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Meet Amanda Pascali

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Pascali.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My parents met in Brooklyn, New York in the 1980s as working-class immigrants. My father came to the United States as a refugee from Eastern Europe after he was thrown out of his home country for rebelling against the government. I was born in Queens in 1998 where we lived for a short while after that. As a young girl, I grew up listening to a lot of traditional European music and opera as well as American folk music as my family moved from the Corona and Forrest Hills neighborhoods of Queens to Houston. As I got older, I became fascinated with my family’s controversial history and diaspora and I started writing songs in order to share these stories with others. In 2016, I released a solo EP of these stories in acoustic form and little more than a year later, I started my trio- Amanda Pascali and the Family, which consists of Felix Lyons on the accordion and Addison Freeman on the violin. Nowadays, between breaks in Geology classes at university, I get the opportunity to perform regularly with these talented guys. I have spent the past few months studying, writing songs, and touring Europe solo for the first time as a performer.

Please tell us about your art.
My music is something I call- Immigrant American Folk Music. It’s a term that was born from a feeling I had constantly while growing up. In the words of poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo, it’s the feeling of being “too foreign for here, too foreign for home, and never enough for both.” I spent a lot of time questioning my national identity, asking myself “how I ended up here?” “Do I belong here?” I became a songwriter when the only conclusion I could come to is that I belong here as a messenger. I was born with an inherent duty to listen and put into song the stories of other first-generation Americans as well as my own.

For people who are outside of the immigrant community, my music may seem too political or too overbearing. What I want them to understand is I, just like many other children of immigrants, do not choose to be political. What I want people to take away from my words is that when I write a political song, it comes from the same place as when I write a love song. I am bound to my craft by the one thing that joins love and revolution- great passion. At the root of my music is this great passion. I think that without it, no good art can be created.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
Success to me, is being honest with oneself. Art is a lot like science in that, it is at its best when it is in its truest form. I spent a large part of my childhood thinking that my family was strange, wondering how this strange-ness rubbed off on me, and how I could hide it. The art that I tried to make during this period reflected that. It was dishonest and insincere. It wasn’t until I was exhausted from hiding, that I started singing in different languages, writing about true love, and writing about fear. Success to me, lies in honesty and truth. In my opinion, performing music that is insincere is like standing in front of a room full of people and lying to their faces. If you can’t be honest with yourself or where you come from, your art will always be insincere, and you’ll never be able to be honest with others.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My favorite method of showing people my work is in person. The most important thing for me, is for people to show up. I chose to be a performer and a communicator when I realized I had a real love for people and personal connections. You can find all of my show dates online through a google search or on my website. If you can’t make it to a show, contact me. My previously released, solo EP is available online. My band’s debut full-length album is set to be released on CD, iTunes, and other internet platforms in the winter of 2018.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Luca Della Savia, Şerban Roman, Alejandra Blanco, and Pat Laughrey.

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