Tony Cummings reports on the award-winning singer/songwriter from Canada, AMANDA FALK
Cross Rhythms radio listeners will recognize the name Amanda Falk as the artist who gave CR radio one of its most haunting turntable hits of last year, "This Is Love". Canadian readers will know Amanda is a much respected singer/songwriter with a string of awards to her name who also runs the ministry Beautiful Unique Girl (BU Girl) which challenges teenage girls to look beyond the magazine covers and media frenzy to measure their value.
Amanda was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and spent her childhood on the family farm just outside the city. From the beginning music was an important part of Amanda's life. She told Cross Rhythms, "My parents put me and my brother in group piano lessons when we were young and I loved the instrument from the beginning. Both of my parents are very musical - my dad plays guitar and sings. . .I remember listening to him practise as I would fall asleep. . .and we attended a church that actively involves music in worship so I was always empowered to use and grow my gifts to glorify God with them.
"I asked Jesus into my life when I was young, I don't remember the initial age. My journey has brought me to a couple of benchmarks, one when I was 16, and one when I was 23 when I had times of renewal in my relationship with him. I would say that initially my surroundings influenced my decision, growing up in a loving God fearing home then as I grew older the decision became more my own as I faced things in my weakness, relying on his strength. In the darkest moments of my short life, Jesus has become the most real to me."
By 2002 a teenage Amanda was writing and singing her own haunting songs, many of which pinpointed the issues and feelings of young women growing up in a challenging and confusing culture. She signed with the little independent label Avante Records, formed by the husband and wife duo Marshall and Malynda Zacharias who had once recorded and toured as Avante. In 2004 Avante released the award-winning 'Amanda Falk' album and three years later the 'Beautiful' set which featured the song "This Is Love". Amanda spoke about her turntable hit. "The chorus of this song was written in a prayer time at a youth conference in my home city. [It comes] from the Scripture, 'This is love, not that we have loved but that he loved us first.' I was hit by the revelation that before I could even love him back, he chose me, he loved me, and because I was helpless to even know what love is, he made it possible for me to catch a glimpse of it through his Son's sacrifice in order to restore the relationship that he wanted for he and I to have."
Amanda spoke about her Avante albums on the Soulshare website: "In the beginning, my producer and his wife mentored and processed songwriting with me. It was, for me, a process of allowing myself to trust and be more vulnerable; I was scared of sharing my thoughts. Yet in the process of writing and sharing, I began to see how people inserted their own stories, saying, 'This song affected me this way...' I found a love of songwriting and more freedom in actually being vulnerable; I can write anywhere now: Starbucks, on the road, here in Calgary. Music, I've found, transcends barriers and it goes to the heart. Of course, that means I must be more aware of its power."
Amanda is excited about her new album to be released in the next couple of months. She enthused, "It's in the process of being mixed right now. This record has been a significant change for me - this is the first album taken directly from my pen and paper. The two prior albums were mostly co-written. Incredible people have worked on this collection of songs, the guys who played on it caught the very breath of the songs and translated it well, and my producer Adrian Bradford gave such incredible clear musical direction for the entire project. Lyrically these songs were each written in mere moments at a time. I would be dealing with something or praying through something and a song would show up right then and there to help me through it. Also what's so sweet about this record is that most of these songs were penned in a time when there was no record in sight. There was no pressure surrounding them, so I feel as though they became what they were meant to be in the time they were meant to."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.