Jessica: Amy, it’s such a pleasure to have you in TSM. Thanks so much for doing an interview for the magazine.
Amy: I am so happy to be interviewing with you Jessica. It is so awesome how God brought us together. Thank you from my heart for featuring me in your wonderful magazine!
Jessica: What inspired you to get into music? And at what age did you start singing and writing songs?
Amy: Well, I have always known since I was a small child that I had a passion to sing. When I was in elementary school the school decided to put on a big talent show and I entered the contest! I dressed up in a cute little dress and used some fun props and performed the song “My Favorite Things” from the movie The Sound Of Music. I ended up winning the whole talent contest and that really boosted my self-esteem! I was a shy little girl at the time and did not have much self confidence so winning the contest really meant so much to me. In middle and high school I was in the choir, and in my early years of college I did some musical theatre and even got some small leads, but it wasn’t until I moved to Florida at the age of twenty one that I really decided to pursue music with my whole heart. In Florida I started singing as a praise and worship leader at a church called Living Word Fellowship Church and that is when God really revealed to me that my calling was to sing. The church music leader gave me solos every week and I started seriously training with many voice teachers at that time as well, so that is when I really started to grow as a singer and an artist! Around the age of twenty three is when my songwriting journey began and the Lord started putting original songs in my heart to write and record. In 1998 I recorded my very first original song titled “Flowers In My Garden” with a music producer named Tim Jack! Since then I have written and recorded over twenty original songs, and in 2008 I released my original thirteen song debut album Beautiful Flower of Life.
Jessica: You released your thirteen song debut album called Beautiful Flower of Life in June 2008. Tell us a little bit about this album and why you called the album Beautiful Flower of Life. Are there any songs in particular that stand out as favorites for you personally and why?
Amy: I was beyond happy when my debut album Beautiful Flower of Life was finally released in 2008. I worked really hard on the development of the album. The writing and recording of each one of my original songs was a long process that took several years to complete. In that time period, not only was I training with many different voice teachers, but I was also learning proper recording technique with many different music producers and growing in my songwriting ability. So, I think that is why God had the process take so long! He knew that I needed the proper tools and training to make my debut album the very best. Most of the songs that I have written have been out of my own personal pain and life experiences, or I have been inspired by the lives of others who have touched my heart so deeply that I just had to write a song to express my feelings about it. I am also deeply inspired by God’s beautiful nature, color, love, joy and hope and you will definitely hear that when you listen to each one of my songs. I have to say that my favorite song on my album Beautiful Flower of Life is “Make Me A Butterfly” and that seems to be everybody else’s favorite song of mine too! “Make Me A Butterfly” is not only my favorite song to perform live, but lyrically it is very touching and universally understood by all who listen to it! I wrote the song to bring hope in the midst of a painful situation, and to uplift anyone who is hurting or just needs some inspiration. Since the release of my album thousands of people from all over the world have written me to say how much “Make Me A Butterfly” and so many of my other songs on my album have made such a difference in their lives. When I create a song, it comes from a very deep and honest place in my heart and I want others to be able to relate to the song in a deep way as well! I want my heart to connect with their hearts through the honesty and beauty of my songs!
Jessica: Recently, you’ve released an uplifting dance single called “Walking On The Stars.” Tell us more about this song and the inspiration behind it.
Amy: I wrote my fun and uplifting dance song “Walking On The Stars” from a joyful place in my heart. I created this song to inspire others to reach for their dreams and to never give up! I musically wanted “Walking On The Stars” to be a happy dance song because I lyrically wrote this song from a positive and happy place in my spirit! I think when you create inspirational songs it is always important to have a balance of not only really deep and heartfelt ballad type songs, but you also need to have some really fun and free uptempo songs to spread your positive message as well. Since I released “Walking On The Stars” in April so many people have written me to tell me that the song has really made them dance and smile, and parents are even telling me how much their children love and connect with the song as well! I also wrote “Walking On The Stars” in an uptempo and dance style to cross over and reach a broader and younger fan base. I think it has worked because so many young people and radio stations that play the song tell me that it is a very catchy and fun song and that they love it so much.
Jessica: What’s your process for writing lyrics? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
Amy: Most of the time the lyrics come to me instantly! I am usually inspired by a situation, a person, a life experience at the time that God touches my heart to write a song. It comes so easily to me and out of nowhere most of the time! God often at times gives me the melody line and vision of the direction I should take a song as he is giving me the lyrics as well. I think God has supernaturally given me this songwriting gift because honestly I am not a good speller or writer at all, yet he puts such beautiful song lyrics and song ideas in my heart, so I really need to give him all the glory for my songwriting ability!
Jessica: I know that you’re praised by many national organizations for the healing energy you provide at live concerts. What can fans expect from a live show? And is there something special you do to prepare for a show?
Amy: Well, to be honest with you I get extremely nervous before I have to perform. Thank God I have had so much professional vocal training over the years because I am able to push through my nerves and really do great performances. So many people tell me that I seem so relaxed when I am up on the stage performing, but if they only know what I went through on the inside before a show they would be really surprised. When I perform fans can expect honesty from my heart and that I will give my very best to them with not only my singing voice but with my communication with them and with my heart. I always love to share my heart during my performances and I love to really speak to the audience before I perform each song. When I prepare for a show I do a lot of vocal training, yoga, rest a lot, juice, workout and I do breathing exercises! I also pray before each show and really trust God that he will work though me to touch the audience in a special way! Most of the time when I perform people come up to me afterwards to tell me that my songs and voice have made them cry and that they really connected with my songs! That means more to me than words can express.
Jessica: Who are your major music influences?
Amy: I really love unique music artists that are different and who are not afraid to be honest and expressive with their art. My favorite all time artist and musical influence is Prince. I have loved him and his music since I was a little girl and I hope to meet him one day. I also have been influenced by Celine Dion, Tori Amos, Josh Groban, Bjork, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli, Rich Mullins, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and more. I just love music artists that are not afraid to be themselves and who are creating their art from a real and honest place, regardless of the musical trends of the time.
Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
Amy: What an awesome question Jessica. Well, I feel that I am already making a difference in some small way with my music in the world now. I am passionate about creating music that touches the lives of others and brings them hope. I love inspiring and uplifting people to love, to hope and to dream big. I am heartbroken when people that are different are treated badly and unfairly so it is my mission to spread the love and grace of God to the world and to make people feel that they are important and special no matter if they are different or not! I have a big heart for special needs children, the LBGT community, those with eating disorders, the homeless, the rejected and the hurting! It is my passion to bring love, life and hope to others through my music and through a message of God’s love. Just recently God touched my heart to create a “Walk For Love” event here in Florida. I want to organize this “Walk For Love” event to bring all different types of people together to spread love, hope and grace regardless of their religious background, economic status, race, sexual orientation, etc… We all need to feel like we are special and loved just for who we are. I am also in the middle of working on a new song for my album titled “We All Want To Be Loved” that will also be the theme song for my “Walk For Love” event. Love is so needed in the world today because there are so many people hurting and who feel rejected and alone, and I want people to know they are loved. Love Never Fails!
Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Amy: My favorite all time Bible quote is… “With God All Things Are Possible”
I also love the quotes……..
“Love Never Fails “
“You Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens You.”
“I Am Blessed And Highly Favored Of God.”
“For I Know The Plans I Have For You, Declares The Lord, Plans to Prosper You And Not To Harm You, Plans To Give You Hope And A Future.”
“The Lord is Close To The Brokenhearted And He Heals Those Who Are Crushed In Spirit.”
Faith, Hope, and Love. The Greatest of These Is Love.”
“Man Looks On Outer Appearance, But God Sees The Heart.”
“When Your Heart Is In Your Dreams, No Request Is Too Extreme…When You Wish Upon A Star, Your Dreams Come True.”
“This Is My Quest, To Follow That Star, No Matter How Hopeless, No Matter How Far, To Fight For The Right, Without Question Or Pause,To Be Willing To March Into Hell For A Heavenly Cause.”
Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your music?
Amy: There are several things that I want to share with your readers. First of all, I want to let everybody know that I am currently working on my second album that will be titled Paint Me A Rainbow. I am hoping to have Paint Me A Rainbow released some time in late 2012 early 2013. My new album will consist of about ten or eleven of my new original songs, and I will have a combination of beautiful angelic ballads and uptempo fun dance songs. Also your readers can always visit my official website at www.amybarbera.com to listen to my music and find out new updates on what is going on with me and my music as well. My album Beautiful Flower of Life and some of my newer digital downloads are available for purchase on CD Baby, Itunes and on Amazon.com as well. I also want your readers to know that I am always here for them if they need prayer or encouragement, and they can always contact me through my official website anytime. Twenty years ago I was healed from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, so I also have a passion to help those with eating disorders. If any of your readers are struggling with an eating disorder, or know of someone that is struggling with one I am always here to help in any way that I can.
Jessica: Thanks again for doing this interview, and wish you the best of luck with all you do in the future.
Amy: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for interviewing me! I had so much fun answering each question and sharing my heart with you and your readers. Smile & Laugh my friends!!