New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
A Surprise #3 Debut on iTunes Singer-Songwriter EP Chart, and #29 Debut on iTunes Singer-Songwriter Album Chart, as Amanda
Kravat's Long Road Back to Music
Business is Warmly Received by Fans and Critics - A Rare 'Second Chance' Story
"If there's any justice, that would be wider stardom for Kravat, whose sense of rigorous wit amidst impossibly gorgeous hooks (not to mention that shock of hair) recalls Aimee Mann. But there's some of Chrissie Hynde's could-give-a-shit toughness, too. Credit for this layered approach probably goes to life choices, which saw her putting aside the music business to raise a family"
Kravat has secured a surprising #3 debut on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter EP Chart, and a #29 debut on iTunes Singer-Songwriter Album Chart, for her Viper EP 'A.K.', available today. Reviewers have praised, "If there's any justice, that would be wider stardom for Kravat, whose sense of rigorous wit amidst impossibly gorgeous hooks (not to mention that shock of hair) recalls Aimee Mann. But there's some of Chrissie Hynde's could-give-a-shit toughness, too. Credit for this layered approach probably goes to life choices, which saw her putting aside the music business to raise a family."
The 10/28 release marks Kravat's return to the music business after a multi-year hiatus. This is a rare 'second chance' music industry story — an established artist who took a trip down the 'major label/pursuit of the big hit' rabbit hole, and has thankfully come out the other side.
In interviews, below, Amanda
chronicles the often rocky road from being signed to Sony in her twenties to having VH-1 film her for an entire year (for a TV show that ended up not airing, really it was what would become 'Reality TV' as we know it today,) to touring with Aerosmith, to having Steven Tyler
sing on one of her albums, to maintaining her sobriety on the road to finally opting out of the industry, having kids and gaining a much-needed sense of grounding and family...she's started fresh...one of the lucky ones...
MEDLEYVILLE.US Interview and Song Premiere. By Chris Junior
FEELING MORE LIKE HERSELF
Kravat resumes music career with new EP
(From Performer Magazine, originally printed via Medleyville.US)
For someone who's had her share of personal and professional setbacks over the past 15-plus years, Amanda
Kravat is quick to laugh when talking about some of those experiences.
She's totally serious, though, about the circumstances that ultimately contributed to the end of her extended hiatus from a music career.
"I was having debilitating panic attacks, and none of the medication or therapy I was offered did any good until I started writing songs again," Kravat says. "I literally felt like I was suffocating. I had no idea that without songwriting, I'm not really myself. I guess painters paint and dancers have to dance, and I kind of didn't realize I actually had to be saying something."
What she has to say musically can be found on the new four-song EP, AK, her first release of any kind since the 2002 solo album Wrong All Day, which followed her stint as the frontwoman for Marry Me Jane.
In summer 1997, things were looking good for Marry Me Jane: The New York rock band, signed to the Sony-affiliated 550 Music
label, was profiled in the July 12, 1997, issue of Billboard magazine in advance of the August release of Tick, the follow-up to MMJ's self-titled 1996 debut.
It was around this same time that VH1 spent about a year filming Marry Me Jane for a series that never aired. Looking back on that experience, Kravat says it was "upsetting for a minute, but also a bit of relief because once the bed is made, you're in it."
She's also relieved that her brief Sony tenure didn't result in stardom: "It was like building a mansion on stilts. I had no foundation. I didn't really know who I was yet. I'll never know what could have happened — I could have ended up as a has-been. I don't think I could have handled that machine at that time."
Following 2002's Wrong All Day, Kravat kept a low profile, participating in a songwriters circle every few years or so when asked. While at home, she wrote songs with her kids but never seriously considered re-emerging as a children's music artist.
Kravat suffered a huge personal blow in early 2008 when her father, longtime concert booker and artist manager Jerry Kravat, died at age 72, sending her into what she describes as a "slow-motion tumble down into a scary place." She emerged from it with the four songs featured on AK, due digitally Oct. 14 via Viper Records, with wider distribution to come in early 2015.
"When I listen to this music, I don't hear myself trying with these songs," Kravat says. "These came out as just writing songs to feel better. Like 'Not Myself Today' was about my panic attacks, so I literally wrote the song without thinking about the end result or whether or not it would be recorded. It just happened."
She did put a lot of thought into studio specifics, choosing to record on two-inch tape — with all of the musicians playing together in a big room — at New York's Magic Shop, where David
Bowie, The Gaslight Anthem
and Arcade Fire
have made albums in recent years.
"I personally like the warmth in tape; all the colors of the rainbow are there," Kravat says. "I guess it's like the difference between hitting a tennis ball coming from one of those machines versus it coming from another person: It just feels different."
Kravat is in the process of putting together a touring band to support the EP. Meanwhile, there have been career-related matters to deal with at home.
"My daughter is nervous," Kravat says. "She said to me, 'Why can't you be normal? I don't want a rock-singer mom with bright red hair. Why can't you look like everybody else's mom?'
"Here I am thinking I would have killed for a cool mother with a nose ring and a tattoo. So I threatened her: 'Hey, you want me to make a kids' record?' She said, 'Fine! Go do rock singing!' "
And with that anecdote, Kravat unleashes a laugh more triumphant than the ones preceding it. — By Chris M. Junior
Sneak Peek Song Premiere
By Nick DeRiso 10/13/14
Kravat starts in a moment of every-dayness, then as "Wouldn't Be This" catches a contemplative groove, she begins crafting a billowing dream of what could be — for herself, and for this song.
"Wouldn't Be This," which advances a new four-song EP called AK from Viper Records , builds with an enveloping power, adding layers of scrumptious pop beauty even as Kravat continues to sharpen the lyric. As pretty as the track can no doubt be, it's not soft. Instead, she's facing things as they are, even as she determinedly begins to clear a path for what will most assuredly come next.
If there's any justice, that would be wider stardom for Kravat, whose sense of rigorous wit amidst impossibly gorgeous hooks (not to mention that shock of hair) recalls Aimee Mann. But there's some of Chrissie Hynde's could-give-a-shit toughness, too. Credit for this layered approach probably goes to life choices, which saw her putting aside the music business to raise a family. This is a song written by someone who's seen life outside of the corner coffee-house bandstand, and it's all the better for those experiences — both good and bad.
AK, mixed by Mark Saunders of David
Bowie and the Cure fame, heralds Amanda
Kravat's next chapter. Due for digital release on October 14, 2014 with national distribution to follow via INgrooves/Fontana in early 2015, the EP is rounded out by "Not Myself Today," "I Could Tell You I Don't Love You" and "Somebody Else is Driving."
HEAR SEE DAILY - Song Review - https://hearseedaily.tumblr.com/post/99384951118/hear-new-music-from-amanda-kravat-the-marry-me
The Marry Me Jane lead singer is back with an EP called 'AK' and a ballad entitled "I Could Tell You I Don't Love You." The only thing disappointing about this song is that it was too long coming. Kravat's voice is as strong as ever. As powerful as her hair is red. The song is simple and direct. And there is a sad clarity to the song that is no less attractive than anything Kravat and MMJ released nearly two decades earlier. I could tell you I don't love it but that would be a lie.
"I'm lucky I get a second chance," Kravat comments. 'AK' marks her return to making music after a multi-year hiatus during which she raised two kids, built a more grounded life, and re-discovered her creative 'voice' -- "I've always thought of myself as an alright enough songwriter...but so much noise always got in the way, either inside my own head or just nearby. Finally I feel like I can get through that haze. I still haven't bought my mother the house I promised her years ago - that would be nice. But if I can make good music for people who want to hear it, and have that music support me and my family, I'd be a happy camper. Success for the sake of fame is not a goal (observing my celebrity friends has taught me that). I've always struggled to find real balance in my tightrope life…feels like I'm closer than I've ever been."
Kravat is a rare blend of insightful, emotional, deep and exuberant, all dolled up to match her bright orange hair. Evoking the lyrical vigor of Aimee Mann, the Pop ear of Sara Bareilles, the confidence of Chrissie Hynde, and the over-the-top style of Steven Tyler, Kravat recorded her Viper Records debut EP 'AK' live-to-2" tape at the famed Magic Shop in NYC.
Kravat's witty and melodic four-song collection suggests glimmers of her heroes Cheap Trick, Neil Finn
and more, and was mixed by Mark Saunders (David Bowie, Shiny Toy Guns, The Cure, Neneh Cherry). Kravat's frenetic opening track 'Not Myself Today' and its wailing crescendo suggest a panic attack/collapse down the rabbit hole; the gorgeous ballad 'I Could Tell You I Don't Love You' is the EP's centerpiece and easily one of the most elegant and memorable love songs to emerge in some time; 'Wouldn't Be This' evokes Semisonic
on a Sunday morning, and 'Somebody Else is Driving' sets "faith in a Higher Power" to an uptempo beat. Viper set its digital release for October 28th, with broader national distribution via INgrooves/Fontana (UMG) set for early 2015.
Interview and Song Premiere
10/6/14, by Michael Ragogna -- huff.to/1s3noMn
A Conversation with Amanda
Mike Ragogna: Amanda, your AK EP showcases quite a few, I'm assuming, influences or artists whose music meant something to you. Is that the case and who are some of your favorites?
seeps in and becomes embedded in our DNA, definitely into mine. I always say if I write something nearly great, it's probably because somebody else wrote it first, whether it's a Stravinsky bit, or a great jazz change. There are only so many notes and the ones in between. As for the songs on AK--yes--so many influences are in here. There's that John Lennon
nod, it's a minor/major chord thing in the verse to "I Could Tell You I Don't Love You"; one of the first bands I ever saw was Cheap Trick, and "Not Myself Today" is certainly in that 1970s, I'm winking at you' mode--"Saturday was Klonopin," etc. Also I really dig New Pornographers, love how they can make pop songs really rock. I hear a little Neil Finn
in "Wouldn't Be This." Also I always wanted to throw in a little octave singing, I loved that about Squeeze, and that's in "Wouldn't Be This" too. TV On The Radio...archetypal indie rock. Chrissie Hynde/The Pretenders. The clenched-fist drama of "I'll Stand By You." Ahh, and the strings on "I Could Tell You I Don't Love You" thanks to Patrick Warren. The strings were producer Max Coyne's suggestion. Remember INXS and those cellos? Not sure if that was Chris Thomas
or INXS' idea. I've always wanted to have a ballad with just the right amount of strings on it. I think we got it just right on this one. So, yeah, if these songs are any good, it's because I let my heroes sneak into the studio...
MR: You raised a couple of kids over the last few years, which put your recording career on hiatus. What motivated you to return to the studio and how did it feel to be back?
AK: My motivation to get my ass in gear was the sudden onset of debilitating, infuriating panic attacks. Diagnosis? A blocked musical artery. I literally felt like I was choking, couldn't leave my apartment. Then I started singing and writing and was revived. Working with a band and being back in the studio felt like diving into the ocean--after escaping a burning building. Being a wife and a mother was and is fulfilling and delicious. But it has nothing to do with standing in front of a kick drum and belting it out. Dancers need to dance, and I guess Amanda
needs to sing. Pardon the cliché, but I actually feel "whole" again. So, I really do see this as the beginning of my "second chance" as they say. But from a more substantive starting point--I've lived a fuller life.
MR: If you compare your last album with this one, what would you say are the ways your music has changed or evolved?
AK: These songs flow more easily, at least to me. I don't hear myself "trying" when I listen to them, they just get to the point. Now that I'm an adult--at least chronologically! And not wrapped up in trying to be "clever" or "sound articulate," I feel an ease, a fluency I never had. That old paralyzing need to please everyone, whether it was radio promoters, A&R people, management, publishers, even family members, became a prison. I like that I can keep it simple, when it works.
MR: How did it come together, the writing and recording, creatively?
AK: "Somebody Else Is Driving": This one was written a while back with Richie Supa. I always liked it and it's fun to play live. So every time I performed it--now and then I'd play a song or two at a songwriter's showcase for BMI, etc.--people kept asking me when I was going to record it, and so we finally did it for AK. And the lyrics certainly describe the way I feel about life today.
"Not Myself Today": My husband was out-of-town for a night and I "took to bed," which is what I call sleeping with my guitar. I used to love that about being on the road and dreadful motel rooms; the only vibrations in the room came from me, the human, the leaky faucet or (ideally) from a guitar string. The bridge to "Not Myself Today" came in the middle of that night, and the next day the rest of the song fell together, kind of as I was playing it for my husband. There's a herky-jerky thing going on in that song that sort of feels like a panic attack, if you know what I mean.
MR: Did any of these recordings invent itself, the recording and writing process almost coming too smoothly?
AK: The lyric "Calibrate The Universe" fell into my mind one night while reading a book to my kids, and the song, "I Could Tell You I Don't Love You," came together the next morning at the piano. Then I met with Max and played it for him, and we added it to the list of songs to track that week. But it usually makes me nervous, if something's "too easy." Ha--I worry that if something sounds really good, with no bells and whistles, with just a vocal and an instrument, that then I'll try too hard, and I'll blow it in the studio. Do you get the feeling I'm a little anxious? The caliber of musicians and producers I get to work with now, I pinch myself, they're monsters with no egos. They keep me in check. No way my band or my producer would let me over-record or over-embellish things these days. We've all done it, and hopefully come out the other side. You know, the best musicians know how to play "space"--meaning nothing. That's the hard part. Any idiot can play too much, it takes a class act to let a pause breathe or expand. Same with singers, I think.
MR: Any problem children on the EP that eventually got sorted out?
AK: I had such trouble with "Not Myself Today," which is an ode to my bout with panic attacks and taking medication, etc. "Saturday was Klonopin, it didn't work like vodka did," was a joke I threw in, like a rough draft. Well, it was true. But I didn't think you could actually say that in a song. Then I remembered that this is me, Amanda
Kravat 2.0 and I actually can say that if I want to, so I just said it.
MR: What are you looking at music career-wise from this point on?
AK: The Amanda
goal? Make music, make music, make music. Knock your socks off, then make some more music. I get the feeling Viper wants to do it the old-fashioned way: develop artists--slow and steady. And so I finally have a real partnership with a label, and that's a new experience for me that I want to cultivate in a meaningful way. I really believe everyone deserves the "second chance" I mentioned earlier, and I aim to work my tail off to see this through. My goal is to make another EP or a full-length album in 2015, get back in front of live audiences, respect the process, and stay on budget. We run a tight ship and we put the money into the music, not into wining and dining. Not yet, at least.
MR: What advice do you have for new artists?
AK: One of the worst things we can do, as humans I think, is bore each other. Happens when you spend too much time staring in the mirror. So why not work with people you can learn from? Listen to Mozart and Prince. Then read other people's gorgeous words, for me, Ondaatje or Colum McCann. Anything really. Just don't let your own voice be the loudest one in your head. And then write a song.
MR: Is there any advice you should have or maybe did follow when you started out?
AK: I finally understand the bit about the journey, not the destination. I blew off my chance to see Nirvana
play in New York because I had a photo shoot the next day and I didn't want to be criticized for looking tired. I was lucky enough to be in Paris four times yet I never insisted that we make time to visit the Louvre. Fear stopped me from enjoying so much of the ridiculously wonderful trip I've been on. I should have done more. As long as drugs and alcohol aren't leading the charge, hell, sleep when you're dead.
MR: Do you feel like a new artist yourself with AK?
AK: Ha! Great question. I feel like a new everything. Yes. I'm back to thinking of music as music, not "product." If someone buys it, spectacular! If they don't? Well, it's only rock 'n roll.
MR: What are the plans for the foreseeable future?
AK: Write, write, write, record, record, record, play, play, play. Upside down and sideways too.
More about Amanda
NY-based songwriter/performer/rocker-chick Kravat is a jack-of-many-trades who has toured with Aerosmith
(opening for the rock legends with her former band Marry Me Jane,) and as she's said, "had a dash of the spotlight in her twenties". Things happened fast: VH-1 spent a year filming Amanda
and her (then) band Marry Me Jane, for a show that never aired, 'Making the Band'. Little
did Kravat know at the time that it was an early version of the 'Reality TV' phenomenon that would saturate American culture in years to follow; Tommy Hilfiger custom-made a line of stage clothing for her; she was cast in movies; Billboard featured her on its cover. It was heady stuff, buzzworthy for sure, even as the band chased the elusive 'hit single'. Yet there was a heartbreaking element to it as well…the TV show you work on for a year doesn't air; the album everyone says is radio-friendly doesn't find its breakthrough song. Amanda
needed to be resilient.
With a cinematic songwriting style, it's not surprising that numerous tracks by Kravat have been featured in motion pictures (including in films starring Ben Stiller, Jill Clayburgh, Sarah Jessica
Parker and more). In fact, one of her ballads, the lush, dramatic "Green (You Can't Touch Me)," caused a bit of an internet stir after it appeared in the closing titles of an independent film, years ago. Fans were so impacted by the song (listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvxfm1c7SqQ ,) that they rented the film (on VHS at the time,) and recorded the track, with overlapping movie dialogue, and posted/shared it online, using the then-cutting-edge service, Limewire. Once on the web, the song took on a life of its own, and ultimately lead Amanda
to release it officially, as part of an indie compilation project.
Kravat released two albums on Sony/550 with her band MMJ, before going solo with her indie debut Wrong All Day (which ranked #1 on five different Amazon charts upon its release.) Critics have said she "recalls the likes of Sheryl Crow, Aimee Mann
and Tori Amos," and over the years she has been featured on the cover of Billboard Magazine, on CNN, in The Village Voice, NY Daily News and scores of other outlets. Recently signed to Indie Rock, Pop and Hip Hop label Viper Records (their first female act,) Kravat looks forward to making a renewed impact with her songwriting in the months and years ahead.
Tour dates will be announced soon.
Twitter: @amanda_kravat https://twitter.com/Amanda_Kravat
Viper Records is distributed via INgrooves/Fontana (UMG).