Amanda Rheaume, photographed in the National Arts Centre 4th stage.
Our city’s music scene has never been more alive! Within this burst of local talent, one very gifted, generous and unique musician shines. Amanda Rheaume’s solid, beautiful voice invites listeners to travel to her heart, which is at the centre of her music, a fascinating blend of folk, country and pop.
Rheaume is also very involved with the community and works hard to raise awareness for a variety of causes and initiatives. For example, the song “Red Dress” pays tribute to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. She is also the co-founder and organizer of the Babes4Breasts cancer fundraising concert.
Winner of the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and nominated for a Juno, Amanda has just recently released her fourth album, “Holding Patterns”. It is a true treat to listen to and to see Amanda perform in concert, her big heart and fun personality coming through each time! Rheaume will be going on tour to Europe in the next few days, playing in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.
We had the pleasure of attending the launch for your new album “Holding Patterns”, which was held at the NAC’s Fourth Stage as its final concert, earlier this year. We also really enjoyed attending its vinyl release at The Record Centre a few days ago. This new work is very close to your heart. How does sharing your personal experiences with your listeners and giving us a little part of yourself feel like, once it’s out there?
“It feels very exposed! Holding Patterns is certainly the most personal and honest album I’ve ever released. Initially it felt scary to talk about the songs and about my experiences but I think that is the role of the artist, to expose truths and unique vantage points on the many things we all feel as humans. I do feel more vulnerable and available as a person these days and I think that is scary but also beautiful and rewarding.”
You have a very special way of communicating with your band members while performing, which is so lovely and fun. We also sensed you have a great rapport with the album’s producer, Jim Bryson. How did you eventually end up working together?
“I love my band! And I love playing music with them. I also love Jim Bryson so much. We connected at Summerfolk in Owen Sound in 2014. He was at the festival playing and we met backstage in the artist beer tent and I asked him if he wanted to work together on a few tunes with me. We did three songs as demos and that turned into working together on an entire album.”
What does being Canadian and, more specifically Ottawan, mean to you as a musician?
“I love being Canadian. I have traveled this country numerous times and am in awe each time. I love that I get to tell stories of our incredible country through my music. Being from Ottawa is especially important to me because it is the capital of our country. Ottawa gets looked over a lot and I truly want to change that. We have so many talented people living here in all art forms and business sectors, people that are doing amazing things. It’s high time we all celebrate ourselves!”
Finally, what do you most love about Ottawa?
“I love the community of people here – the artists, the business people, the philanthropists. I also love the rolling Ottawa River and Beau’s beer! :)”
Thank you, Amanda for gifting Ottawa with your musical talent and being an essential part of our arts scene!
If you’d like to follow Amanda on tour, you can follow her on Instagram at @amandarheaume and/or Twitter at: @amandarheaume. If you haven’t yet listened to Amanda’s new album yet, you can purchase it on iTunes.