Rising singer/songwriter Amanda Kate makes her current base in Orange County, California, but that’s just one of the many places she’s called “home” over the years. By her own estimation, she’s changed addresses somewhere between 35 and 40 times during her lifetime, with stops in New Mexico, Texas, and even Nashville for a brief time. But it’s not something she sees as a negative. Her mom, she explains, was an entertainer, a former member of The Golddiggers dance troupe that appeared on Dean Martin’s variety series in the 1960s and 1970s. She was also a singer and songwriter and moved frequently around the country chasing that artistic dream.
“She had to go where the money was,” says Kate, as she enjoys a specialty coffee at Nashville spot Dose. “I always called her my ‘Gypsy Mother.’ She inspired a song that we wrote together.” The tune, bearing the appropriate title “Gypsy,” appears on Kate’s debut album “TIME,” which she released late last year. The music video for the song is currently out and playing on various networks and online platforms.
“When we started to write it,” Kate recalls, “I said that I wanted to make it fun and upbeat. I feel like I have that gypsy life in my blood. I love changing scenery and moving around.” The lyrics to “Gypsy” reflect that wandering mode, as she sings, “I could be happy riding horses on a range in Colorado/ Smilin’ on a beach in Waikiki/ I’m a gypsy.”
For the present time, though, Amanda Kate is firmly planted in California while making occasional trips to Nashville to meet with songwriters and producers. On this latest trek to Music City, Kate’s mission basically consisted of listening to some new material for a planned release during the coming year.
For that upcoming project, Kate tells Sports & Entertainment Nashville, she plans a slight shift in direction from “TIME.” A good portion of that album was devoted to her mother, following her diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer a couple of years ago. The title track, along with “Gypsy” and the touching “Healing When I Ride” all invoked thoughts of her mom, who has always been Kate’s support system and musical mentor. “That last album was so personal to me,” Kate shares. “I wanted it to be something I could remember. But for this next album, I want it to be more fun, and just show off a different side of me.” With a laugh, she adds, “I want people to know that I’m not all drama. I do know how to have fun.”
Kate also aims to schedule more time for performing on future visits to Nashville. She keeps busy with regular shows in California and other stops, fronting the band The Country Club. “I haven’t performed in Nashville lately,” she notes. “I’m sure we will do more showcases when we have the songs. I have done the writers’ nights in the past and I’m hoping to do more off those.”
Mostly, she looks to continue the momentum she started with her previous album. “I will probably have more single releases this year,” Kate says. “We’re finding that fans really want more content from an artist.” As far as the big picture goal? “I just want to create solid music and connect with people,” she says. “I’ve been really fortunate in that I get to perform on a stage and share my songs. I feel very blessed.”
MORE WITH AMANDA KATE
During her visit with S&E Nashville, Amanda Kate shared several aspects of her life, including some of her favorite Music City spots. Here are a few more nuggets from our conversation with this up-and-coming artist.
S&E Nashville: You have talked about your mom’s inspiration. Does she still advise and mentor you?
Amanda Kate: She’ll always be an inspiration. I have watched videos of her performing with Dean Martin and Bob Hope when I was very young. I don’t think I understood how big those stars really were. But as I got older, I would meet people from all over who watched the Dean Martin show, where The Golddiggers performed. She also went on the USO tours to Vietnam with Bob Hope. Mom does continue to advise me. She has a hard time speaking but she will text me song lyrics and ideas. And she is very constructive with her advice. She’ll tell me, ‘You need to support your notes more’, things like that. But I love that. It has instilled in me a solid work ethic.
SEN: Your song “Healing When I Ride” is about the therapeutic nature of horses. How did that song resonate with listeners?
AK: It talks about how riding takes you away from everything and helps you find peace. I couldn’t believe how many people connected with that. They all have their stories. I had people tell me that without my horse, they don’t know how they would have gotten through a tough time, whether they lost a job or went through a divorce. I have three horses at home in California. I’m not a crazy cat lady but I am a crazy horse lady (laughs). Horses are just bigger than cats and way more expensive.
SEN: You come to Nashville quite a bit. Any favorite places you like to hang?
AK: I know I come to Taco Mamacita every time I’m here. I also went to [Mexican restaurant] Bakersfield and I really liked that place. When I lived in Nashville, I loved going to Whiskey Kitchen and Frothy Monkey.