One of our greatest cultural exports from Louisiana the past few years has been a little taste of Cajun, Country and Rock and Roll. I managed to get Amanda Shaw, busy as ever, in between recording and performing to tell us what's been going on in her life. As a cultural ambassador for Louisiana, she has toured the wall bringing a little piece of New Orleans and Louisiana everywhere she goes while constantly growing as a musician.
WYAT: What type of direction are taking this new record?
Shaw: I believe in always just growing each record. You just have to grow a little bit more each time. For me, what's important for my music is to help grow New Orleans roots in different places and represent New Orleans and what we have here, everywhere I go. No matter where I go to, Los Angeles or Nashville. Even here at home, it's time to bring New Orleans, sound or lyrical topics. It's always got to be important to New Orleans. That has to be the core
WYAT: Do you have any New Orleans or Louisiana artist you want to collaborate with the most right now?
Shaw: It's hard to pick one. I'm really just so proud of our music community. There are so many great talents here. There really are so many just awesome people, up and coming and veterans. You can go anywhere, and you can see Grammy Award Winning competitions or cultural Icons and just hanging out just like anybody is. That's the best part of New Orleans.
WYAT: How did you get started playing music?
Shaw: I've always played the violin, since I was four. I would definitely consider myself of a violin player than anything. I really just enjoy making music and sharing it.
WYAT: How did you transition to fiddle?
Shaw: Well, it's not as much of a transition as it is just growth. I think that the classical music is still an important skill to have. I still study the music, I have all the books. I do scales to warm up. I think it's like an athlete, it's important to go in and keep your muscles sharp, do the workouts. It's not just about game day, but important to keeping up. It keeps my music skills sharp to play classical.
WYAT: How has becoming a cultural ambassador to New Orleans affected your career?
Shaw: It's awesome, every time I travel somewhere else, it makes me love New Orleans a little bit more. I really feel like there is any place quite like home. No place has the character or the spirit that our city has. It make me feels proud every time I travel. There are a lot of really great cities that I enjoy visiting. But no other place has my heart and every time I travel, I just fall more in love New Orleans.
WYAT: Anything special about this Jazz Fest performance?
Shaw: Everyone will have to come out to see it. I think that every single one of them is special because it's a very special performance. I play the music, but the chords, the lyrics, but for Jazz Fest it's the audience. They're the one's that really rock that stage.
WYAT: How does the Jazz Fest audience differ from you average audience?
Shaw: I always have so much fun at Jazz Fest because the people who come out to Jazz Fest are really ready and ready to have fun. People who come out are ready to experience other sorts of music from things like the headliners to things you'll probably never see anywhere else, like Cyndi Lauper and Arcade Fire playing together. Those things that happen because the musicians are all there and they can do it all on a whim. The audience is always ready for those types of surprises.
WYAT: Thinking beyond Jazz Fest, what are your plans?
Shaw: Mostly growing as a musician. Where I'm at now and where I'll be a year from now will be completely different. But I'm really excited for each and every day. I have such a wonderful opportunity and I have to thank all my fans for supporting me.