From the age of four years old, Amanda Penner has written music with her heart on her sleeve. It started with songs about backyard trees and roller coasters, quickly moving on to carefully crafted lyrics about her struggles with mental illnesses and a commentary on the state of the world that is comparable to an unnerving dream you can’t quite shake. Her songs walk across a tightrope, threatening that the end could be near, but with a careful optimism and quiet hope that we’ll make it to the other side safely.
Amanda has touched listeners in intimate coffee shops, all the way to larger festival stages with a voice that alters the very texture of your emotional experience. Her songs have been recognized by the Edmonton Music Awards where she was nominated in 2018 & 2019 for the Rising Star Award and the People’s Choice Award (2019). Amanda was a top 5 finalist for her song “Home” at the Canada 150 Songwriting Contest, a SPIRIT of Vimy finalist for her song “What Would you do”, and is nominated for the Mayor's Celebration of the Arts Awards for the second year in a row.
Amanda’s career was on an upward trajectory in 2020, having just released her first EP titled “Honey & Heartache” and performing at the Canmore Folk Festival at only 17 years old the summer prior. When the world shut down during the global pandemic, Amanda’s hopes for the future started to dwindle. She found herself struggling more with her mental health than she ever had, stocking shelves at a grocery store instead of working on her craft. During the summer of 2020 she played a few socially distanced backyard concerts, but got into a car accident on the way home one afternoon which left her with injured wrists, whiplash and a long recovery period. She took the accident as a sign that music wasn’t meant for her any longer and stopped playing all together.
In 2021, Amanda applied for the Musicians in Residence Program through the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity to get reinspired and was accepted. She felt like she could finally breathe with mountain air and music surrounding her once again. She returned home a month later feeling refreshed, but that didn’t last for long. Once spring hit, her mental health took a turn for the worse yet again as she felt trapped working a job she hated in a city she no longer wanted to live in. She moved into her first apartment last summer with high hopes that things would be different but was hit with that “I have no f*cking idea what I’m doing” feeling that comes with navigating life as a young adult (especially during a pandemic) and struggled with her sense of identity.
At the start of 2022, Amanda started to find her voice again, crafting new songs comparable to poetic journal entries and reflective on her life thus far. Like a bear coming out of hibernation, she is taking tentative steps back into the world with more stories to share and a newfound grace - inviting you, with love, to see what comes next.
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