Life in Atlanta Performing and Breathing Into 40

“Life really does begin at 40.  Up until then you are just doing research.” – Carl Jung

Two days before I turned 40 it hit me, uh yea I’m not getting out of this. It’s happening it’s happening it’s happening. So I’m 40 now.  Yep.  40.  (clears throat) It feels great! (smiling through tears)  All kidding aside, I actually feel f’ing awesome.

Upon reflecting, the last two and a half years have been incredible, enlightening and a crash course in personal growth. Moving to Atlanta was without a doubt the best thing we ever did. This is the new life I sang about in Jekyll and Hyde as Lucy. It happened. We had talked for years about moving out of Indiana simply for a change of environment and to explore a new world together as a couple. We also have intense wanderlust so making the move was satisfying on many levels. Holly has lived in New York City and other great places but I had only lived in Indiana so the idea of moving to another state was important to me.  Challenging yet easy, frustrating yet freeing, this move has shifted our purpose.  I feel like a completely different person these days and I have Holly to thank for that. I know it’s a cliche but I feel like I have really blossomed in Atlanta. Physically, emotionally and mentally. My creativity has even changed. Everything is more colorful, more pronounced. Instead of looking at something and saying “Oh that looks like it would be cool” I grab onto it with both hands to feel it and then choose to hang on or let go. I  feel more fearless here even though I have my moments of panic and reservation, but they don’t last as long. Instead they appear, I deal with them, and then let them go into the atmosphere to hopefully dissipate permanently. But if they return, I’m ready and unwilling to negotiate.

As an update regarding performing and the CD here it is in a nutshell. The CD is still ON however it’s been on hiatus for a time. I’m still in communication with my producer Jeff who has been so incredibly patient and understanding. I operate off of instinct and if my gut is telling me it’s not time I listen. I felt the need to work on myself more than my music let’s put it that way. The muses were visiting once in a while but they also knew I needed room to breathe. It’s been over 3 years since I’ve performed, probably the longest break I’ve ever taken. It was necessary especially after our move to take a step back and reevaluate what I really wanted for myself. I needed to feel what it was like to not have performing be a part of my life for a while. I haven’t done any auditioning here and honestly I really haven’t had the desire. Theater and I have a long history and if it comes back into my life at some point great, but if it doesn’t that’s okay too. She’s giving me space. Whatever performing has in store for me going forward, it will be totally different than anything I’ve ever done before and that’s exhilarating. I’m still a whore for stage lights let’s be clear, but when I step on stage next time I will be creating my own world under lights that I will be designing. So there. I’m still me and I still love performing and the enchantment of the stage but I’m really into letting things happen when the time is right instead of trying to force myself to satisfy an itch that may not be able to be scratched at that moment. My heart is dedicated to my CD however long it takes to create but I will always flirt with theater.

I’ve had feelings that I’ve let people down as a result of not performing recently for some reason. Maybe because that’s a big part of who I was for them and now they don’t know who I am anymore. Seems a little silly yet it doesn’t mean the emotion isn’t valid. As performers we want to please so desperately. That’s what has drastically changed for me. I don’t need to please anyone anymore. I like applause but that was never what motivated me. I like the exhibitionist quality of performing in front of people. I feel like I’m getting away with something. It’s the confrontation that kept me going back again and again. The self-expression was just a bonus but honestly most of it was motivated by being rebellious. I loved being “in your face” and forcing people to look at me and making them deal with me. It’s a powerful feeling. But as I got older it became more about catharsis and letting go of former selves. It was still about confrontation but in a less aggressive way I guess. Don’t get me wrong I still love flaunting my talent at times and being antagonistic to the point where maybe I go too far. To me those things push energy forward and encourage expansion in all its forms. I’ve always felt strongly that one of my purposes in life was to drive energy forward in myself and others. To challenge, to never become complacent and to protest uniformity and normalcy on stage and off. However instead of being young and raw it’s now about maturity and wisdom.  It feels richer and livelier, not as cheap or easy.  I can still be daring and confrontational but the tickets cost more.

I’m 40 now (girl just breathe) and that number alone is something that you hear about but it doesn’t become real until it happens to you. I’m talking about it like a plague, but it’s actually been pretty fantastic. It’s different for women, it just is. Let’s be real. One good thing is, I don’t compare myself to anyone else anymore. Caring about what others think has also taken leave (bye girl bye). The word ADULT is still just a word. Making your own rules is my definition of being an adult now. My wife and I pride ourselves on creating our world by not being careful, and by daring to not only dream but to live out that dream. I love how we find comfort in the same things but leave room for each other to explore personal journeys within the relationship. That’s been so fulfilling especially here in Atlanta. I’ve never felt smarter, more brave or more fearless. Those are the greatest things about turning 40. I’ll take it.

Switching topics, you may or may not have noticed that I’m very active with social media. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the evil trio that haunts me every day is taking up too much of my time. I personally love spouting my opinions whether it’s about politics or personal things but how did I spend my time before these platforms existed? I try to remember and it’s kind of hard actually. I’ve developed my Twitter account in various ways but just know that half of the followers out there are fake, whether they follow me or a celebrity. Don’t get fooled by the number. When my CD project started I campaigned like crazy on Twitter but I also used what I thought was a legitimate marketing service to help me grow my following, adding me to groups and lists, etc. It worked for the most part but then I learned that so many of the followers on Twitter are completely bogus. Personally I don’t take Twitter too seriously or any social media outlet for that matter. I could take the time to find out who’s fake and who’s not but I don’t really care enough at this point to do that. I’ve thought of just shutting it down but I’ve put so much work into it. Plus I genuinely feel that I have a voice and I’m going to use it whether people like it or not. The main purpose originally was to promote my music but as I said before, that was put on hold for a time. As it progresses I’m hoping that it will be used as a marketing tool more than anything else to promote the music and performing or other projects I pursue. But also to simply voice what is inside me these days. Some days it simply helps me to release frustration and to vent. Reading like-minded views is in fact comforting and I think we’re all craving comfort right now. We need to know we’re going to be okay, at least I do. Sometimes other people’s opinions or articles on the state of the world drag me into negativity and I lash out. I just need to liberate this anger somehow. But taking a step back, I need to focus on what makes me happy and this life that I live with my wife. Saying hurtful things feels good in the moment but all too often I find myself going back and deleting comments on Twitter because I don’t want to portray myself as angry or negative. I’m working on it. I still think social media rehab should be a thing.

Holly and I are so grateful and excited about our life in Atlanta. We’ve never been happier or more content.  I love our life and I love everyone in it. Stay tuned. XXOO Amanda

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Real Happy

In the last few years something has become evident to me-what makes me genuinely happy really stands out from what doesn’t.

Looking back at my twenties, which we all do from time to time because of the amazing adventures or just because I miss my 24 year old body, I remember feeling this sense of urgency.  Like if I didn’t get famous really fast or make it to Broadway in the next year or two people would start to see me as a failure or say something like “Aw she had so much promise.  I was really hoping she was going to go to New York and make it big.”  In my twenties I took this as some kind of a warning.  Amanda, you’re running out of time you HAVE to be famous or your talent won’t matter.  Wow, talk about pressure.

The truth is I’ve never craved fame.  I thought I did back then because I was wearing everyone else’s expectation.  The feeling I would get in high school because I was seen as one of the most talented kids was very strange and vague.  I got a lot of attention for my singing and through that was sort of groomed to become a successful performer.  And that meant……moving to New York right?  That’s what you do.  You get the hell out of this town and you go become well known for your talent.  In my young mind that was my path.  In fact it was just lazy thinking and taking the easy way in order to fulfill everyone else’s idea of who I was to become.  I was malleable.  I wish I would’ve taken more time to just think.

Now as a 36 year old woman still performing, working full time  and getting ready to become a recording artist I feel so different about those expectations and the idea of what “success” really means.  It took a long time for my eyes to adjust to the right kind of light.  The kind of light that resonates as true rather than artificial.  You see, I love applause and attention just as much as the next performer.  We all seek validation in some form whether it’s a raise, applause, or simply a wink from a parent.  However, during the last show I did called “Lashes Off” I discovered that I wasn’t doing this for applause.  I was doing this because it’s my form of expression.  The lighting had changed and I had changed it.

Things that make me happy at 36 now have more to do with moments, love and self- awareness.  Whether I’m at work completing a project or thinking about what songs are going to be on my CD I’m aware that I design my happiness.  It has nothing to do with anything external.  It’s all me.  I control that.  Over the last five years I’ve discovered what truly makes me happy and that’s what I go after.  There was no failure.  I didn’t miss out on a thing.  One thing I’ve always prided myself on is being independent and following my gut and that’s what I will continue to do.  Tunnel vision isn’t always a bad thing.

Discovering what makes me happy as an individual really makes all of the hard work worthwhile.  I picture myself panning for gold with one of those sifters, always looking for the obvious shiny stuff and letting the rest fall through.  That’s where I am, always searching for the real deal.  I want REAL.  Anything that doesn’t feel REAL doesn’t get to come to the party.


gold sifter









Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Liberated by “Lashes Off”

Lashes Off-257-(ZF-3264-22428-1-017)

So, I just finished a show called “Lashes Off” here in Indianapolis.  Six performances only.  Let me just start by saying that the idea of playing myself really made me uncomfortable.  In addition to that we were all asked to come up with some personal stories to integrate into the script and yes, the audience would be hearing them live and in person.  At a rehearsal my mouth seemed to open itself and start telling a story about how when I was 20 I auditioned to be a stripper.  Hmm, thanks mouth.  Shit.  Why did I say that out loud?  I think that story had been sitting in my stomach for years and it was now forcing itself out of me whether I was ready or not.

Long story short, I auditioned at a gentleman’s club when I was 20 and at the time I convinced myself that it was liberating.  Yes there is an element of that but the resolve was, I wasn’t in control of anything.  The climax of the monologue I wrote was “And then he touched me.  No one told me that the men were allowed to do that”.  Not only was that a nod to innocence but it was also a moment of waking up and realizing that losing yourself in fantasy and sexual experimentation can take you farther than you might think.  The truth is, I don’t regret a minute of that experience.  I’m actually kind of impressed at how fearless I was.  But what I’m most proud of is my ability to have enough awareness and self-worth to exit stage right.  Yes I tried it once and never went back.  I also mention in my monologue that something that always stayed with me was the kindness of the dancers.  How they were so willing to teach me and possibly protect me from what went on there.  I also had enough awareness to know that any one of these women would cut my throat if I dared steal any attention away from them.

Performing this monologue was one of the powerful moments of my performing career.  I think it cracked open my psyche in a way nothing else has been able to.  In a single spotlight, not able to see faces in the audience I spoke my truth.  I said it.  Out loud.  I’ve never felt that vulnerable on stage and it’s something that will always remain a highlight of my career.  And I did it as myself.  The other women in this show (Erin Cohenour, Deb Mullins and Carol Worcel) made this experience that much more magical.  I felt completely supported and I knew they had my back just as I had theirs.  This show wasn’t about ego or even applause.  It was about speaking personal truth in a way that gave me the audience instant access to our souls.  I now understand why I was so resistant to this process.  🙂

So, my CD process officially starts now that the show is over.  The thought and planning process has been ongoing but now it’s time to get to the good stuff.  We’re discussing doing half original songs and half covers.  I like this idea. “The Amanda Project” will be letting the artist in me have a voice.  I’m just letting her do her thing.  Without fear.





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I want to know what the hell I’m talking about.

So anyone that knows me really well knows my favorite music artist is Tori Amos.  Tori Amos and her husband Mark Hawley are MASTERS at the recording process and I’m fascinated.  I’m going to start reading whatever interviews they’ve given and also just start learning about the different equipment options.  The link to their studio is:

My fascination with Tori Amos started at age 15 and I’ve literally read every interview, watched almost every video clip, read every book, own tons of bootlegs, posters, signed photo, t-shirts, seen her live 6 times, written her letters (in my younger years) and I’ve even put a picture of one of her studio rooms on my visionboard.  Hmmm……

Going into a recording studio is exciting but it also felt a little like standing in an operating room and someone telling you to perform open heart surgery without any training.  I mean I know how to sing but I’m pretty green when it comes to the process of recording a CD. So I’m going to start educating myself, and of course listening to whatever anyone wants to teach me.  In other words, I want to know what the hell I’m talking about when I get there.  I don’t want to have to trust whatever everyone is telling me.  That would drive me crazy.

I can see myself recording in this room can’t you?

Tori Amos studio


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sunshine through a Storm

I hadn’t been to see her for a while but I went to see my therapist yesterday, just because there is too much going on at once and I’m feeling very overwhelmed.  I needed her to put it all in perspective for me.  And she did.

Soooooo….things seem to be looking up.  My Granny is actually improving to everyone’s amazement.  She is entering a rehab facility as soon as this weekend.  I got to have a conversation with her and hear her tell me she loves me.  The cancer isn’t as bad as they thought.  Just a small growth in her throat and it has NOT advanced.  Her lungs continue to get stronger also.  For the next three weeks the rehab will get her as strong as possible and then a six-week round of radiation is a possibility.  She has a long way to go but I’m so grateful she’s getting to a better place.  Thank you to everyone who kept her in their thoughts.  🙂

So today I’ve been learning music for “Lashes Off” this August.  The dates are:

August 17- 7:30pm
August 18- 9:00pm
August 19- 6:00pm
August 23- 10:30pm
August 24- 9:00pm
August 25 1:30pm

We will be performing at Theatre on the Square downtown Indianapolis on Massachusetts Avenue.  I get to sing a fabulous Barbra Streisand Esque solo so of course I’m excited.

The CD process is still coming along.  Steve Murphy, my arranger, has been working hard on a few songs to get ready to send to The Lodge.  I cannot wait to get into that studio and tear some shit up.  I’ve literally having to hold my vocal chords back from jumping out of my throat.  What?


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sad Inspiration

Not to be a total downer, but it’s a tough time.  My Grandmother, Helen is in the hospital fighting for her life.  It feels wrong to even mention recording a CD right now but maybe writing about her will help me feel better.  I won’t go into the details but realistically I may have to face losing her sooner than later.  I’m not giving up hope, I’m just really really scared.  She’s always been one of my biggest fans and my heart is breaking at the thought of not having her in my life.  Have I been a good granddaughter?  I could’ve been better.  Did I visit her enough?  I could’ve visited more.  Did I call her enough?  Not even close.  I hope she doesn’t feel like I failed her. Through therapy I have learned that guilt is a useless emotion.  But I still feel it.

I’m spending more time with my family right now and I also start rehearsals soon for the Fringe show.  I can’t bear the thought of moving forward without her in my life.  I’m also feeling the parent/child shift that I’ve always heard about.  Holly has talked to me about that because she’s been through it.  It truly has to be one of the most bizarre, overwhelming emotions I’ve ever felt but at 35 I’m finally strong enough to handle it.  I hope I am.

I will see Granny tomorrow and I’m nervous if I’m being totally honest.  After seeing her on Monday hooked up to all of those machines was an impression that will not be quick to erase itself.  Please be okay Granny.  We need you.  I am forced to face whatever comes but I’m just not willing to let her go yet.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So, I don’t wanna brag but…..I’m makin’ a CD. Well ok I’m RECORDING a CD. Just read this.

So this is me…..

Amanda Lawson

(hold for applause)

My name is Amanda Lawson and I want YOU to follow me along my personal recording journey as I hopefully make what will be musical magic.  Plus you’ll get the chance to watch me slowly unravel and buckle under the immense pressure.  The name of my CD is “The Amanda Project” and I really need you to like that.   It’s a cover album (don’t stop reading) – believe me you’re going to want to hear my voice.  I’m not going to compare myself to anyone because that’s dumb however I will tell you that I’m really fucking good.  I’m not going to tell you what songs I’m recording yet but I will drop hints.  No I won’t, you’re just going to have to wait until it comes out.  (it’ll be cool and hip don’t worry)

I’m 35 years old and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana with my partner Holly.  Yep.

Welcome to my blog and I’m looking forward to documenting this amazing opportunity I’ve been given.  This is what I’ve always wanted to do with my singing so…..make my visionboard really mean something.

I love you.  I mean, I could.  We just met but I think you’re really special.  Okay this is getting awkward.  Anyway, I’ll be recording this Fall and no completion date has been set.  I just want it to be great so I’m gonna take my time.  I’m gonna take OUR time.  🙂

Take care and here we go.  XXOO

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Hello world!

Amanda’s debut CD will be released in 2013. We’ll be sharing more information on this site as the release gets closer.

It’s all happening!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment