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Amanda King

Primary Instrument: Vocalist

Born: May 10    

Amanda King

Combining the best of jazz and cabaret by focusing on the words, the music, and the swing, Amanda King masterfully interprets the music she adores. Based in San Francisco and well known to audiences throughout California, she specializes in the glorious music of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. In 2007, her singing career was launched with her one woman show “It's About Damn Time” and has climbed steadily with critically acclaimed shows at some of the finest venues on both coasts.

Amanda is a classic chanteuse who performs little known gems from the 1930’s and 40’s, as well as jazz standards and popular songs from the Great American Songbook. Possessing a smoothness of voice and surety of style, she has been hailed in the New York Times as one of the nightclub world’s “exceptional rising talents”. Combining the best of jazz and cabaret by focusing on the words, the music, and the swing, Amanda masterfully interprets the music she adores....
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*********************************** From The New York Times

“Stately grandeur and youthful intensity: the annual New York Cabaret Convention at the Rose Theater has never lacked for great ladies and refined gentlemen. But as for youth (performers under 50), it has always struggled to forge a credible connection between a nightclub tradition nearly done in by rock ’n’ roll and television and the idea of a future. This year was different. All it takes to demonstrate that somehow or other the tradition goes on is a couple of exceptional rising talents. And at the convention’s opening-night gala on Thursday, two singers ��” T. Oliver Reid and Amanda King ��” leapt out from the pack.”

************************************ From San Francisco Chronicle

“The stakes had been raised exponentially by the time young Bay Area singer Amanda King took the stage at the Hotel Nikko's Rrazz Room on Monday night. That's because she'd recently blown away the audience and the New York Times' Stephen Holden at the Mabel Mercer Foundation's New York Cabaret Convention, which is pretty much the World Series of cabaret.

What King proved on Monday is that she has a deliciously supple voice, capable of gliding easily from a thrumming, oaky and often sultry lower register to a delicately melodic upper tier. Bits and pieces of her 90-minute show may have been uneven, and she wasn't always served well by her backup trio, but there's no question Amanda King is a singer worth watching and, more important, worth hearing.”

*********************************** From San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Amanda King is a young jazz/cabaret artist well on the road to entertainment royalty. She recently brought Bay Area cabaret lovers Forgotten Women, Lost Songs at The RRazz Room, focusing on three women ��” Blanche Calloway, Mildred Bailey and Bea Wayne ��” all pioneers in music and not necessarily just for their gender. King’s radiant presence, sparkling eyes and out- of-this-world smile projects a sincere warmth and true love of her craft, evoking the essence of stars of the 1930-50s while maintaining her own style and heart.

King is a Princess of Swing, zippin’ a tune with spark and vitality that highlights aspects of the song that are rarely noticed, yet truly there. Where others might choose a more languorous approach, King gets to business finding the joyful beat inside. Case in point is her inspired version of “Skylark,” making it her own with an easy driving rhythm, illuminating the song in a fresh new light. Instead of drawn-out longing, King’s version has a joyous anticipation, her heart riding the wings of the titled bird with hope. A successful and personalized approach. Ditto with “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Where others would take a sustained, reserved approach, King swings as she sings this classic, perking the ears up. The audience took a collective lean forward, engaged and enthralled with the surprise take.

Her first song of the evening, however, is “Slap That Bass,” and it gives a full sampler platter of King’s multi-hued palette: rich, full, playful, a love of entertaining and many gifts to offer. “Black Moonlight” shows King’s delicious low notes running along currents of a saturated, healthy midrange, embellished with a smattering of well-placed vibrato shimmering an appropriate light around the mood and lyrics. “Heart & Soul” makes one think of a keyboard duet in beginning piano class when we hear the title, but King gives us a grown-up, jazzy version that choreographic- great Jack Cole would have been inspired by in his time (do a Wikipedia search on Cole to see his influence in entertainment).

In an evening of excellence, of special note is her encore. She returned to the stage, was going to change her selection, then decided to stay with what she rehearsed. Lucky for us. What she does with “Lazy Afternoon” is beyond exquisite. Here, she plays the mood down-tempo, inhabiting the long, luxurious, sensual and sense-filled events of a quiet day meant to be shared. Jaw- droppingly-good, this should be a King signature tune. She transports the audience and sends us off with this melting, luscious melding of artist and song.”

*********************************** From NUVO newsweekly

“Listening and re-listening to the eleven cuts of Amanda King's Chanteuse, one is drawn to the singer's up-beat approach and lyrical line. King delivers whimsy in the soul and depth in the swing. She’s not afraid to put her heart on her sleeve as on “Love for Sale” ��” knowing she might be revealing more than she wants to at this moment in her life. She equally speaks her mind as in the fast stepping “I’m One of God’s Children,” surprising with a pixie ending. And she’s daring, as with the shifting moods of the unusual love song, “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen.” The mix of tempo, styles and degrees of introspection make this an intriguing collection that also includes the upbeat “Stop that Bass,” dreamy “Black Moonlight,” introspective “Makin’ Whoopie,” flirty “Night and Day,” shimmering “Lazy Afternoon,” in a hurry “Got A Lot of Livin’ To Do,” cozying up “What is This Thing Called Love,” and all out “One Note Samba.” Yes, we expect vocal and lyric interpretive growth in succeeding albums, and more of the transformative power that comes across in her live performance, when King is at one with the audience and her band.” ~ Rita Kohn, NUVO Newsweekly

*************************** From Pure Jazz Radio

“Unfortunately, a lot of singers fall into a couple of categories: great voice and no feeling for the material, or, too much feeling and no sound. Let’s not even get into whether they can swing…

I guess if it was easy, everyone would do it.

From listening to 30 seconds of the first cut, “Slap That Bass,”on Amanda King’s new album “Chanteuse’ it is evident that she has it all together.

Amanda, along with her very sharp trio, presents a program of standards, and songs that probably should be standards, with a style that hints that she’s been there and done that….but, still gets a kick out of doing it.

We’re glad to have cuts from Amanda King’s “Chanteuse” on our playlist at Pure Jazz Radio.” ~ Rich Keith, Pure Jazz Radio

**************************************** From an interview in the San Francisco Sentinel

“AMANDA KING was one of the last performers to appear at San Francisco’s once favorite cabaret, the Plush Room, before the doors closed forever in early 2008. The show was a total success. Amanda then went on to record Chanteuse, a collection of popular songs from the ‘30s and ‘40s now referred to as the [Great] American Songbook. This treasured material has Amanda’s name written all over it. Her tone is rich and sexy, her phrasing is smooth, the delivery balances carefree passion with subtle humor. Amanda King is the right girl for the very best in American songwriting.” Seán Martinfield, San Francisco Sentinel

******************************************

From The Berkeley Daily Planet

“Amanda King performs Queenie in a blond wig, exuding lots of stage presence and powerful vocal skills. In the middle of her range she sounds a bit like Ella. She also has a light, full high voice which she uses in her shipboard lament about missing New York, and a low, low voice set way deep in the chest and solid gold in placement. My only complaint was that most of the songs she sang were very short, almost conversational in tone. I longed to hear her sing on, to tell us the story, verse and refrain.” Jaime Robles, Berkeley Daily Planet

********************************** From KQED Radio

“As Queenie Pie, Amanda King brings a commanding stage presence and great physical humor to the role. Her voice is expressive and it's unfortunate that the role doesn't give her more opportunities to show it off.” Rebecca Krouner, KQED Arts & Culture

*********************************** From SF Classical Voice

“...as “Queenie Pie” herself, Amanda King, whose enchanting, mellifluous voice quickly dispels any doubt of the queen’s nobility.” Kwami Coleman, San Francisco Classical Voice

********************************************** From BeyondChron.org

King at The Empire Plush Room was in her perfect element. The singer is a true throwback to the golden days of nightclubs. It was a time when mixoligists mixed drinks during the show. The tinkling of ice and an occasional grinding of ice added to the ambience of being in a secret place. At the Plush Room, things are a little different now. The bar used to be part of the room. It was an exciting time when stars like Charles Pierce, Mabel Mercer and Eartha Kitt dazzled the room. The good news is that Amana King brought back that time and place. It was like the room had morphed back into the glory days of Cabaret.

King got the evening off to a running start with ‘Zoom-Zoom’ (ed. note “Slap That Bass”) “ a Fred Astaire number. Then she eased into a fabulous rendition of “Love Me or Leave Me”-- sung many years ago by Ruth Etting. And as much as I loved Julie London’s rendition of “Cry Me A River” “ I think that King brought to the show a new and vibrant rendering of “River.”

The audience was watching a more seasoned performer on the Plush Room stage. King has found new confidence and her voice has taken on many new horizons. This was never more evident than on “There Was a Boy” [ed note “Nature Boy”] (A Nat King Cole song) and the thrilling “Black Moonlight” was so masterful that I never wanted it to end. The arrangement had enough power to send a rocket to the moon. Another favorite of mine was the once banned song “Love for Sale” (Cole Porter). Why was it banned on the Radio? Here are a couple of lyrics “ “Appetizing Young Love for sale --Who would like to sample my supply?” That’s why it was banned in the 30’s.

King was having a marvelous time on the stage. Her effervesant mother was in the audience as were several of her friends. She joked with the audience about various things. While she was pattering “ she said some people hire a “Patter” coach. I decided to come up with my own.” It worked “ but it wouldn’t hurt to prune it a little.

After more than eighteen songs “ King left the stage singing “Someone to Love”. And you know what? The audience did just that “ LOVED HER! ~ Lee Hartgrave, BeyondChron.org

**************************************** Audience comments on GoldStar

“This singer was a suberb (sic) performer. I expected a louder, brassier voice, and I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Her choice of material was delightful, and her delivery was pitch-perfect. I was SO glad I had taken a chance on this unknown (to me) singer.” p.g. cabaret appreciator (Goldstar online review)

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Chanteuse
Grand Boy Records (2008)

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