Canadian songstress Amanda Davids will hit the stage for Canadian Music Week 2013 for the first time in her career and she couldn’t be more excited.
“They get thousands of submissions a year,” Davids said. “It’s a really tough festival to get into. To me it means I’ve reached a level of professionalism to compete as a musician.”
Davids debut concert will consist of a 40 minute set with eight songs at the Courthouse at 27 Adelaide St. W. March 20 at 7 p.m.
According to Davids, she’s been working on her sound during the winter and hopes to bring something “fresh to the festival,” which includes a couple of new songs, one of which is titled The Villain.
Davids is known for her unique sound, created through playing the Hammond organ, the piano and singing with her band member and co-producer Dan “Shai” Mendelsohn, who plays the eight string guitar.
The release of Davids first album Distinguishable inDifference, a five-track groove session, has Davids signature sound stamped all over it; a fusion of jazz, soul, blues and funk.
“I sum it up as urban funk,” Davids said.
Her mélange of sounds gets her the unlikeliest of comparisons from time to time. She’s gotten everything from the ’70s progressive rock-group Emerson, Lake & Palmer to the urban soul of Joss Stone, and even neo-soul sound of The Roots on occasion.
“My inspiration comes from the ’70s and I do take a lot of influence from ’90s hip-hop,” Davids said. “(I have) more urban influences like En Vogue, Lauryn Hill and modern artist Esperanza Spalding.”
The album, released last year and is now available on iTunes, has taken her on a U.K. 2012 tour for 12 days, the 2012 NXNE Festival and the Toronto Blues Society Showcase. And 2013 looks just as promising with her touring to the north eastern parts of the United States, before she graces the stage at Canadian Music Week 2013.
Davids will be joining more than 1,000 artists from all over the world on 60 stages across Toronto over six days beginning March 19. The festival begins with international sensation Rihanna headlining the event at the Air Canada Centre.
“This festival just opens up opportunities to mingle with other artists from all over the world,” Davids said. “To take influence, give influence and share ideas.”
Now in its 31st year, Canadian Music Week is seen as a spring board for artists to launch into the next phase of their career.
Artists like Feist and Broken Social Scene have both graced the stages in years past and have gone on to be commercially successful.
But for Davids performing at the festival is just one aspect she’s looking forward to. The other is all the conferences and networking that goes on when artists aren’t performing.
“It’s a great opportunity to network and learn more about your craft and get new and fresh ideas,” Davids said.
“And as a musician, I mean especially today, you have to constantly be evolving because everything changes so fast.”
But it won’t be all work and no play for Davids. She plans to catch as many shows as she can that week, including The Jessica Stuart Few and Mamabolo from Toronto and Yuichiro Tokuda’s RALYZZDIG from Japan. When Davids isn’t planning out her next career move, she’s busy nurturing the voice and sounds of others through musical education. She currently teaches piano, vocal and song-writing classes out of her home in the Keele Street and Rogers Road area.
“My philosophy on being a musician in general is to continually try to improve the craft and evolve as a musician myself,” Davids said. “And that sort of extends to offering my experience and education to new generations of musicians.”
She has students ranging from children to adults, but the majority of them are teens looking to find their signature voice much like Davids has.
“The type of lessons I offer are more of developing yourself as a musician,” said Davids, which is something she did while attending the University of Toronto and it helped push her to pursue a career in music.
“You see a whole spectrum of people and perspective careers. It just opens you up to new avenues and ideas of what you can do with your life,” Davids said.
She was enrolled in the psychology program at U of T.
“It helps with song writing, believe it or not.”