Stockyard Sessions: Amanda Kate Ferris Talks Almost Giving up on Music, Her Success in Texas and More
Amanda Kate Ferris almost gave up on music for good about a decade ago. The daughter of singer-songwriter Kathy Wright, Ferris went to Nashville in her 20s, but after not breaking through, retreated to California.
That move changed her life and her career because while tending to her sick mother in California, Ferris was inspired to give it another go and record songs she had written alongside her.
Since returning to making in music in 2018, her 90s-style flare and has proved to have staying power, especially in the Lone Star State.
“Here I was married with a kid, a baby, and I’m getting to chase this dream again,” she said. “But it’s been a wild ride and Texas has been the No. 1 market for my music always, and so I’m really thankful for the support I’ve had from Texas Country.”
TCC: You were just at the Texas Country Music Awards, tell me about that.
AKF: Yes it was a lot of fun. As musicians we travel so much that its not often we get to be in the same place at the same time so it was really fun to just get to see all my friends and we all just get to celebrate each other.
TCC: I’m so interested in your career, you’ve been all over the map, you’ve been on screen, but what brought you to the top of the Texas Country Music Charts?
AKF: It’s kind of crazy, my story into music has been really unique, because I started really, really young, my mom was a singer/songwriter and so I moved to Nashville in my early 20s and honestly at that time, I didn’t feel like music was going to be something that I was going to get to do. I just felt like the opportunities weren’t coming my way, I ended up moving back to California, and unfortunately we ended up getting some pretty sad news that my mom was really sick and so when my mom got sick with cancer it kind of sparked something in me where I just was like you know what I got to go after this dream, you know I don’t have a lot of time left, and I ended up going back to Nashville, recording music of all the songs I’ve written with my mom, and in this crazy way it like relaunched my career, at a time that I didn’t even think was going to be possible.
TCC: That album, Time, now to have that has got to be really special.
AKF: It is definitely, and when we recorded that I never meant it to be something that I thought a ton of people would even hear because it was just something for my mom. And I wanted to have for my family as kind of a memoir, and so the fact that its kind of out there and I get to have that and my now my daughter, she’s 6 now, that she gets to hear it, it’s really special.
TCC: And since then you’ve seen a lot of success in Texas and all over, talk about your song Pedal Steel and where it landed.
AKF: Yes, so Pedal Steel was a song that was sent to me probably about a couple years ago now, but the first time I heard it, it was written by Mae Estes, Paul Sikes, and Autumn McIntyre, and I was like this is the song like if I can’t have a career in country music with the song then what am I doing. So we ended up sending it to radio and it made it all the way to No. 5 on the charts, it was on he charts for 36 or 38 weeks, something crazy, which is really unheard of. Typically songs don’t stay charting that lon,g. But I’m really happy, I’m happy for country music that they love a song called Pedal Steel.
TCC: Since getting back into music in 2018, that opened some doors and opportunities to play with some pretty big people.
AKF: Yeah, it’s crazy we’ve played for some pretty incredible artists, I mean heroes of mine, you know, we got to do a bunch of shows with Tracy Lawrence, who is amazing. Not only is he just so stinking talented, but his fans were so good to me. Being able to play those shows and then getting to do the meet and greets afterwards and just having people welcome my music and having that where they’re like ‘oh it kind of sounds like the old 90’s country, you know you have that flare,’ and nothing makes me happier than when people kind of associate my music with the 90s.
TCC: Tell me about some of the things you’ve learned from other musicians such as Tracy Lawrence to the Chad Cooke Band and other bands?
AKF: Honestly the biggest thing I’ve taken away is just like stay true to who you are, and you know don’t chase trends. You know. I’ve always said that traditional country is where my voice fits, that’s what I’ve always kind of wanted to be known for, is just the girl that sings country music. But, you look at all these artists, you know, Tracy Lawrence he’s just like stayed the course. He has his lane and he stays there, and so that kind of been my goal, is just to stay true to who you are.
TCC: What are some of your goals in country music?
AKF: Honestly I don’t have huge goals of trying to the next Carrie Underwood I just want a career at this you know, I just want to sing country music until I’m old and gray and be able to support my family doing it.
TCC: You mentioned Carrie Underwood, I know you’ve done a lot of covers of hers which has landed you on a pretty big show.
AKF: So naturally as a country singer, you end up playing covers. When you’re in a bar, you’re in honkytonks, people want to hear cover songs, and we did a lot of Carrie stuff. So before we know it, people were just like ‘hey we should do a tribute.’ Well, a YouTube video landed in the hands of Jimmy Fallon’s executive producer for the TV show and they called me and cast me to sing on Clash of the Cover Bands as Carrie Underwood so it was a really cool and fun opportunity.
TCC: You very much belong in country music following in your mom’s footsteps and now you have a new song as well.
AKF: Yes, Til’ the Day I Die, it’s a really upbeat, fun barn-burner, it’s a really fun up-tempo song about my story, too. Lyrically it tells my story moreso than a lot of the other songs I have out there.