Amanda Bloom is a classically trained pianist who has been living and breathing music since she was a child. She is a true artist whose soul listens to the past and speaks to the present with emotionally touching melodies that pull at your heartstrings. Amanda Bloom takes us into her world and tells us the ups and downs of being a musician/singer in Asia and what inspires her masterpieces.
Hi Amanda, so glad you took some time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. So can you tell Ladies readers what type of artist you are and how your passion for music started?
I first began playing the piano at 3 and took traditional classical piano lessons until I was 18 years old. For as long as I can remember I was always turning everyday sounds into songs and my first proper composition for the piano was based off the major arpeggio alarm that our car would make to warn us when one of the doors was open. I turned it into a little piano sonata that took out first place in the San Francisco Young Composers award in 1986. I was 6 years old (!) I actually found the score the other day which was so amazing. I started writing pop songs when I was about 18 and left university to pursue writing for other bands and singers in Australia before composing and producing my first album “The History of Things to Come” which I started in Australia and finished in Amman, Jordan with members of the Amman Symphony Orchestra. That album was a classical piano- driven fusion rock album with some softer almost Celtic ballads. My second album “Atlas” which I recorded across Asia is more a world fusion blend album. But always the piano drives the music. These days I am working on an instrumental album…just piano, more minimal.
What is it like being a musician/singer in Asia?
In terms of fresh inspiration it is wonderful! I love being outside of my comfort zone as I feel it is easier to be creative if you are growing and experiencing new things in other areas of your life. I spent over a year writing songs at the Music Arts School which was inspiring to be around such enthusiastic local kids and involved in the musical culture there. I was able to perform at MTV Exit for Human Trafficking in front of 40,000 which was a great experience and invigorating to perform for such an important cause.
I have found that collaborating is much easier in this environment as there are so many more creatives wanting to collaborate for the love of it and the enthusiasm for my music has been heartwarming. There are amazing courageous and inspiring people who live in expat communities who are willing to take risks; more so than back in the comfort of the West. I met visionary producer Tegan Kiddle here and, along with her, was lucky to collaborate with Viraj Singh from Mumbai who travelled with me to Varanasi in India to shoot a music video for the track “Eyes of Galena”. Krista and Davi Wells from Eye Dream Creative collaborated on the music video for which we shot in and around Phnom Penh and down in the provinces. Collaborating with the monks at WatMontrey was a beautiful experience and it was definitely something that can only be achieved in this Asian context.
I did find however, that finding great recording studios here in Phnom Penh was tricky. However, the silver lining to that was the invitation by legendary percussionist Lewis Pragasam to record in his home country Malaysia where he brought over 30 handmade drums and percussion instruments to the sessions. It was so inspiring!
What influences your art?
It is different every time. I’ve been influenced by so many things. I very rarely write about Love and relationships as I find it somewhat done to death, inane and one dimensional. I write about ideas that inspire me to regain my strength and tap into the parts of me that are constantly trying to overcome fear and limited thinking. I’ve been influenced by ideas, books I’ve read…I wrote a song called “Wall of Jericho” once which was inspired by a line in the book “The Game of Life and How to Play it” by Florence Schovel Shinn…about the children of Israel that spoke their Truth and the metaphorical walls keeping them from their greatest potential came tumbling down…
“Magdalene” was a song I wrote after watching “The Magdalene Sisters” a film about the abuse of girls by Catholic nuns in “reform” schools across Ireland in the first part of the 20th century. The song grew to encapsulate all forms of abuse incited by Religiously justified extreme thinking. The oppression of women in Islamic cultures, crimes of “honour” etc
“Pleats of Fortuny” is a song I wrote about depression and feeling at odds with the reality you’ve created for yourself. Feeling like a stranger in your own skin, a stranger in your own home. Being aliented from the world around you because you refuse to give up your personal Truth …
“Canvas of Silence” is a song I wrote about being Creatively blocked and the journey of emancipating myself from my own unrealistic creative expectations. Ironically, it took me 2 years to finish as I had massive creative block during it.
I wrote the song “Seeds of Life” about hope and an indestructible spirit. Inspired by my Khmer friend Rina Roat and her journey growing up homeless in Phnom Penh. She is an inspiration.
“Eyes of Galena” is a song I began writing in Varanasi in India in 2009. It is the oldest inhabited city in the world and the holiest place to die for Hindus. The song is about rebirth, freeing yourself from past unhealthy limiting beliefs and the courage to transform and let go of who you were.
Do you ever dream about music/ hear music in your dreams? If so, in what ways?
I often hear songs fully formed. Which is overwhelming as it is often a race to notate it/record it on whatever I have available. Frantic scores on the back of restaurant serviettes or bus tickets can be found all over my house. I sometimes hear songs in my dreams and wake up still hearing them perfectly which is AMAZING and sort of feels like I’m cheating. I don’t feel like they are my songs. One of the first songs I ever wrote “Beautiful Girl” was sung to me by a big fat blonde lady in my dream…I was in a news agency looking through paper clips and she came up to me aggressively and said “THIS IS YOUR NEXT SONG…TAKE IT” and sang me the chorus melody.
I woke up instantly and wrote it down. It was so surreal.
I remember once in Phnom Penh having a really powerful dream that I will never forget.
I was somewhere quite majestic and ancient…like ancient Rome or Greece in the centre of a white circular Parthenon type temple…I was surrounded by Sages in White robes and they were watching me sobbing over the body of my mother.
I was in so much pain…crying to the Gods and asking them to please take my body instead and give my mother life; my mother and I were connected in such an intense embrace and we kept morphing into each other…I was dead, and she was weeping, the back …the sages just watched and told me peacefully that “All of your life’s vanities were leading to this…death is your birthright, now you must become everything that she was, now you must become everything”
From far away I could hear a song in the distance and it was so sad.
I then woke to find myself in my room in Phnom Penh. I ran into the bathroom and just sobbed and found myself singing the song that I had heard from that ancient temple. It became the song “Promised Land”. It was the most beautiful and emotional moment I can remember.
“All of your life’s vanities were leading to this…death is your birthright, now you must become everything that she was, now you must become everything”
Do you think you could ever live without music being a part of your persona?
I have gone through periods of my life where I have not engaged with my art much or listened to much music and sometimes it is a relief; it takes the pressure off in one way but I have to be careful as if I don’t create for a long period of time I become prone to depression as my art is my emotional and spiritual compass helping me navigate and feel in control of my world.
“My art is my emotional and spiritual compass helping me navigate and feel in control of my world.”
You are also very into vintage clothes and the love of past eras and your music also reflects the same sentiments, why do you like to return to the past?
I feel that the things that have lasted have done so for a good reason.
Do you prefer playing in front of a large audience or an intimate smaller audience? Why?
It is often easier to play in front of a larger audience as the nuances of people’s reactions are lost and they become one big abstract entity, making it easier for me to become intimate with my own performance and get into a more focused zone. Smaller audiences can be really tough as you have to navigate the social aspect of the room while simultaneously trying to remain inward and focused on the performance.
Who is your favorite artist you are currently listening to?
One of my improvisations “Les Jardins de la Carambole” was recently chosen by Nils Frahm for his annual Piano Day compilation and through that I discovered a whole variety of incredible Neo-Classical piano composers that I have been devouring. Amongst them, Federico Albanese, Ivan Muela and Library Tapes are standouts.
Do you have any advice to women living in Asia who want to further their musical career?
I would say if you want a great recording, you should definitely travel to another country. I have had some very strange experiences in studios in Phnom Penh and have yet to find a really professional recording environment. There are some incredible studios and musicians in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok that offer day rates at a fraction of the cost of the West.
Be prepared at the beach with these helpful gadgets
Be prepared at the beach with these helpful gadgets that make your life easier and more enjoyable.
ECOXPRO Waterproof Case
This durable waterproof case for smart phones also doubles as a speaker. Not to mention, has pockets to store credit cards, license, etc. The ECOXPRO is a useful gadget to jam out to on the beach OR float next to you in the water while protecting your phone from the elements.
CGear Sand-Free Tote
This is every person’s dream at the beach…
Are you ready for it?
A sand-free bag for the beach! Are you tired of having sand everywhere or worried about it ruin your phone, in the lunch you brought, getting all over your car, or in your house? Also, it is durable with extra-strength straps for cans of soda or beer *wink* and an ocean-themed pattern which is aesthetically pleasing.
Well isn’t this S’well
S’well Textiles Collection Water Bottle
Stay hydrated, look cool, and help others all in one water bottle by S’well. S’well water bottles have absolutely beautiful hand-painted pastel marble designs AND the best part is when you buy a S’well bottle, some of the proceeds go to helping provide clean water and sanitation to communities in-need in Africa. Also, if it couldn’t get any better, a S’well bottle keeps a beverage cold for up to 24 hours.
Pimped out Goggles
Liquid Image Model 305 Hydra Series HD 720P
This high-tech dive mask has an HD camcorder to shoot wide-angle footage in high definition with audio, can capture still images, continuous shots, and waterproof 130 ft under. Take the plunge with the liquid image model 305 Series HD 720P.
Do you get anxiety when your phone battery gets low? The WakaWaka charger is compact and light to solar charge your phone to full charge in two hours. The key is to make sure the WakaWaka Charger soaks in sun rays to solar panel or charge with a USB before going out. It also comes with a beacon light for emergencies. But the best part is that for every WakaWaka Charger you buy, another is sent to a family in-need in the Philippines.
What’s better than your feet in the sand, a refreshing drink by your side, and a good book to read? Here are our top picks for
What’s better than your feet in the sand, a refreshing drink by your side, and a good book to read? Here are our top picks for vacation reads for the beach, mountains, or wherever you may journey. There are different themes for all: whether you are in a light-hearted chick flick mood, an intense on-the-edge of your seat thriller, a child-told fantasy book, or an emotional book about internal struggles of living in this chaotic world. Read on to find out which book grabs your attention the most for a great holiday read.
By Elin Hilderbrand
Are you looking for a laid-back beach read? If chick flicks are your guilty pleasure movies, then try The Rumor a book about two best friends, Madeline and Grace who go on double dates for the summer drinking cocktails at sunset, but a rumor arises and changes everything. The rumor snow balls and the question is… will their friendship ever be the same?
Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
Girl on the Train is a psycho thriller that will make you question the lives of others.
Rachel has recently gone through a loss and one way she copes is seeing the happiness in a suburban house that she passes on her morning commute. She only has about a minute to glance at the loving family before her train moves on but she is content.
Something drastically changes when Rachel witnesses something in that small moment of time and wonders if she should tell the police what she saw. From then on she is immersed and may be hindering rather than helping.
Girl on the Train is a thriller you won’t want to put down.
By Emma Donoghue
Room is a place of love and comfort for Jack, but for his ma, it’s prison; a place she has been trapped for seven years by Old Nick. With Ma’s strong urge for Jack to live a better life, she concocts a plan to escape. But did Ma think about what happens after they do escape and what other world is out there?
Room is a brilliant book of fear, resilience, and bond. Did we mention, the book is told from the perspective of five year old Jack.
Where are you Bernadette
By Maria Semple
Bernadette is bold, blunt, and outspoken. She’s a revolutionary architect and mother/best friend to fifteen year old Bee.
They live in Seattle and the people and atmosphere has become too much for Bernadette and overtime has developed agoraphobia. However, Bernadette had promised Bee a trip to Antarctica if she received an “A” on her report card and as a matter of fact, Bee did, but Bernadette has disappeared.
Bee goes on a search for her mom and has to face the world head on.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are tons of talented singers in this world, but did you know that some singers have written top hits for other famous artists?
There are tons of talented singers in this world, but did you know that some singers have written top hits for other famous artists? Not all singers are songwriters, but Sia is an extraordinarily talented singer AND songwriter who is known for her incredible voice and mysteriously hidden face has written top hits for other artists. Be surprised and check out the list of songs below Sia has written from vulnerable lyrics to vocally challenging and catchy choruses.
Top Songs Sia Wrote:
“Expertease (Ready, Set, Go)” by Jennifer Lopez
“Opportunity” by Quvenzhané Wallis
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
“Making the Most of the Night” by Carly Rae Jepsen
“Chasing Shadows” by Shakira
“Get Over U” by Neon Hitch
“Blank Page” by Christina Aguilera
“Brightest Morning Star” by Britney Spears
“My Heart Is Open” by Maroon 5 featuring Gwen Stefani
“Double Rainbow” by Katy Perry
“Kiss Me Once” by Kylie Minogue
“Battlefield” by Lea Michele
“Boy Problems” by Carly Rae Jepsen
“Perfume” by Britney Spears
“Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé
More Songs Written by Sia:
– “Godzillionaire” by Brooke Candy
– “Guitars and Microphones” by Kate Pierson
– “We Are One (Ole Ola)” by Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte
– “Pop Rock” by Brooke Candy
– “Matrix” by Kate Pierson
– “Acid Rain” by Alexis Jordan
– “Any Day Now” by Cheyenne Jackson
– “I Will Get Over You” by Prischilla Ahn
– “These Hands I Hold” by Bo Bruce
– “Gentlemen” by Jessica Sanchez
– “Crush Me With Your Love” by Kate Pierson
– “Bound to You” by Christina Aguilera
– “God Made You Beautiful” by Beyoncé
– “She’s Pretty, She Lies” by Cheyenne Jackson
– “Freeze You Out” by Marina Kaye
– “Rise Up” by Beyoncé
– “Knock You Out” by Bingo Players
– “Don’t Look at Me” by Cheyenne Jackson
– “Kill, F—k, Marry” by Nikki Williams
– “Rock Bottom” by Marco Mengoni
– “Unite” by Jessie J
– “Bottoms Up” by Kate Pierson
– “Stronger Than Ever” by Christina Aguilera
– “You’re Mine” by Lea Michele
– “Opulence” by Brooke Candy
– “Mister Sister” by Kate Pierson
– “Break the Walls” by Fitz and the Tantrums
– “Strange Birds” by Birdy
– “Radioactive” by Rita Ora
– “Round Your Little Finger” by Katharine McPhee
– “Tears Fall” by Jacquie Lee
– “Breathe” by Jessie J
– “Firecracker” by Cheryl
– “You Don’t Know” by Will Young
– “The Game” by Kelly Rowland
– “You Lost Me” by Christina Aguilera
– “Bring Your Arms” by Kate Pierson
– “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)” by Ne-Yo
– “All I Need” by Christina Aguilera
– “Green Card” by Oh Land
– “Standing on the Sun” by Beyoncé
– “Invincible” by Kelly Clarkson
– “Loved Me Back to Life” by Celine Dion
– “Utopia” by Belinda
– “Time Wave Zero” by Kate Pierson
– “Flashlight” by Jessie J
– “Cannonball” by Lea Michele
– “Who Am I?” Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Quvenzhané Wallis
– “I Am” by Christina Aguilera
– “If You Say So” by Lea Michele
– “Let Your Tears Fall” by Kelly Clarkson
– “I Am Me” by Willow
– “The City’s Yours” by Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis
– “Try Everything” by Shakira
– “Passenger” by Britney Spears
– “Pulls You Under” by Kate Pierson
– “Sexercise” by Kylie Minogue
– “Throw Down the Roses” by Kate Pierson
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