Despite living with a spinal injury/ chronic pain as well as PTSD, Amanda is rocking with Category VI. The latest album War is Hell from the Canada based band is bursting from energy and while the album is almost one year old, it’s still relevant for everyone who loves heavy metal. Amanda speaks about her singing, influences and Category VI. Just recently the band released a cover from Black Sabbath’s Children of the Grave on Youtube and you can watch it below.
When did you start singing and why did you want to sing?
I started singing as early as age 1! My mother would record me learning to speak as a baby and one day I just started singing!:) I was an early speaker, so singing came very early for me and my passion for it was understood fully by age four when I received my first Queen record!
Who influenced you the most at the beginning of your career and who are your current favorites?
Freddie Mercury was a large influence in my singing as a child and growing up. I wanted to insist on learning not just one part, but all the parts of the harmonies within Queen’s music. The first metal band I ever got into was, of course, Iron maiden, and this happened at age 4. My uncle had a cool bedroom that was still stuck in circa the 1980s and he had Megadeth posters, Blondie, and this scary looking band called Iron Maiden. He had the Run to the hills poster and the cool Stranger in a strange land one with all the weird aliens on it and I was blown away. It scared the crap out of me but I was mesmerized by the artwork. Then my uncle showed me his tapes of recordings of the power hour and I was hooked. As I got older I got into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, WASP, DIO, Warlock, Helloween and of course, Judas Priest. I’m highly influenced by the late Ronnie James Dio and many times when we get our reviews, people hear the comparison or the influence he has on me and it makes me feel really happy. Dio is my ultimate influence, as he wasn’t just an incredibly gifted singer and musician but he was an intelligent and kind man who had so much courage. His resiliency in his illness moves me, I live with a spinal injury/ chronic pain as well as PTSD, the majority of my writing is personal and about overcoming these obstacles. With Ronnie, he showed the metal community that you can write about positivity and hope. So needless to say, Dio has been my lighthouse in my darkest days.
What other types of music would you like to sing?
Heavy metal is what I feel resonates with me most. However, I have dabbled in the theatre recently and played two roles in Rock of ages the Musical and loved being in the theatre! I loved doing theatre in high school as it’s a challenge to sing, dance and learn lines! It also inspired me to become more physically fit and now I work out six times a week, which helps to hit those intense high notes:) I also have been in a Pink Floyd tribute band and have done other solo based work. Category VI has my heart though, No matter what other projects I do, my band will always be number one!
What is the highlight of your career?
It would be so hard to nail one answer down. We have been so grateful to have been able to be signed to a German label and to see people from all over the world message us and say “hey man, I’m in my back yard in Australia looking at dingos rocking out to your album”! Lol, it sort of freaks me out and makes me emotional to know my stories and our band’s music is being heard in other countries! One of our bigger highlights this past year was being nominated for our latest album War is Hell in our home province for alternative album of the year! We didn’t win, but man, it was so cool to be honored by our “own” in this way. From that, we had a big feature in a local magazine/TV Guide called The Newfoundland Herald! This is a big deal as most artists who get this level of support goes on to do great things, we are certainly hoping the same!
What was the funniest moment in your career?
Haha. Probably the time when we did a Halloween show and this guy accidentally dumps his fake blood all over me while playing a set. I rolled with it
Tips for people who want to start singing like you do?
Attitude is everything! But more importantly, attitude towards yourself! Singing is all in your mind, in order to sing well and with confidence, you need to believe in what you’re doing. Having a good exercise regime helps to make good singers, but it’s also great self-care for your mental health! Take care of your mind and body first and build up your confidence but remember to show support to others!:) You can only achieve success if you learn to get out of your own way, take deep breaths and write down your goals and manifest them!
And a few questions about Category VI: what are the plans for 2018?
We are currently in the process of writing our third (untitled) album! So we are just focusing on that, the creative process is always fun and one of my favorite aspects of being in a band. Aside from that, we will continue to promote War is Hell and are looking into doing a new music video soon so stay tuned on our Facebook page!
How are things with Killer metal working out, happy with them so far?
Killer Metal Records have been awesome! We had two offers from labels back to back, but we knew in our hearts that killer metal was the best choice. They are from Germany and they really appreciate heavy metal there, so they are passionate about promoting the bands under their label. We have been impressed so far!:)
Best live show with Category VI?
The best one for me was our CD release show. Our newest drummer Patrick is so good and it was the tightest and best time we ever played, I felt like a metal queen! It was also such a great moment to share with my bandmates, as we all felt good about our performance but also that people were loving our second album so much!
Order War is Hell HERE
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