It all started when Jagged Little Pill came out. And now, 16 years later, she is an accomplished songwriter in her own right.
Ottawa’s favourite daughter, Amanda Rheaume, is making her way to the North Okanagan.
The singer/songwriter will be playing at Cliff’s Cafe in Enderby with the soulful sound that has earned her recognition in the Ottawa scene.
“I’ve been told I’m kinda like Sheryl Crow, a little Blue Rodeo, kinda acoustic,” said Rheaume. “I’m very much in roots music mode right now.”
And despite not having an iPod, Rheaume is very tapped into the local music culture.
“I am loving the Canadian music scene right now,” she said while discussing the last few CDs she has been listening to on the road. Kevin Breit being the latest one.
Although not from a particularly musical family, Rheaume started her career off as a teenager (she is now 29).
She was 16 years old when Sarah McLachlan and the Indigo Girls invited Rheaume to perform with them at Lilith Fair at the Molson Amphitheatre. It was just a year after she started writing her own songs, a passion Rheaume says started when she heard Alanis Morissette’s iconic Jagged Little Pill album.
It’s been nearly 14 years since she started writing songs, and now Rheaume has come out with her first full length album entitled Light of Another Day.
The album was produced by drummer Ross Murray and features Maple Blues Award-winning harmonica-player Steve Marriner of Monkey Junk on both harp and bass.
“It’s a lot more work than just an EP that’s for sure,” she said.
“It feels like a full book, with chapters. The sound is exactly what I wanted it to be.”
Rheaume, who had quite a bit of studio experience before hand, was very pleased with both the experience and the outcome.
However, at the moment Rheaume is not even thinking about the next album.
“The tour is the part where I get to be inspired,” she said. She drives around the country and writes something down whenever it comes to her. But for the most part she tries to stay in the present.
“I’m away for about four months out of the year,” said Rheaume.
“We put together a duo show,” she said of her recent tour with fellow Canadian musician Marc Charron.
“I’m just so enjoying this tour,” she said. “It’s been a wicked way to tour.”
“It’s a challenge, but it’s a positive one.”
While she’s not songwriting, recording in the studio, or touring around North America, Rheaume also likes to get involved in charity work.
Her Christmas EP for the Boys and Girls Club sold 6,500 copies in Ottawa alone. She also donated a dollar from each album sold during her last tour to a fund for the families of military personnel and she has twice gone to Afghanistan to play for the troops.
“For my first trip, three soldiers had just died. It was a very grim time. The second trip was great. It was a celebration,” she said.
“It was just really awesome.”
Rheaume will be hitting the stage at Cliff’s Cafe alongside Charron on Friday with what they are calling the Maple Roots Tour.
To check out some of her and Charron’s music go to www.maplerootstour.com.