Born in Taiwan, Amanda Wu started her music career at an impressively young age. As a child prodigy, she composed her first piece at just 7 years old. At ages 8, 9, and 12 she represented Taiwan internationally, performing her original compositions in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. By age 19, Amanda was the champion of the international piano competition organized by Montreal International Music Camp Canada. Amanda has also been a TED x Taipei speaker & performer.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Amanda about her influences, the new project, navigating the digital music world and more.
Full Q&A along with links and a stream of Does Tradition Exist In The 21st Century? below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
I am from Taiwan. My style is a mixture of Jazz/Pop/Classical. I like to write catchy melody with pop vocal, then arrange music with Jazz and classical skills in piano.
So, beautiful/catchy melodies with rich harmonies are how I want my composition to be. It is a bit hard to specifically categorize my genre.
I would describe my style as “Jazz-oriented pop with classical flavor!” (it’s not a marketing term, it is my term, how I really feel about it, haha!)
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
I started learning piano since 4 years old after my family discovered that I have perfect pitch. Ever since starting to learn, I was always very excited and passionate about it. I would even felt bad if my teacher cancelled a lesson, haha! I loved to play/sing and eager to know more about it since childhood. After entering the elementary school, with the high passion, I obtained many awards in piano, oboe, compositions, and singing. It just felt very natural to stay in music education and field. Therefore, the motivation is high passion and feeling natural of doing it.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
“The Journey On Earth” is the series of my original music. Volume 1 is more specific for the “Unknown” stage of life. There are 3 songs in Volume 1. The first 2 songs are composed when putting myself to explore the mysterious Unknown at age 20 in Montreal (studying) and age 30 in New York (seeking for higher goal for career and life). I wrote them to inspire people that life is never easy, but just need to be fearless and consistent. The third one is to express that the solid love is the most powerful thing to support us conquering all the difficulties in the Unknown. I have a cousin and love him very much. When I feel struggled, as long as I think of him, I feel happy and positive right away. It is dedicated to my beloved cousin.
Volume 2: “Stories of Time” is a broader concept. Because living on earth is living with the stream of timeline, as time goes by, we are growing, changing and also producing so many stories. Timing is telling us so many stories as long as we pay attention closely to listen to and observe on ourselves and others. I wrote them because I hope people can be more aware of the change of their inner world and the whole era.
I think the specific thing that I set out to accomplish is to spread my music to as many people as possible. The goal is to not only deliver the eclectic (unconventional Jazz, unconventional Pop) to people but also arose the consciousness and creativity of people to be conscious about what is going on in themselves and their journey on earth.
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
Yes! The challenge is that it is difficult to make money by selling music. (Unless you write a super hit and get paid by royalties). However, technology also make it easy to arrange and record (like Home Studio) . For business side, it is easy to distribute, promote, building a your brand and interact with fans. I actually enjoy the digital era. We just have to change to other ways making money through music.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?
You can connect with me through my blog www.amandayiyen.com Will be very happy to see you leave your comments, email me, and link to YouTube there. There is also an online music store in the blog (which contains all my music.)
For Social Media Channels, you can connect me on:
Anything else before we sign off?
The purpose of composing music (with all the elements of style that I learned and grew up with) and running this blog is to inspire people to be creative of doing things and conscious about who you really are. I found the themes of my life are creative music, fashion, idea and journey. I feel it is my calling sharing these with you to inspire you find your own themes and then accomplish them to reach the ultimate goal, self-realization! Please check my music and blog. I hope you will get some inspiration and feel motivated !!!
Big Love to you and the world!