This is a series in which we interview a student musician and talk about their involvement in music writing and performance. Today, we have a profile about Amanda Goodman ’18 and her involvement in the music scene at Kenyon and beyond. Know a musician you want to see interviewed? Comment below!
Name: Amanda Goodman
Class Year: 2018
Hometown: Rye Brook, NY
Major: Psychology and Women and Gender Studies
How did you first get involved in music? How did you get into writing your own music?
I first got introduced to music through musical theatre, which I did starting in elementary school pretty much until my freshman year at Kenyon. I feel like when you’re a kid, your identity becomes attached to the first thing that you get some sort of recognition for, and it took me a little while to realize that theatre wasn’t really the thing I wanted to focus on. I was also in a choir for my temple in middle school and then in high school I started studying opera and competing. I began writing songs when I was in about 7th grade because I was, admittedly, a huge Taylor Swift fan. I think another big motivator for writing my own music was the realization I had at some point, that there was no song out there that would be able say exactly what I was feeling. Especially as an adolescent, it was really important for me to have my emotions validated in some way, and I found at some point, that I could experience that validation through song writing. I picked up guitar on and off for about 5 years until I finally stuck with it my junior year of high school (although I really am only starting to get kind of good at it now), and this was definitely a tool that was wholly necessary for me to utilize if I wanted to seriously get into song writing.
Do you have any projects out now? How would you describe your vibe?
Yes actually! I’m very very excited about it (and this article came at a really perfect time), I have been recording with WKCO (specifically with the infamous Seth Reichert who was actually written up in the thrill for being insanely over scheduled) for over a year and we are finally wrapping up an album that consists of 9 songs and will hopefully be out on Bandcamp in the next week or so! During this time, we have tried a lot of different things, and I feel like through this recording process, both Seth and I have definitely developed a more consolidated vision for the musical essence/ narrative of this product. If I had to describe the vibe of my music, I guess I would put it in the generic umbrella genre of “singer song writer.” Most of the songs in this album are inspired by feelings of loss, rejection, disappointment, lack of control, and can probably be characterized as the physical manifestations of my clumsy attempts to deconstruct and cope with my emotions. Each song is centered around the lyrics, and everything else is really just there to make the story easier to swallow.
Any bands/artists/albums/etc. that inspire your music style?
Definitely! I think that that is undeniably true for pretty much any artist. Since the album I have been working on is a coalescence of songs that I wrote ranging from my sophomore year of high school until this past fall, there is not one specific artist or style I can think of that is underlying everything. Although, I can say that the more recent songs I have written probably include some influence from Soko, Daughter, Torres, and Soley, who are artists that I believe are particularly successful at capturing the kind of emotional resonance in their songs that I hope to capture in mine.
How has the production process been for you?
This production process has been critical in transforming the way that I see music as well as myself as a “musician” (I am not sure if I have quite earned this title yet). It has introduced me new ways of constructing a narrative and has given me an entirely new appreciation for recorded music. This process has been stressful in the sense that, prior to recording or mixing something, I definitely have an idea of what I want it to sound like, and sometimes it can take hours to attain that, and even then, I may come back in a week and decide that I hate it, and then ask poor Seth to help me record it again. I think that this process does get easier, as the more recording you do, the better you get at identifying exactly what you want and then executing that (I definitely have not mastered this yet). I’d say the most frustrating thing about music production for me, is being exposed to the vast potential of what can be done in terms of composing and arranging, and then having the realization that I’m actually an infant who doesn’t really know anything about music. Although, at the same time, it’s pretty exciting that there’s this whole world out their that is literally right at my finger tips, if I can just take the time to figure it out (which is easier said than done.) Seth has really been a huge part of my “awakening” to the music world because he’s so knowledgeable, which can be both inspiring and terrifying (there’s nothing scarier than the discovery of whole pool of knowledge that seems somewhat inaccessible to you).
How would you describe the Kenyon music scene in 3 words?
Accessible with effort.
What’s up next for you? Any EPs/albums/collectives in the works?
Oh god. Well I’m gonna try to finish this album (hopefully in the next week). And then after that, I’m gonna resume writing. I’ve spent this year trying to become more acquainted with music theory and I’m really hoping to start experimenting more with synthesizers and loops. I think thus far in my song writing, I’ve really relied on my lyrics to tell the story, but I feel like there is so much that can be expressed through sound that really can’t be said as well with words. For the future, my hope is to tap deeper into this timeless language, which I’ve found to be so unique in it’s vastness and expressiveness.