BY MARK WEBER
Kingston, Ontario country artist Amanda Sadler is gearing up for a cross-Canada trek which includes a radio tour stop in Red Deer on Jan. 12th. Her new single – Drop The Needle Down – is set for release on Jan. 20th. The cut was produced in Nashville, and is a co-written collaboration between Sadler, Dave ‘Dwave’ Thomson (Lady Antebellum, Autumn Hill) and Patricia Conroy.
“I started dancing when I was four years old. And then I was also figure skating at a very young age as well,” she explains during a recent chat. “And then I started singing in my church choir. Then my mom started telling me, ‘You really need to pick one thing!’
“I started to figure out that the common denominator in all of it was music. So that’s when we realized that as much as I loved dance, and I loved figure skating, it was definitely the musical element that I was drawn to.”
Her folks then put her in vocal and piano lessons early on. “I started playing piano when I was six. And I absolutely adored it.”
Creative expression, however, continued to take on several forms during those growing years.
“I was singing, acting and dancing. But around the age of 12 or 13 is when I got my first guitar,” she recalls. And that’s when a gift for songwriting began to surface as well.
“So at a very young age I knew what my passion was, and I knew what it was that I wanted to do.”
She later moved to Kingston, Ontario for post-secondary studies and the artistic growth continued.
“I was lucky enough to meet a few musicians and helped my music to blossom, and they would take me to gigs regularly,” she said. “So when I graduated, it was kind of a no-brainer for me that this is what I wanted to pursue – it’s always been my number one passion. I’m that type of person that when something is a passion, I just go for it.”
Meanwhile, the single Drop The Needle Down is a perfect example of Sadler’s contemporary sound while staying true to the tones of country music, as she sings about catching a moment in time and reveling in that memory.
Although Sadler has been trained as a singer and could likely sing pretty much any style, it was country music that really captured her attention from early on as well.
“My family has always listened to country music, so I was very much raised on it,” she explained. “I remember being up at our cottage, and my dad loved Shania Twain. When she put out her Come On Over album, and it had a bunch of those really popular songs on it, I remember falling in love with this idea of a female singer who is just very strong and the character she portrayed and her in her songwriting. So I always kind of loved the genre for that reason, too.”
And even though her family’s musical tastes extended beyond country, when Sadler started writing her own music she found that the genre was really the best fit for what she wanted to say. “Country – that’s just what naturally came out, so things just evolved that way.
“It wasn’t really even intentional. But I had always loved country music and that’s just what I gravitated towards.
“Country is always where my heart found its roots. The story telling aspect of it is what I’m most drawn to, especially because I’m so passionate about my songwriting. So I think it was just a natural fit for me.”
Sadler released her self-penned debut EP The Light in August of 2015. The project was was recorded at Willisoundz in Nashville. The EP features two radio singles, including the catchy Nice Just Ain’t Your Colour which awarded Sadler a semi-finalist position in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition.
“It’s all self-written,” she noted of The Light.
This year has also proven Sadler’s star is on the rise, with her having recently been selected to showcase at the CCMA Country Music Week as part of the Diamonds in the Rough and continuing to garner the praise of industry professionals.
She has also recently taken the stage at notable gigs such as the YGK Craft Beer Fest, as well as a debut writer’s round alongside award – winning songwriter Steve Wilkinson (The Wilkinsons).
This year continues to be an exciting one for Sadler, having recently returned from a writing stint in Nashville.
“I have found that everyone in country music is just so willing to help you out and to lend their expertise,” she said, adding that being in Nashville was itself a truly inspiring venture.
Her time spent there was fabulous – not just in laying down tracks but in learning so much from others. “I wanted it to be a project where I could express myself and start to learn who I really was as a writer, as a singer and as a performer,” she said. “I just wanted to create something that I was really proud of and that I felt expressed who I was.”
Just being in ‘Music City’ was a joy.
“Honestly, when they talk about cities like Nashville having an energy to them, it’s completely accurate. It’s absolutely true. Nashville is a city that just claimed my heart as soon as I stepped off the plane there,” she said.
“There are not only so many amazing people to write with and to record with, it’s just so inspiring to be there in that city where there is so much history in country music,” she said.
”It’s an experience in and of itself.”