#CMW Countdown: A Conversation With… Amanda Merdzan

In a word, Amanda Merdzan is sincere.

The indie-folk singer, hailing from Perth, Australia, is (contrary to her latest single) unafraid of confessing her hopes and dreams to listeners.  With a keen ear for storytelling that pulls listeners in until mesmerized, Amanda’s rich vocals seal the deal and ensure her words linger for hours beyond first sonic encounter.  Tales of life — and living it — feel grounded in the listener’s own secret history.  By peeling back the layers, once could say she’s made an art of reflection and revelation.

With her new EP The Map Has Been Redrawn (available on iTunes and at her website) now out in the world, Amanda prepares to wow audiences at Canadian Music Week.  Through the magic of the internet, I was able to snag Amanda for a stellar chat about everything that matters: music, shimmying babies and concert coitus.

Amanda Merdzan

OTM:  The Mayan Calendar was lyin’! Now that we’ve lived to see 2013, what albums are you looking forward to this year?

Amanda: Being a long time Tegan & Sara fan I was super excited to hear the new record. I wasn’t sure if it would be ‘my thing’ hearing talk of how different it was to their previous records… But I absolutely love it; I’ve had it on repeat all day every day. Every day is now a dance party.


OTM recently was able to scratch Roger Waters from the“Bucket List of bands/artists to see before I die”. Who’s on top of your musical Bucket List?

I would love to hurry up and see Laura Marling, but I always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Last year, “Gangnam Style” exploded onto the scene. If you could dictate the song or trend that would become the viral monster of 2013, what would it be?

If I have anything to do with it, it will be my friend’s one-year-old baby who does a mean shimmy to her favourite tunes.


If you could recruit anyone to direct a music video for you (Go wild! You’re not footing the bill), who would you choose and what song would you want them to tackle?

Quentin Tarantino for my song “Alaska”. The song is about a recurring dream I would have where I was trying to rescue my (fictional) lover from the Russian Mafia, which always ended in a shoot-out and me dying on a sheet of ice floating off into the ocean somewhere in Alaska. Shoot-out. Need I say more?


Name five essential albums you can’t live without.

Regina Spektor – Begin To Hope; Tegan and Sara – The Con; The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt;   Warpaint – The Fool;  Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism.


Your favourite guilty pleasure?

The Dixie Chicks.


The great debate of our lives: who would win, ninjas or pirates? More importantly, why?

Ninjas, because I like them more and that’s what counts.


Thinking of concerts you’ve attended as a fan/spectator, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen someone else do in an audience?

People having sexual relations. That’s right kids: bumping uglies, coitus, getting freaky in mosh pit. Quite frankly I found it rather brave: it was an outdoor concert, there was sand.


Bastardizing a Metric lyric: who’d you rather be, The Tragically Hip or Rush?

After a spot of research (as I’m Australian and live under a rock) I’ve come to a rather uninformed decision: The Tragically Hip, despite the amazing hair styles Rush have sported over the years, which nearly swayed me.


Chicken or the egg question: which usually comes first, the music or the lyrics?

Most often lyrics and a melody will appear simultaneously, but I don’t always keep the lyrics because they usually aren’t all that good or make very much sense. Generally they are just words strung together that have the right number of syllables for the melody.


Your first concert: who was it, and how old were you? More importantly, how was it?

I think it was boy band ‘Five’. My uncle scored some free tickets through his work, so 9 year old me experienced live stadium music for the first time. It was probably the most people I had ever seen in one space. I just remember the lights and the band looking very far away, as I’m pretty sure we were in the nosebleed section. I can’t say I was a Five fan, but it was a fun night out on the town with generous amounts of ice-cream.


In the spirit of Shaun Of The Dead, what was the second album you ever bought?

It must have been Cheshire Cat by Blink 182, because I’m pretty sure the first was MMMBop by Hanson. I don’t know what my parents were thinking, letting me buy a record with lyrics such as ‘just about done with your butt’ and ‘Ben Wah Balls’. I was 10.


The best music-related film ever made?

Almost Famous really stuck with me. So did my love for Kate Hudson after that film.


The world is ending in ten minutes. You can listen to one and only one song before the world ends. What song do you go out on?

Bloc Party – “Helicopter”. I spent two weeks straight dancing to that song every night. It reminds me of the best times.


What can we look forward to from you in 2013?

A new record and hopefully a lot of touring! Along with starting the next dance craze, courtesy of my friend’s shimmying baby.


You can catch Amanda Merdzan at CMW twice (score!):   March 21st at 9:40pm (Church of the Holy Trinity, as part of an amazing Australian showcase) and March 23rd at 11pm at The Central.  Pencil her in; who knows when this dynamo will be back in Canada?

OTM is also pleased to announce that Amanda Merdzan is taking part in our delicious CMW Giveaway! Learn how to win here.  And while you’re here, check out the visually gorgeous video for Amanda’s poignant single, “Afraid”.


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