Amy Kirkpatrick is a professional songwriter and artist based in Toronto and Los Angeles, with several #1’s in many genres, and over 10 million plays online. She has collaborated with dozens of worldwide acts including Grammy Nominated Andy Moor and Markus Schulz, and has toured with Kaskade, The Crystal Method, Modeselektor, and Digitalism under her old project name of Data Romance which had support from BBC1 and CBC.
Originally from an island on the West Coast of Canada, she runs her own recording and writing business, and writes for Beutiful Magazine. In her spare time she volunteers with homeless youth doing music programs, and enjoys a quiet, healthy home life.
Below, she tells us why she already feels like she’s living the dream and why an ‘organic quality’ in vocals is more important to her than being technically ‘perfect’.
Tell us about your singing journey. How did you get into singing?
I was a classically trained piano player from a very young age, and I think I started to dabble in singing and songwriting when no one was around to listen. At the age of 13 I picked up one of my Dad’s guitars (he’s a musician as well), and started writing songs. The first time I ever played in public was at a high school talent show. Talk about nerve wracking! But after that I began organizing my own shows and playing professionally around town. Not long after that I was playing with a full band, and soon after that I got a record deal out of Los Angeles.
What’s your singing dream? Any major goals?
Every day I get to wake up and write music. That is living the dream as far as I’m concerned. Biggest, craziest dream? To win an Oscar for best song. Major goal? To be happy and have a long term, creatively fulfilling career as a songwriter, and somehow help others in doing so.
What are your upcoming releases?
One of my latest favorites was actually a project on Vocalizr – a cover of Californication. That’s about all I can say for now. Other than that I’m working on an EP personal project that will hopefully be out sometime this coming year.
Is there a particular warm up process you have before recording?
Typically I like to get in the zone by singing along to some of my favorite tracks that have a great range and dynamics. Right now it’s belting out the new Sam Smith. Man, those tracks are great for vocal warmups! Robyn is also another go to. You’ll hear Call Your Girlfriend regularly coming from my studio. I like to be in a positive, calm, and without distractions workspace.
Tell us about your songwriting process – is there a particular way you tackle the topline?
For me, songs channel through (a term I like to use) when I’m in a good headspace, rested, and calm. I really emphasize that last one because I think stress is the worst thing for songwriters and singers, and I do my best work when I’m in a good headspace. I record on the first take and feel out the melodies, sort of mumble lines, freestyle some lyrics, and repeat this process until I really have the bones of a strong topline. Then I sort of sit back and focus on the words. What is the meaning? What am I trying to say? What are the feelings of this track I want to express?
What’s your biggest success to date?
Most recently I had a track reach over 7 Million views. That was a new record for me. I had the #1 Most Stream Trance Track of 2015 for my collaboration with Grammy Nominated Andy Moor and Somna, a track called One Thing About You. A more personal success is someone emailing me to say they’re using that song for their wedding. That’s huge for me, and makes this all worthwhile.
What’s your favourite record that you have performed on?
I have so many that are dear to my heart but I have to say my EP tracks are sort of my babies at the moment, and were so much fun to record. The producers from London flew to LA for a weekend and we were all able to be in the same room together, getting the energy and the mood right for each track. Those were pretty special, and recording them brought up a lot of emotions for me. Writing and recording can very much be like therapy sometimes, and I feel like some magic happened during those takes.
Who would you most like to work with, and why?
I wouldn’t say no if Bjork invited me to her island in Iceland to write a few tracks together. I’ll say that much.
Which artists do you find inspiring? Why?
I’ve been on a big Arcade Fire binge lately. Sohn. Wintersleep. Right now it’s tracks that really dig deep into my emotions and nostalgia. This won’t be a shock coming from a lyricist, but it’s truly the lyrics of a song that I want to get lost in. If you can have me crying on a first listen to your track, my god, tell me your secrets.
Who is your favourite singer? Why?
The first one that pops into my head is a classic: Fiona Apple. I’ve read interviews with her about how she’ll keep one take recordings as the final, and I just love the idea of that. I try to do the same to keep that organic quality there. Being technically ‘perfect’ is great, but I think people are most drawn to authenticity and emotion. Those little moments in the voice of imperfection are what I crave. She has so many of those beautiful moments in her songs.
What’s your guilty pleasure song?
I put on Good For You by Selena Gomez before just about every writing session. It’s just so damn good!
Do you have a home studio? If so, tell us about your setup?
I recently moved into a new space and am still getting it to where I’d like. Wall treatments are up next! But I’m so grateful to have a private studio that I have access to 24/7. I have a simple setup, and it’s more than enough to get great vocals, and have room for piano and guitar practice as well. It’s a really beautiful space with great energy, and I love having others over for co-writing sessions whenever possible.
Do you have a favourite microphone? If so, why?
I’ve tried so many different microphones over the years in different spaces and studios, and I ended up sticking with a Blue Microphone for my space. Beautiful, simple, clean vocals, and I’m happy.
How did you find singing jobs before Vocalizr?
I’ve reached out to so many people over the years and have had a lot of opportunities that way. There are just so many people I want to work with, and I’m not shy to reach out.
Have you made new connections through Vocalizr? Has it opened any doors for you?
Absolutely. It’s enabled me to get in touch with so many people I never would have been able to. I’ve had wonderful experiences, and found a lot of talent on there.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are 3 things you couldn’t live without?
An iced coconut latte, pencil, paper.