We sat down with SAMA-winning music artist Amanda Black to talk about her start on Idols, her ballad of self-love and what she has learned in her time in the music industry.
Here’s a fire track to get you in the mood:
Amanda will be performing at the 25th-anniversary Essence Festival in New Orleans in July 2019 alongside big-name artists like Mary J Blige, Missy Elliott and H.E.R.
You got your start on Idols. Do you think that entering a reality competition is a good way for undiscovered singers to understand what the South African music industry is like?
Not completely. It doesn’t teach you about the complex nature of the industry. Competition is competition. But it helped me to find my own voice and connect with the songs that I was singing. I also learned a lot about performing, as every week you had to perform another song. But since Idols, I have grown a lot. It was important for me to learn the business side of things [with regards to the music industry] because if you don’t, it is so easy to be taken advantage of. But that is true of any industry that you work in.
Your new single, Thandwa Ndim, which peaked at number one on iTunes, is a song about leaving a toxic relationship and learning to love yourself. Can you talk about how important this is in light of the Babes Wodumo news?
Thandwa Ndim is essentially about self-love. It’s about any decision that you make to leave something. No-one can pull you out if it, only you can. When people talk about abuse, they usually talk about physical abuse, but sometimes mental abuse can be even worse – it breaks your spirit, and it becomes difficult for you to leave. With this song, I was trying to inspire and motivate women who are in abusive and toxic relationships. I imagined a group of women surrounding that one person, showing the strength of women in supporting one another. It’s about us learning to be more patient and understanding.
What inspired you to write Thandwa Ndim?
I was motivated by how often issues such as abuse get swept under the rug. But with social media, things are brought out into the open. When I wrote this single, I felt helpless and I tried to put myself in the shoes of a woman who had struggled with abuse. I imagined how she felt and what tools she would need to leave.
Who would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?
Locally, Thandiswa Mazwai. I love her style of music – the spirituality of it. Internationally, Whitney Houston. I listen to everything and anything.
Who were the strong female role models in your life?
My mother. She raised me and influenced how I see the world. I often catch myself asking, ‘what would Mommy do?’ when I’m making a decision.
What do you think is important for young people to do in order to love themselves?
I think it is important to research. I needed to understand why I hated what I look like, so I did research on where Xhosa people come from, and it helped me to gain a sense of self-love and self-acceptance. I encourage other young people to do the same – research! It’s our responsibility, as young people, to know more about ourselves.
And lastly, what piece of advice do you think every young South African woman should hear?
I’m still learning so much, but one thing that I learnt is to know your power and know how to use it. Women are like fire. You need to learn how to balance and understand your power. Listen to your intuition. That’s what my next project is all about – how to find your power, and to be a whole person when you’re in a relationship.
Listen to Amanda’s latest single here:
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