Amanda Jones—a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon—was first encouraged to explore music by a first grade teacher. Since that time, Jones’ story has been one of perseverance as she has worked to refine her skills, develop the confidence it takes to make it in today’s pop industry, and cultivate a strong social media presence.
As a result of this dedicated work ethic, Jones has been able to open for pop rock band R5 and has had one of her songs featured in the season two trailer of reality TV show, Bringing Up Bates. With these accomplishments under her belt, Jones has shown that she is just building momentum and poised to bring her refreshingly honest viewpoint to today’s pop music scene.
Music Existence was able to catch up with Jones via email before she releases the music video for single, “Brand New Day” (off her latest EP under the same name) this Friday, August 19th.
ME: First, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it!
Jones: No problem! I am excited to talk to you.
ME: To start with, I’ve read that your first grade teacher was an integral part in your interest in music. I was wondering what has kept you motivated and inspired over all the years from then until now.
Jones: I think [that] through the years, this creative drive my teacher instilled in me has really pushed me forward with music. She found that artsy spark in me, and I’ve kept it going through constantly writing and expressing myself however I can!
ME: Why did you choose to sing in this sort of alternative pop/singer-songwriter style?
Jones: Pop music has always been my go-to style. It is comfortable for me and something I’ve always been passionate about. I’m experimenting with a few pop variations in my new music, but pop will always be the root of who I am as an artist.
ME: How would you describe your music to new listeners? What gives your music its unique touch compared to things we might be listening to on the radio?
Jones: My music is definitely pop, but I try to connect through stories within my songs and add deeper meaning. I have songs that will be stuck in your head all day, and others that will make you feel an emotional connection and leave an impact.
ME: Who are your top three musical influences? And who would you say are your musical guilty pleasures?
Jones: I am definitely influenced by Carly Rae Jepsen, Tori Kelly, and Parachute. My guilty pleasures are totally The Summer Set and The Maine—two of my favorite bands. I’m obsessed with every song they release. I love following pop artists/groups and seeing how their sounds change over time. It definitely inspires me in my own music career!
ME: Out of all of your tracks, which is the most meaningful to you? What is the story behind it?
Jones: For me, the song “My Goodbye” means the most to me. I wrote the song after my cousin died in a car crash, and it was my way to find some sort of closure/start the healing process.
ME: How would you describe your songwriting process? What is the inspiration for your lyrics, and how do you carry an idea from the beginning to the end product?
Jones: It’s always different. Most of the time, a line will pop into my head—or a song title—and the ideas flow from there. I used to struggle with finishing songs (which is why I have hundreds of mini voice memo recordings on my phone!), but over the years I’ve learned to really focus and carry those ideas through to create a finished product.
ME: I read that you played coffee shops from the age of 13 until 17. What’s your favorite coffeehouse in Portland? And what’s your favorite beverage?
Jones: I love Insomnia Coffee Co.! They’re actually located in a suburb of Portland, called Hillsboro. I’m a sucker for hot chocolate. That’s definitely my go-to at any coffee shop.
ME: How did you go from playing coffee houses to opening for R5? Was it one of those things where you stumbled upon the opportunity, you had to apply, etc.?
Jones: It kind of fell into my lap last minute. I got added on to open for them one week before the concert! I was recovering from pneumonia when I got the email. It all worked out, and I had the best time opening for them!
ME: Do you have any pre-show rituals? How would you describe the Amanda Jones concert experience?
Jones: It’s really weird, but I eat chicken before almost every show! I like need chicken every time now, because it has just become my routine. My live shows are typically high-energy acoustic, super fun, and I always take the time to meet people before and after the show.
ME: What has been the most transformative concert that you’ve attended? What about the performance stuck with you?
Jones: I started attending concerts in sixth grade, and one that really stuck with me was seeing the Jonas Brothers. I’m not gonna lie; I was a huge JB fan girl—their music, stage presence, and performance skills inspired me as an artist and totally pushed me to pursue music.
ME: You have a decent amount of cover songs on YouTube. I was wondering how you select which songs to cover, if there is anything specific you look for when selecting one, etc.
Jones: Sometimes I tweet out a poll asking what songs people would like to see. Other times I go through popular songs at the moment or songs that I personally love. It’s always a fun mix and cover videos are super fun to create.ME: To date, what has been your largest challenge musically or personally? Looking back now, what would you tell yourself to get through it?
Jones: I was really self-conscious for a long time, and that held me back from creating YouTube videos. If I could go back and shake myself, I would. I’m glad that’s something I have overcome, and I’m excited to see where the future leads.
ME: Outside of music, what does life look like for you?
Jones: I’m really big into makeup! You can always find me experimenting with a new eye look or lip color. I also love volunteering with nonprofit organizations, and I hope to run my own someday.
ME: Music can be quite the challenging career to pursue, and I was wondering if you have any routines for unwinding at the end of the day. (For instance, mine is usually curling up with a glass of wine, a book, and one of my cats.)
Jones: At the end of a long day, I peel my false lashes off (I always wear them for shows/events, etc.), will MAYBE wash my face if I have the energy, and I just pass out. Sometimes I’ll get pizza on the way home, but most of the time I’m so tired that I just crash without winding down!
ME: What does the rest of this year look like for you?
Jones: I’m working on a new project and am really stoked with the direction it’s going in! Everyone will know more about that this fall. I’m releasing the music video for my song “Brand New Day” on August 19th and hoping to hop on a tour in the near future. I’m really excited for the future!
ME: Any last words from fans?
Jones: Thanks for taking the time to read this interview! I’m so thankful for every single person that has listened to my music, and followed me along over the years. You guys mean so much to me!
ME: Thank you again!
Jones: Thank you!!