Amanda Brown Breaks Down Every Song on Her From Here EP

We've been obsessed with singer-songwriter Amanda Brown ever since she made her mark on the third season of The Voice, and her new music makes it clear her power and prowess as an artist have only grown since then.

The Puerto Rican-Jamaican Bronx native has always had the kind of voice that instantly grabs you, so it's no surprise that she's been one of the busiest people in the business, working both in the studio and onstage as a backing vocalist for Stevie Wonder, Adele, Alicia Keys, Tori Kelly and so many more. But today, she dropped her latest EP, From Here, reminding us of her talents as a writer, and just how mighty that voice is when it's telling her own truth. The EP consists of six compelling tracks telling Amanda's own authentic and sometimes painful story, charting the stages of a breakup while taking us on a journey through her grief as well as growth. We had the pleasure of getting her to break down each of those songs for us to walk us through her process, and what they mean to her today.

From Here

Amanda Brown: I wrote this EP during a period in my life when change was imminent. I was frustrated with where I was at the time and felt like my life needed an overhaul. These songs helped me make sense of what I was feeling and going through, and that clarity allowed room for personal growth. "From Here" is the first song I wrote. It was the jumping-off point for the rest of the EP, and so it felt appropriate to name the project From Here as well. The title pays tribute to my past experiences while also pointing to an ongoing journey and the road ahead. Having the space to create freely, to express myself without judgment and to collaborate with other talented creatives that served as sounding boards for my
experiences and ideas means the world to me!

Heartbreak, love, grief, change, growth and faith are the main themes of this EP. I hope these songs resonate with listeners and that they find solace, joy and redemption in these songs, as I have.

Amanda brown black and white headshot

(Image courtesy of Amanda Brown)

 

'From Here'

AB: While I was touring with The Killers, my manager booked a writing session for me with Jessica Vaughn and Keith Varon. I was feeling very nervous about the shows, as I was going to be opening for The Killers at the Staples Center (now Crypto.com Arena) and I was also feeling anxiety about my relationship and future. I expressed as much to my co-writers and this song emerged. We started working on the verses, and then we found the chorus later. I recorded the demo that day, and although I re-recorded the lead vocal later, they ended up using the demo vocal as the final vocal. That performance has something special, perhaps, because I was pre-breakup when we wrote it, so the angst and sadness I was feeling at the time was real and difficult to recreate.

This song stemmed from a place of frustration, pain and emotional exhaustion. It's a cry for guidance, understanding, redemption and love. When this song was written, I had reached a point in my life where I felt stuck. The lyrics were genuine inquiries. I was in a long-term relationship—I'd become complacent and comfortable. The truth was that I was terrified of change and failure. I didn't want to see what I had come to accept for myself. For me, this song was the catalyst for transformation, pushing me out of my comfort zone and into moving waters with love.

Amanda's Favorite Lyric

"Promises make no sense when you're out of time." I think when something's run its course, anything outside of acceptance of that reality is pointless. It's often fear-based. I learned this lesson the hard way, but now I'll never forget it. I'm tired of running in circles.

 

'Can't Let You Go'

AB: When I first moved to L.A., I was meditating and doing yoga almost every day. I wanted to tune into myself, and I think one of the results of that was that I started to dream about music. I had a few dreams where I heard melodies. One night, I woke up from a dream and immediately recorded it on my phone. When I went in for my first session with Garen Gueyikian, I played him a few voice note ideas and a melody from one of my dreams became the jumping-off point for this song. I wanted the melodies and production to have a dreamy quality to them, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I had recently moved to Los Angeles. I was sleeping in a new bed, in a new city and I had a lot of time to myself to think about life, music and my future. I was dreaming of all sorts of things at the time, but the dreams involving music were the most memorable. This isn't a common occurrence for me, so I'd wake up, grab my phone and record what I heard (or what I thought I'd heard). My dreams inspired the melodies and the overarching theme of the song, which is about dreaming of a life and love past and not being able to shake the emotions of that dream. This song is a unique one for me in that I feel it was mostly inspired by my subconscious.

Amanda's Favorite Lyric

"Why did you ever hold me close just to let me go?" I have more clarity surrounding this question now. This query plagued me for a number
of years, even before that relationship ended. I carried around so much self-doubt and denial, and now I have so much more compassion for myself and my ex-partner. I feel like a weight has been lifted, and this question no longer holds the same meaning. Perspective and time count for a lot!

 

Also read about: How Jackson Wooten's 'Morning' Is a Love Song to His Favorite Part of the Day

 

'Dirty Liar'

AB: This song was created during a writing session with Kyle McCammon and Shawna Beesley. They asked me what I wanted to write about, and I knew that I wanted to talk about being betrayed by a friend—in my case, friends. I'd avoided this subject for a while prior, as I wasn't yet ready to acknowledge the role I had played in it all—mainly that I refused to accept the truth about many of my relationships. We attempted to come up with a poetic way of expressing those emotions, and in the end, we landed on a very straightforward lyric for the chorus. We started writing this song on piano, and later switched over to guitar. I love the guitar line on this song—it's simple and powerful and once the guitar was added, the song really came together.

When I sat down to write "Dirty Liar" with Shawna Beesley and Kyle McCammon, I wanted to write an angry song. I was on the heels of a breakup and trying to make sense of my emotions and the betrayal I'd felt. I finished recording the song over two years ago and I feel very differently about it now. For one, I've moved on from the emotions of that breakup. Secondly, I better understand the emotions I was feeling at the time. It wasn't simply anger, but grief. I was grieving the loss of those friendships. Lastly, in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, the emotional seesaw between truth and deceit has been one I believe we can all relate to on a grander scale. That being said, being lied to sucks and "Dirty Liar" is me attempting to make sense of why someone would lie to the ones they claim to
care about.

Amanda's Favorite Lyric

"You're in denial every time you smile. You don't know what is real." I love this lyric because it both summarizes how I felt about the individuals I wrote this song about and also references my unwillingness to act on what I instinctively knew to be true at the time—that I was being lied to. It wasn't simply a criticism of others, but also a realization about myself at the time.

 

'Hindsight'

AB: This song is my cheeky number. I wanted to write a song where I could talk about what happens post-breakup when an individual shows their ex-partner one face and a completely different face to the rest of the world. That being said, I didn't want to take myself too seriously. I wanted a song where I could be honest but also have some fun musically. Thankfully, I wrote this song with Jordan Cantor and Kenny Carkeet and they were up for making this song as fun as I wanted it to be. I can't remember which section came first when we wrote this one. I just remember having a really good time in the studio and I think the song reflects that.

I wanted to have a moment on this EP where I didn't take myself and/or my previous breakup so seriously. I wanted lyrics that were a bit tongue-in-cheek and I wanted to poke fun at the irony of being in a long-term relationship where I didn't feel wanted, to then leaving said relationship and being bombarded with calls from the other party, almost as if to try and get me back or understand why I left. Hence the line, "you lost my number, now you can't stop calling." When someone's actions and behavior say one thing and their mouth says another, it can be very confusing for the individual on the receiving end. I wanted to make fun of all of that,  so it didn't feel as hurtful or serious as it felt when I was living it, and as a result, this song always makes me chuckle.

Amanda's Favorite Lyric

"Get your story right, you wanted this life." I love how sassy this line is. I think the reason I love it so much is because I allowed myself the freedom to be cheeky in a song, whereas in the past, I was far too serious and buttoned up. Music can be sad and it can also be fun. After writing so many sad songs, I needed some fun.

 

Amanda brown black and white headshot landscape

(Image courtesy of Amanda Brown)

 

Also read about: How Susie Suh Learned to Let Go and Rediscover Herself With 'Over You (Cinematic Version)'

 

'Nervous'

AB: This song was one of the last songs I wrote for the EP (even though I didn't know it would be an EP at the time) with Garen G. and Jessica V. I was talking to Jessica and G about this person I was seeing. I was so happy and really excited about him and the time we'd been spending together. I think it was obvious to the three of us that that's what we should write about. Feelings of excitement and nervousness that one experiences when
they realize they really like someone and their feelings are reciprocated. How vulnerability can be scary, especially when you've been hurt in the past. Wanting to let go of all your inhibitions while fighting past traumas. You know—just another walk in the park! If I remember correctly, we wrote the first verse first and then the song started taking shape lyrically. Verses tend to come to me first.

This song is the only song on the EP that has nothing to do with my breakup. It's about finding new love and the feelings associated with that experience. I'd forgotten how fun and exciting the prospect of a new relationship could be. The sweaty palms, butterflies in one's stomach— almost as if I were a teenager again. I'd been in a relationship so long
that I'd nearly forgotten how exhilarating new love could feel, and I wanted to explore that via song. I also began dating my current partner when I wrote this song, and that definitely inspired the theme. This song is proof that there is always love on the other side of heartbreak.

Amanda's Favorite Lyric

"Heart on my sleeve, hand in my pocket." This line summarizes how I am when I like someone. I'm flirty, but when things start getting serious, I retreat into myself. This is something I work on daily. This line represents the old me. I'm a work in progress, but I know that I don't want to be afraid of vulnerability or of taking risks. I suppose I like this lyric because it's a reminder that I've matured emotionally.

 

'Amazing'

AB: I wrote this song with Kenny C. and Jordan C. I knew I wanted to talk about leaving New York City and moving to Los Angeles. We also managed to tie in saying goodbye to an ex-partner and hello to new possibilities and relationships. The verses came first, but my favorite section of this song (which came to us last) is the post-chorus: "PCH dreams coming true. Yeah, I made it. Wind in my hair, now I feel so amazing". Kenny's production on this song is sick! The production on this song is one of my favorites on the
EP.

This song was one of the last songs written for my EP and the last single released. It's my farewell to a life and relationship that had become dark. I thought I'd live in New York City forever, but the life I was living was no longer serving me, nor was it sustainable. I wasn't being kind to myself, and I'd been running from the truth for years, until the truth was no longer avoidable. I wanted to be happier, or to at least allow myself the opportunity to create a happier life. I wanted to experience sunnier days and explore new opportunities. I left my childhood home and partner of six years and moved to the West Coast with four suitcases, a bookshelf and 15 boxes. Nothing lasts forever. That being said, when you embrace your fears, life often surprises you with the very things you seek.

Amanda's Favorite Lyric

"PCH dreams coming true. Yeah, I made it. Wind in my hair, now I feel so amazing." Every time I sing these words, I feel powerful. I made my dreams a reality by speaking them into existence.

 

For more on our favorite new music from the week, click HERE to read our interview with Madisyn Gifford on the new single "Hospital Beds."