Volume 95, Issue 80

Wednesday, March 6, 2002
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Amanda Marshall's got a story for you

Enemy Women: a strong debut for Jiles

You Are Home successfully alienates readers

Outside the Box

Dreams? More like nightmares

Amanda Marshall's got a story for you

By Andrea Chiu
Gazette Staff

"To those people [who criticize me], get off your ass and make a record," challenges Amanda Marshall.

She's a woman with bite and she's proud of her music – whether other people like it or not.

With the release of her latest album, Everybody's Got A Story, it seems a lot of people are enjoying Amanda Marshall's music, though her third album is a stylistic departure from her 1995 self-titled debut and 1998's Tuesday's Child.

Photo by Richard Sibbald
Soulful singles like "Birmingham" and "Dark Horse" are in stark contrast to the funkier songs on her album like "Everybody's Got A Story" and "Sunday Morning After."

"[You reach] a certain point as a creative person and as a songwriter and performer. You reach a crossroads – you are given a choice to do the same thing over and over again and some people do. They know what their audience wants, so they continue to do what they always do. Or you can step out of that path and find new artistic possibilities and I did that and stepped out on a huge limb," Marshall explains.

"It's reflective of my personality. I wanted people to have a better sense of me as a person. For me, I felt like I was at the end of a chapter. I took a year off in between the second and third record and it was a valuable time. I was focused in terms of how I wanted the record to sound."

Rather than pursuing industrial metal or trance, Marshall insists her new, more R&B influenced sound is a reflection of her own tastes – it's not a sound that has been produced to follow popular music trends, but something even more true to herself than her preceding music.

"You can't please everybody all the time," she says. "This is the music that moves me and this is music that I like. All you can do is offer people your best effort. I don't think this is a trendy record, I think it's really a deep, smart record. It has taken me beyond where I was before."

Although Marshall's music has become funkier and more suitable for Top 40 radio than your parents' soft rock station, it doesn't mean she will be including a choreographed dance team in her live performances.

"I've always been a mover and a shaker. I went to see Alicia Keys and she had dancers that came out halfway through the show. It feels like it's something everyone has to do now, but I don't. The fact is my show is my show. I don't like anything that is contrived and choreographed.

"[The album] fits into the modern landscape of what's on the radio. But I didn't want to make a lyrically or conceptually shallow record. I wanted to tell good stories. I think, musically, we concentrated on a few elements – it's not overdone. We kept it as organic an experience as possible."

Marshall's hard work has certainly paid off in the eyes of the record industry. This year, she has been nominated for two Juno Awards: Best Artist and Best Single for "Everybody's Got A Story" and she will also be one of the performers at the April ceremonies to be hosted by the Barenaked Ladies.

"[Awards are] not desperately important. Other than the performances [at award shows], I get to see the performers on a human level, it's one chance to meet people you might not get to meet," she says.

"The day-to-day stuff is by far [more important] to me. Travel is more compelling. I get to see the world and do something I love. The idea that I get to go out every night and get to connect with people is more compelling."

Amanda Marshall performed last night at Centennial Hall and will appear at the Juno Awards Sunday, Apr. 14. CTV will air them live from the Mile One Stadium in St. John's, Newfoundland at 8 p.m..

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Copyright The Gazette 2002