Amanda Perez is blessed. Seldom does an artist come along with the true artistic spirit and vision that Perez possesses. With a hearty helping of smooth R&B, flavored with hints of hip-hop, the songbird pours her soul into writing, producing and delivering timeless American music, time and time again.
Growing up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Amanda developed a passion for music very early in life. She grew up in a musically rich family; her relatives made up the popular musical group The Sombra Chicana USA. Family members remember Amanda playing with her father’s accordion at the age of two, and by age four, she was singing and playing the keyboards by ear. Her early discovery would be the first step on a remarkable musical journey.
Early on, Amanda was inspired by the musical tastes and talents of her older sister Angie, also a singer. “I used to just watch her, singing songs. Her voice was so beautiful and strong. She used to sing to me, and with me. I used to just look at her and think, ‘Wow! She’s amazing!’” Angie and Amanda spent a lot of time listening to the dance music of the day—Chaka Khan and Michael Jackson. Those cherished memories helped shape the little sister into the soulful singer she is today.
At eleven, Amanda and her young siblings and cousins formed The Sombra Chicana Chiquitos, and earned themselves a loyal following. Her passion for performing and dedication to her craft led her to join her junior high and high school choirs. She taught herself to operate her uncle’s recording equipment at his studio, and recorded a five-song demo. In 1999, Amanda got her first true taste of success when she won the “Junior Vocalist of the Year” in the Female Division at the Black Expo in Indianapolis. “It was an honor just to be invited,” Perez recalls. “I was the only Latin performer in the whole thing. My whole family cried. The audience was taking pictures and coming down the aisles to get to the stage. When I saw the crowd’s reaction, I thought, ‘It’s only gonna get better from here.’”
Sadly, it didn’t. Amanda’s blind ambition to succeed in the music industry caused her to turn to the streets for the money to make it happen, and she began selling drugs. For a couple of years, Perez lived the life of a dealer to support her own habit—music. Then, one night she had an epiphany. “I came home real late one night, after having been in the streets all day. I looked at my hands, and I just realized that my hands weren’t made to sell drugs. They were meant for me to make music. And that’s all it took for me. I begged God, I said, ‘God, I don’t want this life. You have given me something special. Please, give me a chance to do it.’” And with that, she never looked back.
God answered her prayers in March 2001, when her hard work was rewarded with her first recording contract under Powerhowse Records. Soon after, she parlayed that into a deal with Universal Records, and released her debut album, Where You At? In 2003, Amanda’s star rose further with the release of her self-titled album under Virgin Records, featuring the hit singles “Angel” and “I Pray.” Her videos were being featured on MTV’s “Total Request Live,” her album sales were impressive, and—most importantly to the singer—she was being given the opportunity to connect with her fans. After nearly a year of constant touring, tragedy struck the Perez family.
In 2004, Amanda’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. At the height of her career, Perez decided to step away from the spotlight to care for her ailing mother. In the next few years, she was able to work on her music sporadically in her home studio, on days when her mother was feeling better. That music would appear on her 2007 album, The Hand of Fate.
In early 2007, prior to the album’s release, the lead single, “Candy Kisses,” began blowing up nationwide.
On September 10, 2007, Amanda’s mother passed away. She described it as the hardest time in her life. “A mother always supports her child, and when she passed away, it was almost like I had nothing. I had to learn to be strong, for me and for my family. It was hard, but I knew that she would always be with me. I knew that God had given me that time with her and that it was all for a reason.” On October 30th of that year—just seven weeks after her mother’s passing—The Hand of Fate hit store shelves.
2012 finds Amanda back in the studio, readying the release of her eagerly-awaited fourth album. As she busies herself with the writing, producing and singing, she is drawing on a lifetime of love, pain and those strong family bonds that have guided her, both musically and emotionally. She has launched a new label, Krazy-A, which she hopes she can one day use to offer other young artists the opportunities with which she has been blessed.
With the same passion and resilience that has guided her career, Amanda Perez is poised and determined to reclaim the spotlight, and again bare her soul and share her stirring songs with her hungry fans.