Amanda Cunningham grew up moving between rural Carroll County and urban Baltimore County, Maryland. As a result there was a lot of diversity in the music she listened to and Amanda now describes her music as “if Mariah Carey and The Chicks had a baby and that baby grew up loving to overshare and sing.”
Others have described Amanda’s music as “combining deep, soulful vocals with raw, gritty honesty that allows her listeners to feel effortlessly understood and connected to the voice behind the music” and “the sultry sizzle in her vocalization has us craving the words that she offers up on a silver platter”—BuzzMusic
With the emotive, unfiltered singing talent and candid story-telling ability to express both vulnerability and strength, Amanda beautifully shares her struggles with mental health, heartache, working out who she is, and the struggles of young motherhood to listeners to say, “you are not alone, and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes."
Amanda's Superhero Origin Story
Amanda Cunningham Storytime: I had always been told I had a really good voice but I was never encouraged or discouraged from pursuing really anything in my childhood so I just followed the easy path and did nothing with singing and went to school like “normal.” The most I ever sang was lying on the floor in my bedroom as a teen belting Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” when I was feeling down.
Not normal is that I got pregnant a month before my 20th birthday and later found out that my baby daddy was married the whole time and I was actually a mistress...that was a fun, earth-shattering discovery that really helped my postpartum depression.
As a single mom living at home with a toddler I bucked up and finished school because it was the only way I knew to get a well paying job. I graduated with honors and a bachelor's degree in History—specifically focusing on slave-slaveholders race relations.
I actually didn’t do anything with music until I was out of college and got a marketing job. This led to crushing depressing because I was terrified that this was all that was left for me—sitting in a sad cubicle all day trying to sneeze as quietly as possible to not bother the person beside me...and getting excited for catered leftover sandwiches from meetings.
SO I applied to graduate school because I had no idea what to do but needed a purpose again. During this time I was asked during an icebreaker exercise on the first day of class “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
I said “I wanted to be a singer when I grew up, and that it just never really happened.” This next part sounds lame but is 1,000% true—this guy was sitting next to me and he innocently asked why I didn’t pursue it... and in that moment I realized I had never even tried, so then I decided to start.
I had no idea where to start though, so I looked up talent shows (because I had no idea what singing/music was like outside of the 6th grade talent show I competed and lost in). I surprisingly found a talent show open for adults nearby and registered.
I was extremely nervous and practiced like crazy leading up to the night after choosing an Adele song. I was terrible and lost. I had no vocal training, had obviously terrible stage fright, and just...plain not fun to listen to nor watch.
After the competition, I decided to take voice lessons and became increasingly serious about pursuing music. FLASH FORWARD: After 6 years of being a Digital Marketing Manager, I left in early 2021 to pursue music full time.
I used to say I was a pop/R&B singer but realized that wasn’t entirely true. I love pop and R&B but that didn’t feel “right” and I couldn’t figure out why. I would also often hear feedback from listeners and even unbiased song write ups that said things like “there’s clear soul and country influences in her music.”—TealCheese
Then on a 5 hour car trip to my in-laws, I randomly decided to listen to 2000s country music that I used to love. I was JAMMING. I had forgotten how much I loved The Chicks, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Shania, I could go on and on...
History internship I got to dress up like a nerd for :)
I had an epiphany that I was being stupid not just leaning into what my voice naturally intonated to and what my storytelling lyrics lent itself best to (side note: at one point in my early childhood I even lived in a trailer with an alcoholic father... I mean that’s just rife with country lyric inspo right there).
Open mic I sucked at in 2017
Which brings us to the present day. I’m still learning and growing everyday as a songwriter, singer, and as a normal human being. Being a “good” wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, singer, writer, etc., is hard and takes constant work to be aware of the person I’m being and asking myself “Is this who you want to be?” And sometimes it’s not and I have to force myself to pivot.
Some days I want to just take a nap but most days I push past that and get up and do the work that needs to be done by asking myself “What would Beyonce do?” She’d do the work...even if it’s begrudgingly.
Anyways, that’s my long story short-ish. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story because I hope that means you like my music enough to read through my rambling on and on. I’d love to stay in touch. Sign up for my VIP community using the link below and I can keep you up to date on the latest with me, behind the scenes stuff, early releases, free downloads, etc.
Cover gig I played in 2019
My little family at Disneyworld
My wedding day <3
What do you want to be known for?I’d like to be known for my honesty and real stories. I want to be known for having a powerful voice and something to say and making it okay for others to overshare their feelings and thoughts so that there is no mystery. If the mystery is gone then we can connect honestly. And if the mystery and masks that you use are gone and some people don't connect with you then that's fine because finding the REAL people you can connect with is important. I’d also like to be known for helping other artists write/share their story. Honesty and realness that was unsurpassed in my art and life. Always growing and being open to new experiences and opportunities to learn and be better as a human being.
What makes you unique?Nothing really. I’m joking but for real if we’re all special then nobody is special :) What makes me unique is that I'm always willing to be honest, vulnerable, and oftentimes overshare knowing that keeping my struggle inside doesn't help me and it doesn't help anyone else around me who might be having the same struggles. I've always tended to overshare and be annoyingly honest. While that's sometimes "weird" and awkward in my real life, in songwriting and music creation it's a huge asset. I'm not embarrassed to talk about things I'm not proud of or struggles I'm working through and it creates a more relatable story to tell.
How important is it for you to be vulnerable with your audience?I think it's important. I'm not going to lie and say it's easy. It's really awkward and I feel silly and dumb doing it. Like do people even care and will they laugh at me, how much is too much, what do I want to keep for myself, what will my family think, does the person know this song is about them, will they care? It's a lot of questions I ask myself but ultimately my music will go nowhere and be listened to by no one if I'm not honest.
What did you do before you were a full time singer/songwriter?I worked as a Digital Marketing Manager for 6 years. It was a job and I got paid. I learned a lot of useful skills though that help me to this day so I don’t begrudge any of it —only that I wish I had taken the leap sooner and stop being so afraid of “what if”
What are some of your favorite books?“The Alchemist” by Paulo Cohelo (I’ve read this at least 10x) “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurty “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell (yes the depecitions of slavery are troubling but Scarlett O’Hara is a badass and an awesome strong female lead character, especially for that time period. Also Rhett is amazing, swoon) "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom
Why don't you try out for one of those singing shows??I have. I’ve tried out once for American Idol, twice for The Voice, and once for America’s Got Talent. It was actually pretty disheartening and bizarre. Those reality shows aren’t so much about finding a great singer as they are about ratings and a “story.” What they don’t show you is standing in line for HOURS and then being herded into a room in front of a young producer, not the famous judges. You have to go through several rounds of this actually before you get in front of the famous judges on tv. You audition in groups and they tell you on the spot if they’d like to keep you or not. In my group were some amazingggg singers. One 16 year old girl was 100x better than me and could’ve given Whitney Houston some runs. This girl didn’t get through. The only guy in this group who did get through was this cocky loudmouth kid with an okay voice. The girl left in tears with her dad telling her how great she did (she absolutely did great). So I’m done doing those shows because it’s not really about talent...
Have you had vocal lessons?Yes. on and off for the past 5 years now and they’ve been really helpful but they’re of course not free so once I got the basics down I’ve been able to be okay on my own for the most part. If I had the resources I would definitely have one on staff at all times haha.
How many cats do you have?I currently have 4. I know that’s a lot. It wasn’t all at once. You just slowly collect them like Pokemon cards, plus I love cats. They’re all boys and their names are: Good One, Fire Kitty, Handsome Man, and Arnie.
Favorite food?French fries and then a Nutella crepe with ice cream :)
Advice for a new singer/songwriter?Just start doing it. Start singing. Start doing songwriting exercises. Nobody is going to come down to give you permission to do it, you gotta do it yourself. Also, nobody is going to “discover” you because that’s not a thing anymore, barely was to begin with. You have to put a LOT of effort into it and even then people don’t really listen but you gotta trust the process and just keep getting better at your craft and marketing yourself. It’s 50% craft and 50% marketing I think.