Thirsty Thursday Featuring Amanda McCarthy
Amanda McCarthy is a storyteller compelled to speak the truth. Based in Nashville since 2020, with a 10+ year start to her career in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, she is an award-winning songwriter, entertainer and recording artist. Blending many influences, her original music is the infusion of pop, country, modern folk and rock - sprinkled with millennial snark and the heart of an old soul. Her debut album "Road Trip" was released in 2019 to high acclaim and she tours nationally when possible, with experience in all four corners of the country, including NYC and Los Angeles. Her current single "Don't Stop Me" was released on March 16, 2022.
Thank you for chatting with us Amanda! You recently released your new single, "Don’t Stop Me," that you also co-wrote. Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. I wrote “Don't Stop Me” with my friend Ty Openshaw prior to moving to Nashville. Funny enough, what we wrote the song about initially revolved around a situation in his life. But when I moved to Nashville, and I started playing this song at rounds, the song grew to mean a lot to me and my complicated relationship with my hometown that I had just left behind. I love my home state of New Hampshire, but growing up in the specific town I'm from, I carried a lot of mixed feelings due to trauma, lack of support in school, and always feeling like my music career was never taken seriously even as I was seeing success in Boston and NYC. Moving to Nashville was a huge step in my healing and leaving those feelings behind, which is why this song is so special as my Nashville debut, the first song I'm releasing since moving here.
What’s your advice for young artists trying to establish a name for themselves? Especially young females that may see you as a role model. Everyone is going to tell you that you need to change. Everyone told me I need to change. That I needed to be this cookie cutter model of whatever is “in.” They’ll get on you about your body and what you’re wearing. And I’m not going to lie - sometimes to this day I still feel that pressure creeping up on me. But it is when I’m being my most authentic self that I see the greatest results. So whatever anyone has to say about your body or anything else - smile and nod and then go and do your own thing. You’ll never be a great artist trying to be someone you’re not.
Did you always want to be a musician or was there a specific moment that something happened that made you think "this is what I want to do with my life." If so, what was it? I loved music since I was a young child. I wrote Barney a letter asking to be on his show and sent Britney Spears fan mail with lyrics of a song I wrote that I wanted her to sing. I always knew in my blood it was something I wanted. But the moment I truly knew that it was a lifelong commitment was in high school and the beginning of college. I went through some traumatic things in high school, and unfortunately felt like I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. So all of those confessions and processing came out through writing songs. As I started to open up about some of those topics leaving high school and going into college, people would reach out and tell me that my song helped them as they were experiencing the same thing. That’s when I knew music was a lifelong commitment for me, and that it would be about so much more than ever being famous.
You are returning to the studio to begin work on new music. What has changed in your life between recording your last album and this one? When I released my last album “Road Trip”, I was writing most of the songs in real time. I had ended a very unhealthy relationship and just started dating the person I’m now engaged to. I still lived in New Hampshire, and was still chasing goals up there that I wanted to accomplish before moving to Nashville. Three years later… I live in Nashville, I’m engaged, and a lot of the songs I’m writing right now are a lot more introspective and reflective. I feel content, so I’ve been processing a lot of old feelings through my music. I’m currently working on an EP that addresses traits about myself that I don’t like and working past them. My new single “Don’t Stop Me” is the first single from the EP. Following the EP will be a full length album that puts old relationship grievances to rest, or just says anything I have left to say, leading up to the moment I get married in 2023 so that once I say “I do” - everything else is behind me for good.
Did you have a musical mentor? If so, who was it and how did they influence you? My Auntie Debbie was my first “manager” when I picked up a guitar at 15 and decided I wanted to perform the songs I was writing. She helped me book my first shows, start my social media presence, paid for voice lessons, anything I needed to get started. As I got older and started to learn more about it and get the hang of it, I became fascinated with the process and started doing most of it myself. But even as I took the reins she still came to all my shows and was hands down my biggest promoter and cheerleader. She passed away from cancer in 2017, but I still carry her energy with me every day
What’s on your pizza? Do you fold your pizza or eat it straight on? Ranch or no ranch? My favorite pizza toppings are bacon and broccoli. Eat it straight on and I will ALWAYS take someone’s crust if they don’t want it. I’ll occasionally do ranch on a chicken-bacon-ranch pizza that calls for it, but usually I prefer regular sauce or alfredo.
If I was a bartender, what would you order? My friends and family call it “The Amanda” - Malibu rum with orange juice, pineapple juice, and a splash of grenadine.
What is your favorite childhood cereal? Crunch Berries (really the whole Captain Crunch brand, but mostly the berries), Honey Comb, Cheerios and Reese’s Puffs.
What's your favorite family recipe? My mom’s pasta/sauce and meatballs. My taste buds are so akin to her recipe specifically, that I actually sometimes find it hard to order pasta or meatballs when I go out to dinner. If I do, it has to be with alfredo or pesto because I’m often disappointed by their red sauce! Her’s is the best.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Dunkin Donuts, hands down. Anyone who knows me knows that when their slogan says “America runs on Dunkin” - it also means “Amanda runs on Dunkin’.” I need it to function! Coffee gets me to, through and home from my shows, and they are my favorite by far.