Amanda Kravat was the dynamic front woman who led Marry Me Jane (Sony 550 Music/Epic Records) back in the 90s. At the time, she was opening for Aerosmith and getting messages from Prince while VH1 followed her around (for a year) intent on making a television show about her life.
However, that was a period in the music industry when labels erroneously thought they were infallible. Money was available in excess, and the majors had developed several practices that indicated a profound lack of business savvy. Consequently, Amanda’s spotlight burned brightly, but then it went dark.
“It would have been great if somebody in a one million dollar machine would have pointed out to me that my last record for Sony had no single on it,” the artist laughed. “Seriously, it’s not like I’m unapproachable or anything. All somebody needed to say was, ‘Could you go back into the studio and record a single?’”
Now, roughly a decade and a half later, Amanda Kravat is a wonderful chaos of life and beauty and art. She has recently released a compelling EP entitled AK that is easily the highpoint of her career to date. After so many years away from the business, Amanda is getting a second chance. She’s standing poised, ready to take on the world with her engaging music that is informed by life.
When she was in her teens, Amanda was given her first guitar. However, she didn’t get any lessons to go with it. “They just figured I would figure it out or something, I guess,” Amanda considered. “So there I was in this tiny, little bedroom in the back of this Upper West Side apartment, and I had no idea how to string a guitar. I was attempting to do it on my own and the high E string went through my lip!” She started laughing. “It got stuck all the way through and I couldn’t even scream because every time I tried to move, it just hurt so much! It took me another ten years before I could even pick up a guitar again!”
Luckily, Kravat did get over her aversion to guitars. AK simply would not have had the sizzle it has if the artist would have opted for a pop synth soundscape instead of the tonal wonderland of glorious growls and tasteful twangs that it is. There is an intensity to the guitar parts that provide a striking contrast to Amanda’s relaxed vocal swagger.
Another facet that makes this gifted artist’s material such a treat is all the marvelous sensory elements that she has infused into her lyrics. You don’t just hear her songs, as you watch them playing out in your head, you feel them, too.
“I’ve always been that way,” Amanda confessed. “I think it might even be a kind of autism. I’m being serious! I was terrible in school. I could never remember a single word that I read, but I could certainly talk endlessly about the tree that I was staring at.”
“I can pick up a book that I’ve read before and even when I’m halfway through it, I won’t remember anything about it except the vibe or feeling I had while I was reading it for the first time,” she elaborated. “I might remember, ‘Oh yeah, I was on the train when I was reading that! Or, I might remember that I was freezing cold when reading it the first time. It’s all sensory stuff.”
Speaking of the sensory aspects of her creativity, Amanda promised that her upcoming video for her single, “Not Myself Today,” will be visually striking. “I can’t wait for this video to be done!” she enthused. “Do you remember that movie, ‘Brave,’ that came out a few years ago? It had that girl with all that curly red hair? Well, we ordered a ton of Merida wigs, and we’ve got everyone in the video wearing one... even a dog!” she laughed. “Yeah, that’s how my brain works! How scary is that?!”
When asked if there might be anything else that was important to her that she didn’t get to discuss, the artist remarked, “Yeah, stop wearing heeled shoes! Why do women want to wear a pair of eight thousand dollar shoes with those little spikes sticking out of the bottom?” She laughed, then she became serious for a moment. “I used to be one of those people who would run away if somebody tried to hug me. But now that I’m older and happier and I have my own kids, I just want to hug people and do nice things.”
Amanda Kravat’s AK is currently available on Viper Records. For more information on this must-hear artist, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. And, if you do nothing else, make sure you watch her lyric video to “I Could Tell You I Don’t Love You.” The beautiful poignancy driving the song is Amanda at her best. The soulfelt honesty of Kravat’s impassioned performance is strong enough to change your outlook on life. That’s the power of true art.
Photo: Nathaniel Johnston.