Songs From the Hive, Vol.1

Tell us where fans can access your music. Provide 1 or 2 links here:

You can find a lot of the songs I collaborated with Sylvie's Songs. You can find some of my music on her website.



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