DISCOVER ARTISTS IN THE 10TH IMAs: Miss Amy
HOMEBASE: New Jersey, USA
GENRE: Children’s Music with a blend of Jazz, Rock, Pop, Broadway, Lullabies
CATEGORY ENTERED: Song: Children’s
SONGS SUBMITTED: “Imagination Island“, and “Magic Pony” From the Album Miss Amy Fitness Rock & Roll
LABEL: Ionian Productions
ARTISTS FEATURED: Amy Otey (Vocals, Guitar)
Alex Otey (Collaborative arranging, engineering, production, keyboard, trumpet and back-up vocal)
James Popik (electric guitar and back-up vocal)
Chris Clark (bass)
Rick Vinet (drums on “Magic Pony“)
Andy Janowiack (drums and percussion on “Imagination Island“)
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO WRITING SONGS THAT APPEAL TO KIDS AND PARENTS? I imagine listening to the song over and over and over again and then I do. Do I still like it – is there a groove? Does it tell a story? Is the word-smithing clever? I am my own worst critic so only the songs I write that I really love make it to my CDs.
WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN CREATING MUSIC FOR CHILDREN? Growing up I was surrounded by music, enjoyed choir, musical theater and studied my craft, always listening and learning. I earned my degree in business with a focus on Strategic Management and worked in the gerontology field. During that time, I also did a lot of cabaret, duo and band work. Then in 1996 our first son was born severely premature. Not only did I become his primary caregiver, I became a certified music instructor, began teaching young children and also performed at libraries and coffeehouses. Thankfully, our son is a healthy (musical) teen-ager now. Building on some fitness teaching experience gained during my college years, in the mid-90’s I trained and became a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching at the gym ever since. In 2004 my first CD Underwater was released by my label. Since then I have released: Wide Wide World 2005, My Precious One 2006, I Wanna Know How It Works! 2007, and Fitness Rock & Roll 2010. Additionally, I was on the planning /marketing team and am a featured artist on the GRAMMY ® nominated Healthy Food For Thought: Good Enough To Eat CD. (All the proceeds from this CD go to support the NY Healthy Schools Food Coalition).
DESCRIBE YOUR LATEST RELEASE “Miss Amy Fitness Rock & Roll”: A no excuses rock pop fusion of fitness music motivation for the entire family! I love Anne Leighton’s (Leighton Media Music Services) take on it. She wrote “…What a voice and songwriting. Kind of a cross between Tina Turner and Ethel Merman, but rock & roll. Great arrangements! Sing it! I think your album is perfect. Well done.”
WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS IN THE STUDIO? We come into the studio with our prepared road map but leave room for our band mates to put their signature sound into the mix.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A RECOGNIZED LEADER IN PROMOTING HEALTHY HABITS FOR KIDS?: Everything started merging in 2004 when teaching music for young children. Sympathetic to the kinesthetic learner, my movement songs began to take on more structure and I began to think of them as a mini-exercise opportunities as well as an expression of music through movement. Noting that many parents and some children were winded after a 3 minute song with light cardio movement– I knew I was reaching into something important. In 2007 I became an official Advocate for the President’s Challenge Program and now not only are my performances an opportunity to move, I underscore the importance of fitness and encourage families to earn their President’s Active Lifestyle Award. Much like a math equation: Food (Eat Well) + Exercise (Get Moving) = Balanced Body!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ARTISTS THAT WOULD LIKE TO USE THEIR ART PROMOTING GREATER GOOD? Be passionate! Just as writers are always encouraged to “write what you know”, we musicians should be encouraged to “sing what you feel”. Your passion will emerge. Nurture it and follow the flow.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE? This is a toss-up between playing 3 ‘Miss Amy & Her Big Kids Band Fitness Rock & Roll’ shows at the 2010 White House Egg Roll event and being a featured artist on the Grammy nominated ® “Healthy Food For Thought: Good Enough To Eat” CD.
HAVE YOU EVER HUNG OUT WITH ONE OF YOUR MUSICAL HEROES? Funny you should ask. Just last month I was at an event and a friend turned to me and said, “Miss Amy I’d like you to meet Peter Nero”. I just couldn’t help myself – I hugged him!!! Now I’m sure big stars get that all the time and I was a bit embarrassed at my childlike initial response, but he was so warm and gracious he forgave my impulsiveness and we went on to have a wonderful conversation. He has been one of my heroes ever since I can remember – a master pianist and vibrant conductor who both interprets and delivers. He is why I learned how to work the “stereo” at 6 years old. I think I wore out his “Love Is Blue” record. What I find fascinating about Mr. Nero is his constant re-invention and longevity. His pulse is on the next wave, he draws his audience into an intimate understanding of structure with his attention to dynamics, rhythm and interpretation and – he’s downright good fun!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE DIGITAL IMPACT ON THE MUSIC BIZ? We are on the beginning of this wave. Virtual product is definitely the next big thing and digital distribution will eventually overtake the market. It’s an exciting time because with that direction comes opportunity to grow as an artist. The power of this is evidenced by the overnight sensation you-tube stars. Plus it will be less expensive to bring our product to market and reduced packaging will be a step in the right direction toward a greener planet.
ARE THERE ANY SONGS YOU WISH YOU WROTE? “Waters of March” by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW LINEUP? Elmo & Shaq with First Lady Michelle Obama and Miss Amy & Her Big Kids Band!
FINISH THIS SENTENCE: THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS…integrally meshed inside the flux capacitor. Old is new and genres are breeding hybrids. Never before has there been a more exciting time for a musician to be a musician. The possibilities and opportunities are limited only by lack of imagination and fortitude.
NAME SOME ARTISTS YOU ARE CHAMPIONING: Alex Otey, James Popik, Chris Clark (band mates who each have other projects going on); Orlando Otey (classical pianist) – The Chopin of Mexico, Richie Cole -legendary saxophone player, Laura Cheadle (hip, funky soulful artist currently on tour in Egypt), Sisters 3 (folk/alt act). There are many good artists on the local scene that we try to get out to hear and support.
HOW CAN FANS FOLLOW YOU? WHERE IS YOUR MUSIC AVAILABLE? See my website where you can link to my music to purchase through CDBaby and access my FREE lesson plans (a parent’s, teachers & librarians resource, searchable by song title of each in my catalog as well as teaching theme).
My music is also available on iTunes and at BWI for education/library orders.