In the Blog
Amanda Mabro: Jazz, Indie-Rock, and Cabaret flare
Every other Thursday I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!
I’ve been working a lot on my music lately and I’m happy to be able to introduce you to another wonderful performer I’ve met along the way, the amazing Amanda Mabro…
A 29 year old Montrealer with Egyptian, Greek, and Austrian roots, Amanda Mabro is a performer who was encouraged by supportive parents to explore her artistic passions and whims at her own pace. By perfecting a sound “that fuses the smooth and sultry vocal stylings of jazz legends, the raw energy of indie-rock and blues, and the mysterious theatrical flare of German and French Cabaret,” Amanda creates unique and memorable songs that she has included on her second EP Wine Flows.
What drives you to do what you do?
For the longest time I had this amorphous idea of what drives me to do what I do. As a child, I never thought of trying to make a career out of performing and it was really just something I did. It was in my late teens that I became very focused and began to insist on having a career in the arts. I insisted to the point that it was almost unhealthy and I began to define my self-worth by how far I’d come on the social ladder. Something that is typical in any field and definitely typical for someone in their 20’s. Eventually I’d gained a lot of experience and along the way some clarity. One day I just stopped caring about the outcome. Instead I began to focus on all the amazing and unusual experiences I was having. In the place of bitterness and frustration came a whole lot of gratitude and that was followed by compassion and a rediscovering and reconnecting to my passion. It was a really interesting process for me emotionally and it opened me up in ways that I never expected. It was in the morning that followed one of my latest shows at Montreal’s Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire, that my purpose became more clear to me. First off, the show itself was amazing. To the band and I, it was a real success. Not because we had a great turn out, but because we’d gotten people to go on a journey with us. We got them to suspend disbelief for a moment and trust us. We asked and the audience delivered. People got up dancing and singing along, playing instruments, and acting like 5 year old kids on Christmas morning. They were willing to go on that journey with us and that was truly an amazing feeling - one so strong it has yet been paralleled. I always knew I was a good singer and that I had ideas that were worth sharing, but I also recognized there would always be someone better, more talented, more clever, etc. It was after my the show in question that I could see what my real gift was however. That gift was connecting with people. That is my best quality. It’s something I enjoy and it brings me so much.
How does being a woman empower / challenge you?
I definitely suffer from latent feminist realizations. Recently I told a close friend “oh my god, I think I’m a feminist?!” and she said “umm…you’re only realizing that now?” I mean for the last 5 years I’ve produced an event called The WAWA Show that focuses on bringing female artists & entrepreneurs to the forefront. Women that are diverse, multi faceted, and not afraid of riding the ol’ sassy horse on occasion. For the longest time I struggled with the fact that women are often met with more resistance when they are capable of taking on many roles. Another close friend of mine for example is this incredibly sexy virtuosic musician who basically swims in world music waters dominated by men. She is often met with surprise and disbelief when people find out she is not only an amazing instrumentalist, but has a degree in film and enjoys hot yoga on a regular basis. I mean, it’s like people just want you to be one thing, especially if you’re a woman. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way bitter about it, just mildly annoyed and taking notice. I think it’s funny that some people, men and women alike, find the idea of you being able to take on many roles makes you flighty, not serious, or unfocused and that’s just not true.
I’ve always felt very strongly about other women and had a great relationship with my mom. There was a long period of time where I wished I’d find girl friends that would support me and make me feel like I was part of something. I can now say I finally found amazing, strong, and talented women that I am lucky enough to call my friends. There is something almost indefinable about the comfort and safety I feel having the support come from so many wonderfully different women in my life. There’s nothing like a good hen party! It’s almost like we have something inherently ingrained within us, an undeniable fabric that connects us to each other. And if our egos aren’t too fragile, if we are grown up and open enough, there’s an amazing bond of sisterhood that can be found that will provide and provide.
What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?
Embrace deviating from the norm. It’s really easy in North American culture to have preconceived notions about what makes you a good or bad artist. It makes it very difficult for anyone to explore enough to reach their full potential because their judgment is clouded by so many things they’ve adopted as “hip” or “cool”. Being cool is overrated. Be sure you’re going into it for the right reasons too. Those reasons are different for every individual, but figuring them out is the tricky part. If what you want is to be famous momentarily and that’s what satisfies you, that’s fine. If what you want is to do your own thing and potentially not fit into any particular box, that’s fine too. Just make sure you know why you are doing it and that you are satisfied with the answer. The old adage of “be true to yourself” basically. Sometimes we think we want one thing and then when we get it we realize it wasn’t what we actually wanted nor all it was cracked up to be. It’s important to strive for something that feels real. The only way I can do that is if I ask myself the tough questions that make me look at myself from many different angles. Keeping vanity/narcissism out of the equation is so important.
Name one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?
Person: Katia Campbossi (Nia dance teacher & modern dancer in Montreal) and singer Sharon Jones (she’s the real deal). Things: Boxing & Hot yoga (Moksha in Montreal especially) - so cathartic.
What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?
I don’t know that any one thing can change the world, but perhaps a series of actions that deviate from the norm might trigger a change on the whole. I know that as westerners our values tend to be dictated a lot by popular culture. Perhaps allowing ourselves to explore outside the constraints of popular media would be one positive thing for people to consider. There is a lot of good within the mainstream, but over exposure to it with little exploration outside it clouds one’s judgment of what is good/generic/entertaining/important/unique/etc.
Make sure to check out Amanda’s music on her website www.amandamabro.com and www.myspace.com/amandamabro.