Amy Wadge was the talk of the British Country Music Festival this year. If people didn’t know who she was before, they certainly knew her songs as she began to play. An acoustic, stripped back set ensued, she captivated the audience and held them in the palm of her hand as she told the stories behind some of her biggest hits as well as playing some songs that were closest to her heart that hadn’t been heard before by the majority of the room. She gushed to me about how she’d always been a country girl at heart, before country was cool and how she’d never been asked to headline a festival before! But I was keen to find out more about where those songs come from and her successful career both inside and outside of the country genre.
Wadge began her career as a singer-songwriter, an artist herself who loved to write and perform. “I think music found me rather than the other way around,” she begins. “When I was nine years old, my dad gave me a copy of Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. I remember thinking, I want to do that.” For Amy, as soon as she started writing songs at age nine it became her outlet, a place she could escape to. “It was quite therapeutic; I have ADHD, it wasn’t called that back in those days but it was a place that I could put all of my excess energy. My mum used to say to me, if I was in a bad mood, go and write a song. As I got older, it just seemed like madness to me that all my friends didn’t want to do that. I went in a recording studio when I was 11 for the first time, my dad organised it and I just remember thinking, I want to do this for the rest of my life.”
Although for a while Amy was chasing the artist dream, and still occasionally releases music and tours now, much of her career has been focused on writing for other people. “I think truthfully, I did it off and on for about two decades and it’s a very tough industry. When you’re defining your success on whether you have a record deal, or whether you have a song in the charts. Eventually, if it hasn’t happened for you, you get to a point where you either go, I am satisfied with where I am or I’m not. For me I just got to a point where I found it all a bit too much. I wanted to have a child and I have two now, I had a bit of an alcohol problem and a bit of an eating problem and all those things, when I actually looked at it and got some help, the one thing all the way through was that I wasn’t successful.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF MAVERICK AVAILABLE HERE!
Zoe Hodges, Editor