I felt the urge to record a cover video today! I've been wanting to put this song up on my YouTube for a while. It's one of my favorites of the heartbreakers that Elvis sang. For a while, I was nervous to post it, because I don't feel I have great piano skills. Well...I'm trying to walk my talk, and this is my year for doing the things that scare me. Here it is, y'all! Please show the video some love.
I felt led to share some thoughts with you, so here’s a random musing…
You know that feeling that things never happen fast enough? The feeling like you’re running in place, and what’s all the effort for? That was me a year ago. Total panic, y’all! I had just graduated from college, and I thought that things would fall together immediately, and I’d be set. HA! Looking back, that was such a ridiculous thing to think. When things didn’t come together like I’d hoped, I started doubting....and crying. Lots of crying. A lot of young people struggle, because they have this idea that everyone else is doing great and has it together, and they are alone in their confusion. I can’t tell you how many of my friends came to me in those first few months out of college saying, “So and so got a job, and I’m over here with no clue.” A lot of times, the person they were talking about had just came to me telling me they felt in over their head! We ALL struggle. I guess the question is, what are you doing with the struggle? Are you using it to learn and grow, or are you throwing your hands up and sitting down in the feeling of being stuck?
We get stuck feeling like we’re not far enough on our journey. Like we’re not good enough, successful enough, healed enough, pretty enough, young enough, old enough, talented enough, lucky enough….the list goes on. Those feelings are false. YOU ARE ENOUGH! Right here and now, where you are, who you are.
If I feel lost or frustrated, I try to look at where I am through the eyes of a younger version of myself. A 14 year old me would think I am living the dream! I have an incredible, loyal support system of friends in a new city where it doesn’t snow ;). I have performed on stage in front of hundreds of people. I’m recording an album of music that means a lot to me. I have a Chihuahua! Dreams do come true! I heard some great advice, and it goes like this: don’t give up right before the miracle. I can feel the miracles happening beneath the surface, and I’m learning to enjoy the ride before then!
Sure, I’m not where I’m going, but I’m not where I’ve been! I’m taking some time to celebrate that.
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! What do you do when you feel stuck? What are you grateful for? What miracles have you seen?
Peace, love and rockabilly,
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)
Hello out there!
Super pumped to tell you I had my first recording session for the new EP on January 8th! I inadvertently scheduled the first day of recording on Elvis' birthday, so that bodes well, right? ;) I'm recording with Wholehearted Productions. Check out their website here. These guys are phenomenal! They recorded my single "Dangerous Man" for me, and I am always impressed by their ideas and suggestions. They make my music sound great, and they are really dedicated to helping me bring my creative vision to life!
Happy Amanda in the recording studio!
We got a lot done! We were able to lay down my guitar and vocals for two songs and begin tracking some of the percussion and a piano part for one of them. Their neighbors have a pet goat, and I'm not going to lie, I secretly hope that the goat's singing makes an appearance on the album. Haha! We got a little creative with some of the percussion and were pleasantly surprised when a stool gave us a cool sound.
Let's make something awesome!
YOU can be a part of making this EP a reality! I've already received some support, and for that, I am grateful. We are almost halfway to the goal. If you want to, essentially, pre-order the album and get some other exclusive perks, please consider donating to my GoFundMe by following this link.
Peace, love and rockabilly,
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)
Happy New Year, y'all! 2017 has been a wonderful year for this crazy Elvis fan! I’ve hit some important Elvis milestones and enjoyed some beautiful times with fellow fans curtesy of my guardian angel. My other post was about all the other highlights of this year, and this one is dedicated solely to The Memphis Flash himself.
My birthday is in February, and I decided that I wanted to celebrate this year in Memphis and Tupelo. I’d already been to Graceland twice, but you can never see it too much, am I right? They have daily walk-up hours to the Meditation Garden where Elvis is buried, and I spent the morning of my birthday in some peace and quiet with him.
My friend Kristi and I also did a mansion tour. It was her first time at Graceland, and I was excited to share it with her!
We also got to eat at the Arcade Restaurant, one of Elvis’ former hangouts. The above photo is me at the Arcade Restaurant. I was a little bit excited.
Kristi had to leave to catch a flight, and I went back to see more of the exhibits at Graceland. I had to go through the mansion again to get to one exhibit, and the friendly Graceland staff told me, “Just walk up to the front door and walk in like you own the place!” I was a little overwhelmed by that statement (don’t cry, Amanda), but I did as they said!
My trip continued with a drive to Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was my first time there. They have done a wonderful job honoring Elvis’ life and childhood in Tupelo. At the birthplace complex, they have the house where Elvis was born, his childhood church, several lovely statue tributes, a chapel built by people who knew him and a little lake and nature trail. It was very moving for me to be there, and I was glad that not very many people were around, because I could let my tears flow freely. If a boy born in a shack in Tupelo, Mississippi, can change the world, then I think we all have that potential within us.
Elvis' Birthplace, Tupelo, MS
I attended the Texas Tribute to Elvis Festival in May. It was my first time in Texas, and I had a great time! By chance, I ended up sitting near a group of women from Germany, and they were very surprised to find an American who spoke German. It always fills me up to attend these events and get to spend time with friends I’ve made through Elvis. I was lucky enough to get to go to Elvis Week in Memphis again this year. It was a big year, since it was the 40th Anniversary of Elvis' passing.
Shout out to my adopted grandparents, Bruce (not pictured) and Pat for being my Elvis family!
At Elvis Week, I got to talk to one of my favorite Elvis costars, Laurel Goodwin! She is so fierce.
That's me listening to Laurel Goodwin tell a story about filming Girls! Girls! Girls! with Elvis in Hawaii.
My most special moment of the week was when my friends and I toured the apartment where Elvis and his parents lived when he was in high school. I kissed the wall in Elvis’ room like so many before me, and I played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and sang right there in his room. It was magical!
Once again, I got to travel to Colorado and perform in 3 sold out concerts with Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Cody Ray Slaughter (view his website here). You can watch our duet of “Islands in the Stream” and my solo performance of “Back in the USA” in the videos section of this website. This year, we performed with the David Fontana Band, which is special, because David Fontana is the son of Elvis’ original drummer, DJ Fontana. We also had a surprise guest, young Elvis performer Riley Jenkins. I feel honored that I got to stand on stage and sing with these talented people. This job is a complete dream come true, and it’s the closest I’ll ever get to singing live with Elvis on stage. Our concerts raised $48,100 for Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice, and I got to meet some really inspiring Elvis fans!
And my mom got to come to the shows, which was really special for me!
Maybe it sounds silly, but it’s the truth! Elvis has changed my life. Through Elvis, I have met dear friends, heard beautiful stories, sung my heart out and grown into a better version of myself. I am grateful!
Peace, Love and Rock 'n' Roll,
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m looking forward to 2018 and starting a new chapter in my life and music. But before we get there, I’d like to share some gratitude for the beautiful moments, personal and professional, that I’ve had in 2017.
Toward the beginning of this year, I had the most gorgeous photoshoot with Bianca Jeiselle Photography. Check out her stuff here. I still can’t believe it’s me in these pictures! They look so classic.
I was super pumped to see the new Power Rangers movie that came out this year. I LOVE the Power Rangers. LOVE. I’ve actually met the original Red Ranger, Austin St. John, and he’s an incredible person. At first, I was worried about how they would portray the characters I’d grown up with, but my fears were unfounded. The movie is a beautiful testament to diversity, and I think they made the characters very accessible and human. Confession time: I saw it six times in theaters! Whoops!
Me and my friend Jeremiah waiting in line to see Power Rangers
At the last minute, I was asked to play Signe in the musical comedy Church Basement Ladies at the Legacy Theatre in Tyrone, GA. I met a wonderful group of people there (who I forced to see Power Rangers with me), and I got to explore some of Georgia. My dear friend Autumn and I toured the Margret Mitchell House. Margret Mitchell is the author of Gone with the Wind, and I love that book! We stopped at her grave and looked around at the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. We saw a lot of history at the History Center, and we even got to tour a 1920s mansion.
I felt like I was in The Great Gatsby!
Autumn and I also hiked up Kennesaw Mountain and learned about the Civil War battle that happened there. You can still see the earthworks dug by Civil War soldiers. It was moving to see butterflies and cardinals and life happening in a place that once held so much death. We had coffee at a Cat Cafe, too!
I was overwhelmed by the adorable and adoptable cats!
Atlanta is a big city for filming, and it was super fun to tour some of the places where the Walking Dead is filmed with our stage manager, Robbie. And I saw Mike’s house from Stranger Things! The cast of Church Basement Ladies even took a funny picture “morphing” like Power Rangers, and some of the original cast of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers liked it on social media! We are Power Rangers famous. Haha!
I got to be a part of my friend Abigail Cline’s debut cabaret of music she wrote with lyricist Kelly Pekar. It was a magical night! Please check out their work on their website here. You may even want to purchase their album, which was recently released.
It felt like the year of babies! Two cousins and two friends had babies, so naturally, I was crocheting away. New life brings me so much hope for the future. It makes me remember how precious it is to be here. Look at all the cute babies!!!!
This year, I released my first ever music video! If you haven’t already watched it, you can find the link to it on the home page. The song is one I wrote called “Dangerous Man”, and I got to shoot the video with two talented friends of mine, Jeremiah and Fredy. I’m really happy with how it turned out!
A rare moment Jeremiah was able to capture before I burst out laughing!
I’m a big fan of the band R5. Check them out here. Jeremiah and I went to their concert when they came around to Orlando, and it was such a great night! We danced and sang and had the time of our lives. Nights like that always remind me why I’m a performer. I want to give that joyful feeling to people, too. We stayed after the show at the stage door, and I actually got to hug Ross Lynch, the lead singer. It was really special! Everyone else seemed to want to snap their pictures and leave. I just wanted to get a chance to say thank you for an amazing night. Ross stopped to talk to me for several minutes and gave me a hug. Happy, happy Amanda.
Hanksters Hot Rods of Daytona let me stop by to do a photoshoot with their incredible selection of classic cars. I had a ball, and the photos came out great! To see more, check out the photos tab.
I had a fun Halloween with friends! We dressed up and hung out, which was just what I needed. I was Marilyn Monroe as the Pink Power Ranger, and Rosie was Elvis. Teehee!
This year, I was introduced to the band Beemo. They are a local Orlando band, and they play Americana/Bluegrass/Rock music. We teamed up for a gig at Barley and Vine, and I had a great time singing some of my songs and some of theirs with them. It was really exciting for me to hear my music backed by a band, and I have a feeling there will be lots more from us in the new year! Matt in particular has been gleefully learning some old rockabilly tunes on his mandolin, so you never know…
Part of Thanksgiving weekend was spent Christmas tree hunting with my extended family! It was just the thing to get us in the festive spirit. I love spending the holidays with my family, and I’m lucky to be so close to my cousins. Laughter is our specialty!
I know what you’re thinking, “But Amanda, aren’t you a crazy Elvis fan? Where is the info about all the Elvis stuff you did this year?” I’m glad you asked! You won’t be disappointed, because I have an entire post coming that is dedicated solely to my Elvis adventures in 2017! Stay tuned. ;)
Wishing you love and light in the New Year! Let's make it a good one full of bravery, compassion and bad-assery.
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)
Sometimes, life comes around in unexpected and beautiful ways! Last week, I got to reconnect with my high school boyfriend. We haven’t seen each other or spoken in almost 5 years. I’d love to share a little bit of our story with you, since I am inspired by my friend Austin.
We met doing the Drama Club play in high school, and we quickly became close. In many ways, we were an unlikely pairing. I was the “good girl” type. Straight A honors student, daughter of a doctor (my mom, for all of y’all who assumed it was my dad). He was a skater dude with a troubled family life. We saw something in each other that no one else did. External circumstances are trivial when you find someone with a good heart. While I may have seemed to have it all together, I felt lonely, trapped and sad in high school. He made me feel like I belonged there, and we shared so much laughter! I got to go to prom with a date, which I never thought would happen. He taught me that everyone has a story, and no one fits their stereotype. He taught me that our circumstances don’t have to define who we are. Our character, our choices and our hard work belong to us and not our families. He also taught me, and keeps teaching me, that you don't have to listen to the voices of opposition. They are just white noise.
My junior prom, 2012
As with most high school romance, ours ended. The worst part for me was losing a friendship that had come to mean so much to me. But sometimes, people have to leave us in order for us to understand our true power. I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet, how to reach out to my friends for support, how to travel to a foreign country on my own. I had to learn how to stop feeling stuck and start creating the life I wanted for myself. Strange, isn’t it? How heartbreak can be a catalyst for the most transformation in our lives?
Austin is a huge fan of Batman (as you could tell from our prom picture). Recently, something made me rewatch the Dark Knight trilogy. The last time I had seen it was with him. The Dark Knight Rises was coming out, so we had watched the entire series to prepare me. As I watched those movies again, I found myself wondering how he was doing. The weird and wonderful thing about the internet is that you can check up on people you haven’t seen in a while. I found out that he is thriving, which made me so happy to see! He now goes by Ace Austin and is a professional wrestler. If you're into wrestling, you can check out his YouTube channel here.
Promo photo for Ace Austin
I want to always be brave in my relationships. I’m a hold-nothing-back person. So, I sent him a message to tell him I was thinking about him and to wish him well. He wrote back, and so our silence was ended. We got to meet up and talk, and it was heartwarming to have my friend back. He is chasing his dreams, and I am so proud of him. All those happy times we shared can be happy memories again. That is so healing and so exquisite. I can’t even explain. It's refreshing to talk to someone who is so authentic, honest and committed to his values. He was always that way, and I'm glad it didn't change.
Together in Florida, 2017
I share our story for this reason, too many of us let life go by without letting the people we care about know that we love them. Austin told me that he thought about sending me a message many times, but he never did. Imagine if I had not had the courage to reach out. We would have missed each other. A great friend of mine, Jennifer Kathleen (a fellow singer/songwriter - view her webpage here), said to me recently, “Amanda, you will never regret loving another person. You will only regret what you didn’t do, what you didn’t say, who you didn’t love.” Risk your heart, my friends. You are strong enough to stitch it back together. If you’re lucky, like me, the love you put out into the world will find its way back to you in ways you never could have imagined.
I’m going to show you a little bit of my geeky side with this post. Something everyone who knew me in middle school knows is that I LOVE the movie Titanic. LOVE. Favorite movie. I could give you the historical documentary and movie trivia commentary version of it if you wanted to endure 3 hours and 15 minutes of watching it with me. I own the 3 disc collector’s edition. I have a Swarovski crystal replica of the Heart of the Ocean (which I wore on 2 cruises and survived, I might add). I carried a picture of Rose and Jack in my wallet for years to remind myself that true love does exist. My dog is named Rose Dawson. You get it, right? The geekdom is real. My heart will, in fact, go on.
If you are a fellow fan, you’ll know that Titanic has made its way back to the big screen for the 20th anniversary showing. I took myself on a date to see it. It’s been years since I last saw it, and so much has changed in my life since then. These characters feel like old friends to me, as they provided such hope and comfort to me during the formative years of my life when I was questioning everything. What was particularly moving for me about seeing it again at this time in my life was how much my perspective has shifted.
I used to identify so strongly with Rose. I grew up in a small town where I felt trapped and where I felt like I had to edit out the parts of me that I knew people wouldn’t accept - much like Rose is expected to smooth out her rough edges and follow the Edwardian-era status quo. The scene when Jack tracks her down to open his heart to her has always been one of my favorites. I would imagine he was talking to me.
“Jack: Rose, you're no picnic, all right? You're a spoiled little brat, even, but under that, you're the most amazingly, astounding, wonderful girl- woman that I've ever known...
Rose: Jack, I...
Jack: No, let me try and get this out. You're ama- I'm not an idiot, I know how the world works. I've got ten bucks in my pocket, I have no-nothing to offer you and I know that. I understand. But I'm too involved now. You jump, I jump remember? I can't turn away without knowing you'll be all right. That's all that I want.
Rose: Well, I'm fine. I'll be fine…really.
Jack: Really? I don't think so. They've got you trapped, Rose. And you're gonna die if you don't break free. Maybe not right away because you're strong, but sooner or later, that fire that I love about you, Rose...that fire's gonna burn out.
Rose: It's not up to you to save me, Jack.
Jack: You're right. Only you can do that.”
The eye-opening part of watching this scene after going through some major shifts in my life (moving 1,000 miles from where I grew up, graduating from college, living on my own for the first time) is that I no longer related to Rose during this exchange. This means that I don’t feel trapped anymore! Let’s just take a moment to celebrate that victory, because that’s what it is for me! I found myself relating more to Jack’s words. Multiple situations have come up in my life lately where I found myself in Jack’s shoes, staking my heart for those I care about, extending the thought of “you jump, I jump”. We are in this together. It’s pretty awesome to realize that over the years, I’ve shifted from being the person drowning to trying my best to be a lifeguard. Jack puts his hand out to Rose, but she is the only one with the power to take it. He knows this, and he sticks his hand and his heart out anyway. That’s bravery. That’s living in your truth and your power.
Anyway…I also got a chance a few weeks ago to visit the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri. I have wanted to go there since I was 12, so it really was a dream come true! I spent 3 hours reading and looking at everything and soaking it all in. I learned some stories about Titanic passengers that I never knew before. For example, the Behr couple. He actually boarded the ship to pursue her despite her family’s disapproval. Read more about them here. The best part of the museum was the Grand Staircase. They have a full scale replica that you can actually walk on! *sigh* I definitely teared up as I walked up the stairs, because they also play music from the movie in that room. If you ever get the chance to go, DO IT!
Well, thanks to those of you who have stuck it out through my ramblings. Leave your thoughts for me in the comments below! What’s your favorite line from Titanic? Bring up the door thing if you dare, but I have a ready reply. Certain things are sacred to me, people. Don't come for Elvis or Abe Lincoln. Don't come for Titanic. My dog is perfect. Period.
Hugs and true love,
Amanda (and Rosie)
Over Thanksgiving, I got to visit the town where I grew up in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I had a wonderful holiday full of friends and family, and I hope the same was true for you. While I was there, I got to make an appearance on the local TV chancel, BCTV. They've posted the entire 25 minute feature here. I got to play 2 of my original songs and an Elvis song, and my sister, Jessie, got to join me on some harmonies! They also aired my music video for the song "Dangerous Man". Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments!
Lots of love,
Hi friends! I recently hit the studio to record a new single for my forthcoming EP! This one is a bit slower than "Dangerous Man", and it's more of a love song.
I think I have a fascination with people's eyes. It's one of the first things I notice about someone when I like them - romantically or as a friend. Maybe that's because I believe in the saying that "the eyes are the windows to the soul"? Eyes are a theme that come up often in my music. I have another song called "Ocean Eyes", and this new one is called, "Your Brown Eyes". My mom's an eye doctor, so maybe that's where I get it from??? Haha! I'd like to share some photos with you from the recording process. These were all taken by the talented Brandon Ranger.I was lucky enough to work with some really talented students from the Audio and Recording Club at Full Sail University! And the song wouldn't be half as full without the wonderful session musicians who lent me their skills. I worked with Tyler Callahan on electric guitar, Jeremy Brown on drums and Abigail Cline on the upright bass (Heck yeah, we have an upright bass!). Here's a photo of us listening to a playback.When you write a song, it's just you in your room, strumming away your feelings. When you get other people involved, the song starts to have a life of its own. It's a really exciting process to get the input of other creatives! I can't wait to share it with you.Thank you for supporting my music and listening to my stories! There's a whole lot more where this came from.
Hugs and love,
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)
Hey everybody! Glad you found your way onto my music page. I called the blog, "Elvis, Chihuahuas and Power Rangers. Oh my!" because you'll probably be hearing about some of my favorite things as I write and update this page. The blog is a place to get a sneak peek into my world and my thoughts. Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Hugs and Love,
Amanda Lyn (and Rosie)
Here's an adorable pic of Rosie on the beach for you to enjoy! <3