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Courtesy of Josh Adams

Amanda Mae generates success with 'Love Again' and Mae-niac Music

Soulful hip-hop singer and MU student has more to say in her songs than typical dance lyrics and moody, lovesick lines.

By Kendyl Kearly | Nov. 1, 2012

Tags: Music

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Amanda Mae has always had a strong voice.

She began singing and recording at the age of 5. Now, the independent singer and songwriter Amanda Mae Wells has performed in St. Louis, Atlanta and Chicago. She has 11,000 followers on Twitter (@ADayInMae) and will release her single “Love Again” on iTunes on Nov. 30. Her first EP will be out by the end of January and she’s performing and hosting a concert Jan. 5 for her afterschool music program for local kids, STEREO.

Wells started out playing at open mic nights with her acoustic guitar when she arrived in Columbia to attend MU. But when local DJs asked her to make music with them, Wells created her own genre of dance music that combined her traditional acoustic sound with hip-hop. Her sound has been described as a female Drake and a mix of Adele and Rihanna, according to her Facebook page.

“I always have something specific to say,” she says of her music. “Not every song has to be pretty. People said, ‘Your first single should be a love song.’ Girls have more in their brains than love! There’s so much more to a woman than that. Like most women, I’m layered. I don’t just think about boys."

Growing up, Amanda says she was inspired by tough, female musicians like Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders.

“I thought they were so strong, so confident," she says. "They weren’t scared of what people would think. And for this, we remember them. I wanted people to remember me like that."

As a result, Wells wants to make use of her talents to set a similar example.

“I’m interested in helping young women reach their goals and dreams, especially those who are less fortunate," she says. "I came from a single-parent family myself and had a strong, female role model in my mother. Unfortunately, not everyone has that."

She hopes to make use of her own recording studio and music company Mae-niac Music in the future to represent young artists, particularly talented women. Wells says she wants Mae-niac Music to be a fully functioning business with merchandise, clothing and a specific brand. She's setting strict goals to get there: within five years, Wells wants to be signed to a label, embark on her first world tour and win a Grammy.

“One of the biggest challenges as a musician is remaining original while being a commercial artist,” Wells says. “I can’t cave to the industry pressures and have to stay true to myself.”

Money is another problem. Amanda says music is one of the most expensive ventures. Her recording studio is industry-standard, and because she’s an independent musician, she doesn’t have an outside source of money though she pays her own bills and business expenses. Wells says she's been making music on a budget since childhood.

"She always has so much going on for as long as I've known her," says Callie Branum, one of Wells' friends. "She puts in so much effort."

With iTunes gearing up to take on Wells' dance-meets-soul sound, it appears that effort and passion is about to seriously pay off.

“Music has always been a way to express myself and be heard,” she says. “I’ve created something special and different, a new genre that is a hybrid mix of acoustic, dance and pop … My music is very unique because I am the only me and I have definitely found my voice."

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