Amanda Williams is a Grammy-nominated songwriter, performer, and music business professional. Her artistry is a blend of classic country and pop influences. She recently co-wrote “She’s Tired of Boys” with Garth Brooks, which appeared as the second track on his latest platinum-selling album, “Man Against Machine.” She’s a magna cum laude graduate of the Berklee College of Music, with songs recorded by Garth Brooks, George Jones, Tyler Dickerson, Alecia Nugent, Jessie James Decker, and others.
Through Amanda’s philanthropic work, she has performed for Ambassador Andrew Young, President Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou, and Oprah Winfrey. In 2010, Amanda founded an enhanced music publishing company called Hillbilly Culture to provide education, mentoring, and support to aspiring songwriters of all ages. In addition to publishing, Amanda is a guest lecturer on songwriting and the music business at numerous colleges and universities, as well as online as part of her own Songpreneur School. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she home schools her 13-year old twins.
Table of Contents
6:40 – If you had to describe yourself as a band, song, or genre, what would it be?
11:10 – How did you get started in the music business?
17:15 – Tell us more about the Songpreneur community and what it takes to be a part of it
19:55 – What’s been your proudest moment to date?
21:50 – What would you consider to be one of your greatest setbacks or failures in the music industry?
30:19 – Three things artists should be doing today to grow their fan-base and move their careers forward
If you had to describe yourself as a band, song, or genre, what would it be?
I knew you were gonna ask this questions, and I started to right this clever little…I think the funniest part of this is that you are trying to get to the underlying personality, so I think I’m a cross between Maynard of Tool and Hank Williams, Sr. That’s probably the ugliest red-headed step child that there ever was. I could have said Janis Joplin in there too.
How did you get started in the music business?
You know, my Dad tried to discourage me from going into music when I was a kid, and probably rightly so. He said “Mandy, if there was anything else that you could do and be happy at it, I wish you would do that and not music.” And I thought, you know, I’m gonna be an archaeologist. That’s what I wanted to be when I was a kid. Because I really liked dinosaurs and digging up bones. And I laughed about it later. I still am an archaeologist, but of emotion. I’m just digging bones up in a different way. Maybe my Dad’s caution is what drew me to it even more.
Tell us more about the Songpreneur community and what it takes to be a part of it.
A lot of what we have is on our website, SongwritingandMusicBusiness.com. What does it take to join us? Well, $97 a year:)
But seriously, you gotta be able to get in there and read and listen to the materials. It’s like a choose your own adventure. I write a lot of articles at least once a week, but usually more than that. If we find great articles on the web, we bring people attention to them. We have a thriving community of songwriters on there.
We call ourselves Songpreneurs because we have a love for music but we also have this entrepreneurial spirit. It’s about building a sustainable career in the new music business, and providing them with the resources, the network, and a very organic way of connecting with mentors, people at your level, or people that are starting out.
What’s been your proudest moment to date?
I think it’s right now. Garth just put out a song that we wrote together. He could have blown me over with a feather when he asked me to write with him in the first place. That was a pretty proud moment, and it just keep getting prouder. Watching him do his thing, and watching this album, “Man Against Machine,” do well. Out of the past seven weeks, I think its been on the top of the Billboard charts for five of those weeks. If anyone has been good to songwriters, it’s Garth Brooks.
What would you consider to be one of your greatest setbacks or failures in the music industry?
My biggest setback that I’ve learned from has been thinking that other people are gonna do something and expecting that to happen. And not taking into account that I’m responsible for everything that I do. I was signed to a record deal for awhile, and it was just a disaster. I heard on the news that it had gone bankrupt, and all this crazy stuff.
The worst part of it for me was that I had decided to that after all those years that I had been home with my kids. They were getting ready to start kindergarten. My Mom suggested that I let the kids go up there and go to school, and you drive back and forth and really work on your career now that they are in school. I thought that sounded like a good idea. And I did that. I was driving back and forth 250 miles a week, just to see my kids for three days here, or four days here.
And I got a record deal that year. But gosh, so what? It was a disaster. And I’ll never get that time back with my kids. And that taught me a super lesson. It taught me not to chase that stuff. Don’t sacrifice your family.
Three things artists should be doing today to grow their fan-base and move their careers forward
- Have goals. And those aren’t things that you just dream about doing, but something that is practical and achievable with a time-frame.
- Make sure you can execute against your goals. I think that keeps a lot of people in check. Lets say my goal is to open for Garth Brooks, that would be awesome. Would I be ready to do that tomorrow? Or if your goal is to get a publishing deal by the end of the year, and you’re asking yourself, would I be ready to jump into that?
- Make yourself remarkable. And by that I mean, are you doing something, whether it’s your music, or something that you are doing in the community. Is there something remarkable about that? Would I think about bringing your name up in a conversation? And if the answer is no to that, then you need to think about your contribution to other folks lives with your music, and make that remarkable.