A simple request to sing demos for a producer ignited Amy Wilcox’s love of music into a professional dream. Rather than making her complacent with success, a brief stint on reality TV put Amy’s true goals into sharper focus, compelling her to work harder and be recognized for her craft instead of her name. Fittingly, her debut EP West is a triumphant celebration of overcoming personal struggles and defining oneself as an artist. Moving forward, Amy plans to add another installment to her beloved cover series, “Something Old, Something New, Something True.”
Cliché: What first sparked your passion for music?
Amy Wilcox: Growing up, I always loved to sing and perform. My dad was an avid music lover and would strum on his acoustic guitar to songs he loved. He was super into the Laurel Canyon music scene, like the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Linda Ronstadt and I really gravitated toward that sound. As my love for music and singing grew, I started searching for more female artists, and discovered people like Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Joe Dee Messina, and the Dixie Chicks – all these badass women who were so determined to push the boundaries. I was determined to make music a part of my life.
What is it about country music as a genre that speaks to you?
The songwriting. I love that country music has always told a story and you get a glimpse into what that person is going through. In my own writing, the lyrics always come first, so I love that country music really paints a vivid picture for people to be able to relate to.
Was there a particular moment that motivated you to pursue music professionally?
In college, I recorded a few songs with my acapella group for a competition. Being in the studio was so exhilarating, and I had the time of my life. After college, I was working in a studio in Atlanta and was asked to sing a few demos for a producer. Singing in a studio, I knew that I had to pursue my own career and push to record my own songs.
You were featured on the A+E reality show, Crazy Hearts. Did the show alter or influence how you saw yourself, either personally or as an artist?
I learned a lot from that show! I learned that you really need to know who you are and where you stand or you can get lost in this business very quickly. I was proud of the way I was presented on the show, but at that time, there was a lot of pressure to fit into to a certain mold to “take advantage” of all the “buzz.” I knew that I wanted to be an artist and hone my craft, and not just be a reality star. It reminded me that no amount of success will make you happy if you aren’t being authentic to yourself.
Talk about your new single, “Jailbird.” The lyrics talk about being so completely in love with someone that you never want to leave. Were you drawing on your own relationship experiences?
Yes I wrote this about my own relationship! I was super determined in the momentum of my career and didn’t want any distractions and this relationship kinda snuck up on me. The song talks about the struggle and balance with wanting to be independent and unwavering in pursuing your dreams, but also wanting to dive head first into a relationship that makes you feel amazing. Sadly that relationship didn’t work out in the end, but Taylor Swift made a career writing songs about her exes, so I guess I can too!
You’ve said that your new EP, West, reflects changes you’ve faced. Elaborate a little more on that. How have those challenges shaped who you are as an artist?
Thank you! I am so happy it is out in the world! When West came about, I was in the process of pulling myself out a rough period in my life. I was dealing with breaking off my engagement, which put me in quick an emotional rut. It took me a while to pick up the pieces and readjust to getting back on track with my career. It was hard at first to jump back in creatively, but it forced me to really take a step back at decide exactly where I wanted to go next. I knew this was my opportunity to really dive in to exactly who I wanted to be as an artist and start that new path. I started writing and experimenting with different genres, and I grew a lot in my understanding of my own style and sound.
Describe your journey towards discovering your own unique sound.
I have always loved music from a wide range on genres. In the journey towards signing with Blue Elan Records and creating new music, I got with my producer, Cass Dillon, and we labored for days on really getting down to the bones of why I loved certain genres or songs. I always love music that has some grit and soul to it and I wanted that to shine through in my own unique way. I love performing live and I wanted to write songs that presented my own experience of hope and self discovery, AND would get people up, having fun and dancing. Creating “West” was my time to get back to the basics of who I am as an artist in an organic way. My producer and I set up shop in a little cabin overlooking a lake, started writing, and over the course of that year, West was born!
Do you have a favorite track on West? If so, why is it so significant to you?
I love the song “Bandwagon.” It was the first song we wrote in the cabin, start to finish, and it just clicked. I was so excited the moment we put down our guitars, because I knew we had found the direction and sound I was searching for. The song itself talks about not being scared to make a change, stop going through the motions, and pushing yourself to find what’s really going to make you happy. This song really is the theme of the album and what I was going through while writing West.
What are you excited for? Any fun projects coming up?
I am so excited to have all these songs out in the world! I just played my very first showcase at SXSW which was a bucket list show for me, and I have a bunch of shows coming up throughout this summer. I did a cover series called “Something Old, Something New, Something True” where I created my own versions of songs that inspired me, and I am getting ready to release another installment of that. I am excited to hit the road and keep working on new music and just continue on this new journey!
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Singer Amy Wilcox Starts Her Next Chapter in Her New EP, “West”. Photo courtesy of Amy Wilcox.