For Amy Thiessen it starts with a voice; fragile with emotion and yet passionate a strong she captivates her audience and transports them into her world. This world is not for the faint of heart as each of Thiessen’s song is a creation brought forward from her soul, intimately and honestly reflecting snapshots of her heart, trials, and joys. “With a confident and graceful stage presence Thiessen will deliver and invite you in for more” (Jodi Lucas TransCanada Alberta Music Series coordianter)
Thiessen began singing when she started to speak. Always passionate about music she spent hours as a toddler listening to the song “Rockin Robin” on repeat. Her passion for singing continued through her youth performing in plays and recitals into her late teens.
In 2005 Thiessen’s dedication to music shifted after she was chosen for the top 100 in Canadian Idol. That same year she discovered folk music and began her journey as a songwriter.
In 2010 Thiessen released her first EP “Tell me” and in 2011 her debut album “Give up the Fight”. She has shared the stage with Ben E King, Lynn Miles, Melanie Doane, and Catherine Maclellan and has had over 600 performances since 2009. In addition Thiessen has toured coast to coast across Canada several times, is featured on rotation on SHAW TV’s room full of sound series, performed for CKUA’s Alberta untapped, and has been featured in a number of media outlets including; CKUA, CBC, several college CFUV, CILU, CKDU, CHMA, CIUT, and CFRB.(charting on)CJSW and CHSR, SHAW TV, Breakfast Television (City TV Calgary, BTV Edmonton, BTV Ottawa, Atlantic CTV, and BTV Winnipeg.
Born in Calgary Alberta, Amy Thiessen was raised on a cattle farm an hour south east of the city. Always walking to her own drum she became a vegetarian at 12 and at 18 took off to Europe to live and work. In 2003 after the death of her sister from cancer Thiessen’s expeditions became more self inquisitive.
Reflected in her songwriting is the wisdom and humanness of a very dynamic woman. Thiessen is a self managed artist with a bachelor in commerce and conservative farm upbringing. Along with music Thiessen has studied extensively in yoga and is a accomplished teacher. Her travels have taken her to study with Buddhist monks in Dharamsala India, to ashrams in Southern India and to study with Ayahuascaros in Peru. The combination of two diverse worlds lends to a grounded and yet broad and compassionate perspective of the world, reflected in both her writing and presence. It also lends to a “world” element in her music indicative of the musical traditions of both India and Peru.
In March 2014 Thiessen will be releasing her latest project, “In Between Goodbyes” a 10 song LP produced and engineered by Russell Broom (Jann Arden, Micheal Bernard Fizgerald). This album showcases both Thiessen's playful nature and depth. The release will be followed by a cross Canada tour. Before she heads back on the road in 2014 Thiessen will be enjoying the musicians in residence program at the Banff Centre for performing arts.
Curtis Glas - vocals & guitar
Russell Broom - Guitar
Jed Tomlinson - Percussion
In Between Goodbyes LP (to release March 2014)
I Hear music EP (2012)
Give up the Fight LP (2011)
Tell me EP (2010)
Thiessen shares the spotlight
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To some it’s a purely selfish pursuit. To others it can be a competitive endeavour. But to Amy Th...To some it’s a purely selfish pursuit. To others it can be a competitive endeavour.
But to Amy Thiessen, the art and act of making music is best when it’s a communal experience.
That’s why at least three hump days a month you’ll find the Calgary singer-songwriter co-hosting the Pussy Willows Wednesday jam at beloved local haunt Mikey’s Juke Joint. She’s one of four local musicians — along with Sarah Vann, Brooke Wylie and Dawn Desmarais — who rotate through the duties of making sure the jammers not only have a little encouragement, but even a little musical backup should they need it.
“If there’s a lot of you, you can help each other out,” says the engaging Thiessen, who also makes room on the stage for other of her struggling artist friends. “If I have some people come to a show and some of my audience sees them and likes them, it’s not like they’re going to like me less. If anything, they’ll probably be happy because they came to my show and they discovered someone new. And vice versa. . . . For me it’s also slightly selfish. I want to learn music and I want learn to support people, so if somebody plays at my gig and I’m like, ‘Well let’s work on you song so I can learn how to support you,’ I’m getting a little less too, which is really nice.”
OK, so maybe it is as mercenary as philanthropic, but the past almost two years she’s been helping others with their craft while also gaining a foothold of her own in the city’s always crowded singer-songwriter scene.
She got a tremendous boost last year with the release of her debut Give Up the Fight, an album made possible through funding from the fine folks at Rawlco Radio, who, as a condition of their licensing, have been responsible for dozens of stellar Alberta roots releases in the past couple of years, as well Amp 90.3, who saw enough talent and promise in Thiessen that they gave her a career development grant. (It’s a similar commitment to local talent as their Rock Star competition, which will hold its finals this Saturday at Mount Royal’s Wyckham House.)
It’s not hard to hear why they’d want to get on-board with the musician, as Give Up the Fight is a lush, dewy folk-pop record that takes its cue from such artists as Bruce Cockburn and Joni Mitchell, while giving it a glossier sheen not unlike, say, Ani DiFranco or even Chantal Kreviazuk.
Along with her vocal and songwriting skills it also, Thiessen says, provides a platform for the positive and spiritual side of who she is as a person. It’s a side she’s been cultivating over the past several years beginning with the death of her sister, which sent her off on a pilgrimage to India and then, later, to South America where she was introduced to the practises of shamanism.
“The whole basis of that album, from the imagery to everything, was taking my two different worlds — which was the more contemporary folk and working with a shaman in Peru — and somehow bridging them. Like saying, ‘Yeah, you can be super spiritual sometimes and you can be pissed off sometimes and that’s all kind of the same thing. It’s not denominational, it’s not saying, ‘You have to believe this way. . . .’ Give up the fight, it’s all OK. There’s nothing wrong with any of this,” she says. “So for this album it was really important to me that it had both elements and I fused them.
Besides, the one-time Canadian Idol contestant notes, artists such as Mumford and Sons, Michael Franti and DiFranco all come from a consciousness-driven place. “A lot of music, period, does,” she says.
When she’s onstage, she still likes to marry her musical and spiritual worlds, as an in-demand yoga instructor, who sweats the class first then soothes and cools them down with the singing of mantras to wrap things up. And as for her own songwriting and instrumental skills, she’s still working on them, taking tips from local craftsman Russ Broom, as well as taking piano and guitar classes — not just for her own career, of course, but for less selfish reasons.
“I don’t want to be that musician who goes up and, I can play my songs, and that’s it. I really want to be able to support people on their music, and I really want to jam with people. That’s the coolest thing about music is that you all of a sudden go into this,” she pauses. “It’s like yoga, except with people, you go to this space and everything opens and you start listening to everybody lets go of their ego and you listen to each other and you play music. Whereas yoga is just you on your mat dealing with your stuff. I like music, because it’s the same thing with more people.”Spotlight
Pussy Willows Wednesdays run Wednesday nights at Mikey’s Juke Joint.
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© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Thiessen+shares+spotlight/6080700/story.html#ixzz1lcxcxK52
Indie 403 featured Artist of the month Amy Thiessen
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Overview Take the term “Singer/Songwriter”, add the divine powers of yoga, and that is where you ...Overview
Take the term “Singer/Songwriter”, add the divine powers of yoga, and that is where you will find Amy Thiessen. She is not your ordinary “Folk singer”, nor is she your ordinary “acoustic singer”. She has given a unique twist to these common terms with her powerful spirit and soul that make her stand out in the all-too-common culture of “Singer/Songwriter” in Calgary. With her debut album titled Give up the Fight, released in 2011, Amy has really given a new insight into the relationship between healing yoga and song. Realizing her two passions and bringing them together has given her musical career in Calgary a kick-start! There will sure be no stopping her from pursuing these passions in life.
The Artist, Influences, & Style
After growing up on a farm outside of Calgary, Amy moved to the city to join in the University life. A degree in Commerce was where she set her focus. Although she valued the education she received in the degree, she soon found herself a bit lost. At 23, she decided that going to university and working in night clubs wasn’t working for her, so she made a great escape to India. Here, she found herself delving into healing work, yoga, and buddhism. This opened a different path for her to follow. No more TV, no more magazines. She had discovered she wanted more. While finishing her degree at university, she had come up with the plan to become a musician. There was only one problem: she didn’t play an instrument. Amy has always been a singer since youth, but it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she started to really hone the craft. After reaching the top 100 in Canadian Idol, she was given the confidence this was a possibility that she wanted to pursue. With the support of her family, friends, teachers and a lot of practice at open mics, Amy soon learned to play the guitar and began writing songs.
Amy has always been a writer. She’s always written lyrics and poetry, and now with her guitar in hand, she fell in love with the “singer/songwriter” folksy music style. She values stripping the music down to hear the intention in the words. After studying with a shaman in Peru, she was introduced to different types of spiritual music and Mantras that affected her in ways that were unexplainable: “[It] was as if the music was a magnet that drew out certain emotions within people”. This is where she truly discovered how much power music really has and that the combination of healing work and music is something that she wanted to share with others.
In her process of song writing, she has found that the art of yoga actually helps her to transcend her thoughts or clear her mind to a space where she can write songs. Being in this healing space helps her to be able to catch the ideas that are coming to her at the time and be able to articulate them into song. She explains: “When I write a song, I face myself. Every time I’m on stage I face myself. I face my fears. I face trying too hard because I’m nervous. I face being afraid and wanting to put something out there. But then there’s that other side of just trusting yourself, just being honest. Being authentic and not putting on a show and just being who you are in front of people. That’s yoga. It’s the same thing, just done in different context.” Making these discoveries, she knew she had found a solid path for herself to follow, and her musical career has been on the move ever since.
Her Debut Album
Give up the Fight encompasses all of Amy’s practices and experiences and shares them to the world through song. It bridges the gap between the spiritual world she lives in and connects it to the people listening. There is a combination of emotionally charged songs and spiritual mantras to make up the album. Give up the Fight is about giving up resistance to what is happening, being wherever you’re at, and trusting the space inside of you. You can buy it at www.amythiessen.com.
In 2011, Amy kept busy. With the release of her album, she toured Canada twice (West in the spring and East in the fall) and hopes to be able to tour at least once a year; however has every intention on staying in the Calgary community. As the music scene continues to grow, she believes that staying in a sweet, nurturing community like Calgary is more beneficial right now than moving to a place with an overwhelming amount of things going on. In the next couple of years, Amy plans to have a solid career as a musician along with the healing yoga work she does and is aiming to play 200 shows a year at folk and yoga festivals. She wants to expand on the idea that art can open you up to something deeper inside yourself and plans to use everything she has gained in life and be able to share with others through workshops and that is why she is Indie403’s Featured Artist of the Month.
Amy Thiessen "Give up the Fight"
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Café shows are a mixed bag. Although acoustic pop and singer-songwriting can always find a home amid...Café shows are a mixed bag. Although acoustic pop and singer-songwriting can always find a home amidst a fireplace and an espresso, it’s rare that a musician will push the limits of their respective genre while still promoting a relaxed atmosphere. But when that gem does come, it makes up for all of those out-of-tune guitars and awkwardly empty shows.
Inglewood-based artist Amy Thiessen fills the role of the innovative café instrumentalist. When she took the stage at the House Coffee Sanctuary a couple of weekends ago, I certainly didn’t expect what she had to offer to the 10 or 15 customers in the shop. Although Thiessen did indeed play an acoustic guitar, she combined it with her jazzy, Feist-like voice, some spiritually reflective lyrics and the occasional beat-boxing that kept the small crowd engrossed.
That creativity is exemplified on her debut album, Give Up the Fight, which was released in April. On it, she records with a number of different musicians — including a saxophone and a trombone player — and manages to produce a pretty funky album. Her background in teaching yoga seeps into the songs as mantras, prayers and lines such as, “I am a daughter of the sun, sister of the moon. Transcended through the womb of supernovas and galaxies that are traced throughout my body like chalk.”
Thiessen’s lyrical honesty and powerful voice deserves a listen. She’s still cementing her sound, but is well on the way.
Amy Thiessen Give up a Fight new CD worth a listen
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Every now and again a great CD comes our way from our many friends in the music industry. This is o...Every now and again a great CD comes our way from our many friends in the music industry. This is one of those CD's. "Give Up The Fight" from Amy Thiessen. A great mix of of well crafted peformances. I am particularily liking track 8 Kali Jai. The title track "Give Up The Fight" has a nice feel showing a clear diversity in Amy's vocal style. But on a whole, it's well produced, written and presented. We've got to give her credit for being self managed too. There's something about retaining your creative control on projects like this.
The CD has been billed as "Soul-fed Folk". In reality it is a very ecclectic mix of pop, rock, world and even R&B. This is her second release, following up a EP released in 2009. in 2010, she booked herself over 200 shows. A momentum which we're hearing will continue for the balance of 2011 with word of a stop over in Victoria. That would be great. Play In Victoria will keep you posted on that once we hear anything.
AMY THIESSEN Give Up The Fight
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AMY THIESSEN Give Up The Fight By Lindsay Wilson Local Calgary artist Amy Thiessen has put her ...AMY THIESSEN
Give Up The Fight
By Lindsay Wilson
Local Calgary artist Amy Thiessen has put her heart and soul into her debut full-length release, Give Up The Fight. The end result? A soul-drenched folk album, woven together with elements of rock, ancient mantras and, of course, Thiessen’s lovely, lilting vocals and honest lyricism.
“'Give up the Fight' is the title track of the album. The inspiration under it is simply recognizing and accepting who we are. Whether joyful or angry the first step to channeling that energy is to accept it,” explains Thiessen.
Intertwining the spiritual realm with music was a natural process for the 28-year-old local artist, whose goal is to invigorate and inspire others about life and the beauty that surrounds it through her two passions: music and yoga.
“I would love for this CD to inspire and move as many people as possible. There is a lot of love and intention in it and I want to share that,” explains Thiessen, who as a yoga teacher by day and singer/songwriter by night embodies terms such as love and intention to her very core.
Inspired by her studies of spirituality and Buddhism in India under the instruction of a Peruvian Shaman, Thiessen took up guitar a few years ago to bring her love for singing to the next level.
Fast forward a few years later and here she is, CD in one hand, guitar in the other, performing her candid observations about life and messages of hope in venues across Canada.
“Tour, play, tour, play, write,” laughs the singer/songwriter.
“I’m touring this spring through Alberta and B.C., and then again through Eastern Canada at the end of August. I hope to play a few festivals this year, but mainly this year is about getting my name and music out there so that next year we can hit the festival circuit.”
With the help of a team of local session musicians and producer Rick Mizzoni, Thiessen has faith that Give Up The Fight will have just what it takes to get her into the folk festival circuit line-up for next year.
After celebrating her debut album with two CD release parties, one that was held at Mikey’s Juke Joint on April 17 and the other at the Ironwood Stage & Grill on April 19, Thiessen is thrilled to be spending the month of May touring throughout B.C.
Concert in the Gallery Production presents Amy Thiessen
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STAFF WRITER Calgary-based singer songwriter, Amy Thiessen takes over the Dawson Creek Art Gallery ...STAFF WRITER
Calgary-based singer songwriter, Amy Thiessen takes over the Dawson Creek Art Gallery Tuesday, Apr. 26 on her CD release tour.
The Concert in the Gallery Production will feature Thiessen’s personal brand of folk music mixed with a wide range of other musical genres from rock to ancient mantras inspired from Thiessen’s visit to India where she developed a love affair for healing work, yoga and Buddhism.
Her independent debut album, Give Up the Fight, pairs spiritual and physical well-being with the divine powers of music.
“If everyone was truly comfortable and happy with themselves, the rest of the world would be symptomatic of that,” says Thiessen on her website.
“Music is my way of connecting to that somehow. I came back from India and started learning to play the guitar as a part of my plan to deliver that essence to people. That work is exemplified in Give Up The Fight.”
Tickets are available at the door. The show starts at 7 p.m.
More information can be found at www.amythiessen.com.
Folk singer finds her spiritual roots
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Folk singer finds her spiritual roots September 23, 2009 By: Lindsay Wilson At the age of 27, s...Folk singer finds her spiritual roots
September 23, 2009
By: Lindsay Wilson
At the age of 27, singer-songwriter Amy Thiessen has developed a spiritual connection not only with music but with life in general — something that most people spend a lifetime searching for.
A certified yoga instructor by day, and performing folk-roots artist by night, Thiessen has found her niche in this world and wants to share her soulful, empowering lyrics with the world.
“I’m in music for the spiritual aspect, and I want to help people connect with themselves better,” said a very grounded Thiessen, who carries a warmth and energy with her that is inspirational on its own.
Thiessen came out to Cochrane’s Blue Dog restaurant in August, and is looking forward to returning Sept. 25-26.
Her journey started in 2005 when Thiessen put together her first band Discourse Poetic while attending the University of Calgary.
Amy Thiessen, a singer/songwriter and certified yoga instructor, has developed a deep spiritual connection with her folk-roots music and the world around her. (Photo by Lindsay Wilson)
She put the band together after trying out for Canadian Idol in 2005, which sent her all the way out to Toronto and back with a strong belief that pursuing music was more than just a possibility — it was a must.
After Discourse Poetic’s time had passed, Thiessen put together a jazz trio called Blue Stranger in 2007. She also joined Calgary’s long-time successful rhythm and blues band Blue Rhino in 2008.
Thiessen continues to play with Blue Stranger, featuring Gerd Krause on guitar and either Pete Fischer or Andre Patterson on horns.
In late 2006, Thiessen decided it was time to pick up a guitar and expand beyond her aspirations as a vocalist to begin writing her own songs — songs that are inspired by her extensive worldly yoga training.
Her motivation is to inspire others to believe in themselves and connect with all that is beautiful in the world.
Thiessen’s ambitious solo journey transpired into her EP release in October last year entitled Tell Me, which features four original songs and has earned her radio play on both CBC and CKUA.
She spent July touring with folk femmes Sidney York and Kaley Bird across Alberta, two women whom Thiessen is reuniting with this November on a cross-Canada tour called Ladies Who Like to Folk.
Thiessen aims to release a full-length CD by the spring of 2010. Pre-purchase of the CD is now available online at
When Thiessen is not touring, she regularly hosts an acoustic open mic at the Oolong Tea House, located in Kensington in Calgary, on Tuesday nights.
It’s something she loves doing as a way of giving back to the music community that has helped her get to where she is today with her music.
“I never thought music was possible,” said an overwhelmed Thiessen, who is particularly grateful to her fellow musicians for supporting her and challenging her musically.
Thiessen will return to the Blue Dog Sept. 25-26 at 7:30 p.m. each night.
For any further details, call the Blue Dog at 403-932-4282.
Sassy trio of ladies who ‘just don’t give a folk’ touring across Alberta
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Ladies that Like to Folk With Kaley Bird, Amy Thiessen, and Sidney York Wednesday, October 28 at 8...Ladies that Like to Folk
With Kaley Bird, Amy Thiessen, and Sidney York
Wednesday, October 28 at 8 p.m.
Jeffrey’s Café (9640–142 St.)
$10 at the door
When one thinks of folk music, images of protest marches and plain-dressed banjo-players singing songs like “Kumbaya” may come to mind. But Sidney York of the Ladies that Like to Folk doesn’t think this image of the genre holds water anymore.
“Folk music has evolved," York says. "Folk music is a musical commentary on life as it is right now.”
York, along with fellow Calgarian Amy Thiessen and Edmontonian Kaley Bird, are all seasoned musicians. Bird released her debut album last year, while York has been teaching classical music for several years, and put out her own debut album earlier this year. Thiessen started out in a jazz trio and has since released a four-song EP, garnering radio play from CBC and CKUA. When these Ladies combine, their varied musical styles create an eclectic kind of folk music for audiences to experience.
“We offer a lot from different genres [...] I know my music borrows from a number of different styles, and Sidney York’s style borrows from jazz. Amy has almost a pop sound,” Bird says.
After meeting each other through a mutual friend, the three women decided to tour the province together, billing themselves as the "Women of Folk," but something about the name didn’t seem quite fitting.
“[It’s] not a bad name, but I think people [who came to the shows] were expecting more traditional, less shaven artists,” Thiessen says.
However, it didn’t take long before inspiration gave the trio an idea for a new name.
“We were in Jasper chatting about this tour and how we needed a new name. We weren’t even talking about that when I said something about us being ‘ladies that like to folk.’ Kaley stopped us right there and was like, ‘That’s it! That’s the name!’ [...] Hopefully this name is a little more edgy, reflecting [the fact that] the music we write is more contemporary,” explains Thiessen.
Now the threesome are preparing for a cross-Canada tour, starting in Edmonton this month, but it hasn’t been all lilies and roses getting this far.
“It’s a lot of work to put a tour together,” Bird says. “[But] we do like each other’s music, and enjoy each other’s company, so that helps.”
“We book our own shows, we do all our own publicity, although we do have our own publicist now,” adds York. “I’m a bit of a tour monster [...] I love to be out on the road.”
Life won’t be slowing down for the Ladies following the tour. Bird’s second album will drop in January, while York will be working on new music videos, and Thiessen will be working on her debut album, to be released in the spring. But none of the Ladies have ruled out the possibility of recording together in the future.
“I love touring with these girls because they inspire me the whole time. Each of us brings a different quality and dynamic and with that I think it offers a richness to the show. Not only that but we get to hang out, and these are two very entertaining women who I just keep enjoying more and more,” Thiessen says.
Set lists will vary depending on shows
Most sets will include songs from "Unrecorded Originals", "Recorded" and "Covers".
Sets at Yoga studios or festivals will also include songs from "Mantra and Spiritual"
Unrecorded originals (many to be on the 2013 release)
1. Fallin Leaves
2. I like you
4. Kiss me
5. Be Still
6. Crumbling Walls
8. Oh Darling
9. Love song
10. You belong
11. Something new
12. Lay me down
Recorded - GIve up the fight 2011
3. Mother Hear us
4. Give up the Fight
5. Strippin it Down
6. Heaven is Waiting
7. In my Head
9. Kali Jai
13. Guidance of Grace
Recorded - Tell me
16. Come Home Soon
18. Tell Me
"Spiritual and Mantra:
1. Gayatri Mantra
2. Ganesh Mantra
3. Om Namah Shivaya
4. May I be Humble
5. Jai Shiva
Hit the road jack
I shall be released
Sitting on the dock
Aint no sunshine
You are the best thing
Into the Mystic
|Dec 31, 2013 Tuesday||10:00 PM||Hotel Arts||Calgary, AB, CA|
|NYE at Hotel ARTS in Calgary|
|Mar 22, 2014 Saturday||8:00 PM||Ironwood Stage & Grill||Calgary, AB, CA|