Arianna Basco: Why music?  I mean, did you ever want to be/do something else?  Of all those things, why’d you pick music?

Amanda Jo Williams: well, it isn’t just music for me. i like to draw, or be in photographs, or make video art, or whatever i’m in the mood for as much as music i’d say. growing up i wanted to be an actress. i watched 4-5 movies a day, memorized the dialogue, even took notes of my favorite lines. i’d try acting by reading comic books and stuff. my brother thought i was weird. i corrected the way i said certain words like “finger” and “just.” i used to say “fanger” and “jist.” ha! i figured i could never make it with such a strong Southern accent. it’s still strong. soooo, when i was 19 or 20 i picked up a guitar for the first time knowing just some open chords and boom, the songs came. it’s very special. all of it. when i’m in the zone creating, whatever the medium, i feel connected to something peaceful and there’s no time. it’s love. soooo, music is the gift i’ve shared with the world the most i guess, the world knows of it more than anything else i’ve done. there’s the writing of the song, and then there’s the performing of the song. i play with really special people when i go out to Los Angeles. i’m very grateful for that. it’s like being in space and heaven.

AB: What inspires you?  As a person and an artist?  But like… really really inspires you?  What makes you keep waking up the next day and doing what you do?

AJW: i’ve been inspired by human men a lot. ever since i was a little girl at five. i’ve written songs about them. i’ve been inspired by peace and love being the way our world works, it being in every person’s heart and us being good to each other. i know one day we will be so evolved there won’t be any more wars, and things will be understood in the right way, like God. there’s going to be a world where every single person is doing exactly what they should, sharing their gift. when that happens, there will be harmony. don’t judge, and inspire fearlessness and joy in others. we’re always going to grow and learn new things and experience exciting new things- that is inspiring!

AB: What’s in your hobby box? Any collections you fancy?

AJW: hmmm, i guess sports. i joined a leisurely softball league this Spring. i’ve had a lot of fun with those girls. shout out to Ladies Of Leisure, Philly! i don’t really have hobbies, because once i start something, i want to take it to the extreme, be the best i can at it- see what i can do with it in the world. i wish i had more skills like pulling up carpet and putting new carpet in, knitting, piano, fluent in more languages. i reckon i’d just have to set the time aside for it.

AB: If your life was a soundtrack which 5 songs would best describe it?

AJW: 1) Alan Jackson “Chattahoochee”  2) John Denver “Country Roads  3) Waylon Jennings “Amanda”  4) Celia Cruz “Guantanamera”  5) Beethoven “Fur Elise”(not sure how to make an “umlaut” over the “u”) 

 AB: Can you talk about your process on this last album? I had a listen to the whole album. I really enjoyed it. How do you come up with the lyrics? The music?

AJW: most of these songs, maybe all, were written in the span of a year or two. i’ll wait until i have about 10 solid songs then want to make an album. the previous album, “The Bear Eats Me” was recorded 2 years before it was released. it sat around a little bit. i wanted to put out an album that was more up to date, and i wanted to try a producer rather than just go in and record live like i’ve always done. the lyrics and music just flow out. i usually start with the music, strumming just one chord my mood is at, and then the rest follows.

AB: What a great album name. How did it come about?

AJW: for this album i was inspired by someone who reminded me of my dad. i’m over that now. i’ve moved on to growing forward again. i needed to dwell in some past pain and heal it with art. it’s funny with stuff- there’s that higher being part of yourself that can see and understand what you’re doing and knows the way out, yet the soul needs to spend time in a lesson, and really can’t move on until the time is right.

AB: When you create a new album do you consciously attempt to make it different than your others?

AJW: hmm, i think i haven’t in the past but yes i did this time, by using a producer, Nicole Turley. i was going for a more commercial pop thing, like radio songs. i know with my stuff it won’t come out like that and will instead be a weird version of commercial pop, or whatever i’m going for. Nicole did a great job. i love this album. i want to do a dance, electro(?), beats kinda album. i want to try that next.

AB: Sounds like you’re interests are wide and you’ve done a lot. How do you keep up with all of it? Any words of wisdom on balance and maintaining a creative (and athletic) lifestyle ON TOP of being a mama?

AJW: i haven’t done so well at balancing my creative side and family/home life in the past few years. it has been hard for me to be a genderless star in the sky connected to source, and then an earthy caring for needs of others, hearing “mama” 80 times a day, need to make money woman. it’s hard. i’ve drank too much. i’ve been mean. right now i’m focusing on my family and making things right, putting that first. truth is, that’s what i’d be searching for if i was a rock star with money… i’d want a family. i have that now. i need to water it. i’m fortunate to be married to a wise man. oh, so words of wisdom: be honest with yourself and try to understand why you make the decisions you do. forgive yourself as it’s hard to live when you hate yourself. don’t be selfish. give as much as you’re supposed to give, not too much or too little. there will always be enough time so take care of what needs to be taken care of so the space is clear to create. bad press grows the soul more than the good, and none of that matters anyway. see a beautiful world. it’s all good. we’re good

You're The Father of My Songs

Amanda Jo Williams new LP – You’re The Father of My Songs – is now available on 12″ vinyl and digital album.

She also has a digital LP out called BONEY under her rap alias JO COOL.