Chicago has been the easiest place to find Amanda and her unique adult-alternative music with a blend of pop, rock, country, indie and soul. She and her band play shows in and around Chicago all the time. In fact, Amanda is lucky enough to have some of the most talented Chicagoan musicians in her band- Brian Chinino (the donkey kong playing the drums), Jorge Flores (the true minority of the group, hailing the full name “Jorge Alejandro Flores Sandoval Hernandez”- can you imagine what that was like in kindergarten?) and Jason Planera (the guy with the tattoos and mohawk on stage right).
The band has played in and around the Midwest, including but not limited to, the Midwest Acoustic Music Festival, Double Door, The Melody Inn, Elbo Room, The (late) Tweeter Center opening for big names like Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies and Jessica Simpson to name a few, The Rave opening for Lifehouse and many Universities, Festivals, Bars and Coffeeshops along the way.
This band has compiled and recorded 4 albums by now and they’re, yet again, working on another. Imagine, since these guys have teamed up, they have attained 4 degrees, survived three big moves, and gained 2 new members of their lives (Brian’s new cats). Any other relationship may have failed by now, but these guys are in love- in love with music. If you come to a show you’ll see how ridiculously talented, entertaining and friendly this band is. Don’t believe me, just look around. They’re going places.
amanda: acoustic guitar, keys, & vocals
brian: drums, percussion
2008- amanda sena, e.p.
2007- "learn to love"
2006- "...only makes me stronger"
2002- "all that i am"
Review from Northeast In-Tune Magazine!
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"What can I call this artist…a guilty pleasure for me at least? I dove right in and Amanda Sena hits..."What can I call this artist…a guilty pleasure for me at least? I dove right in and Amanda Sena hits the note on this one. Not so much pop, but a Vanessa Carlton like singer with lyrics and a sound that holds its own. She has an impressive vocal range with a voice that holds a certain distinction that makes her special. Sena a singer/songwriter from Chicago and now has some of the best new musicians on the scene backing her up. She has opened up for such artists as Jessica Simpson to Alanis Morissette. She’s handled big time arenas and venues but the true test is still to come for this girl. With a new album out and a strong band behind her, this pure voice sounds like she’s knocking on the door. Amanda Senas is doing everything right to make her a household name…only time will tell, a short time that is.
Amanda is able to grasp a few different sounds in her music, which allow her versatile vocal range to send out some powerful waves. I’d describe it, not being the ultimate pop fan, as a musician that I would leave on in the car and sing along to, for myself. I won’t admit any other pop artists (Shakira, maybe a Kelly Clarkson) I listen to on the radio but her catchy words and music make it easy to talk about. That’s when you truly know you’ve got something to work with, when you got classic rock fans belting out your lyrics on their way home. I know you guys out there have done it, don’t be scared we’re family now.
Lets review some music…break it down!!
In a song called “Hurt me now” Sena sings about a love lost and simply realizing its time to end it. “If you’re gonna hurt me hurt me now so I know what’s coming from you.” Strong words and some mature lyrics with this catchy refrain that many can relate to. Honest artist who puts her emotions on the line, now can we give her some love!
“Til January” with Miss Kitty on background vocals in which they share a sweet sound quite pleasing to the ear. She breaks it down at one point in the song where it’s almost at scat level. It got me going and surprised me to say the least. “Happiness never looked so good on her anyway.” Mission accomplished on this note. I’m suggesting you replay that scat part because it’s impressive.
Amanda Senas got a lot of information on her website www.amandasena.com that can help you take a listen and catch some shows. She’s got the talent, and with this band behind her and her vocals to work with she’s taking it to the streets. Take a listen and remember don’t be shy, let the music take control. Amanda Sena has just been heard, and I’m still singing in the car, I ain’t scurred!! Enjoy."
NORTHEAST IN-TUNE MAGAZINE
review of "learn to love"
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Amanda Sena Learn To Love Aemmp 8 out of 10 Band Website So I was driving home in my pick-up ...Amanda Sena
Learn To Love
8 out of 10
So I was driving home in my pick-up truck after a hard day at work. After a double shift of lifting heavy objects and putting rivets into things at the salt mine/steel mill/machine-tool factory, I like nothing more than to curl up... uh, I mean to crash out in my arm chair with a cold beer, a pack of unfiltered Marlboro Reds, and an entire slab of beef. Beer in hand, cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth, and guts packed with digesting cow meat, I flip on the T.V. and watch football, or Nascar, or perhaps a monster truck rally, thinking very manly thoughts all the while.
But last night when I returned home, drenched head-to-toe in the sweat and grime of my manful labor, I found a package waiting for me from Suburban Horror. Opening it up, I discovered "Learn to Love," the latest album from Chicago singer-songwriter, Amanda Sena. Perusing the cover, my lips curled into a disdainful sneer and I muttered something appropriately misogynistic. Having thus girded myself in masculinity, I placed the CD into my stereo and prepared to write the review.
After even just a cursory listen, I could hear that Sena has a style that fits comfortably within the genre of guitar-pop without being a slave to its limitations. There's a dynamism and ambition to her songwriting evident from the opening track, "'Till January," with its rambling mandolin that seems to do its level best to skitter out ahead of the rest of the instruments during the chorus, building towards a rollicking country break-down at the song's end.
I felt momentarily troubled. Rushing from my living room, I ran out to the garage, grabbed my tools, and built a second story to my house, screaming the lyrics to Slayer's entire "Reign in Blood" album while I worked. Exhausted, I returned to my armchair to give the album another listen, confident that I would be able to resist the bouncy melodies and Sena's powerful, pitch-perfect vocals.
But I was wrong. Dead wrong. Before I knew it, I was snagged on the "oh-ohs" in the refrain of "Upstairs." There's real ingenuity in the way that she alters the timing of her lyrics over the strumming of her acoustic guitar. In true pop fashion, the songs tend to center around the timeless themes of love lost and found. I didn't necessarily come away from the album with a deeper insight into the human condition, but Sena manages some clever turns of phrase that once again put her out ahead of many of her contemporaries. One of my favorite lines comes from the title track: "So I wrote myself a poem and it said just how I felt/and I read it to myself at the end/then I wrote myself a song, the same poem with â€˜la la la'/so I can sing it again and again."
"What it's like to Cry" and "Tell Her I Love Her" showcase the harder-rocking side of the band, and while the songs are enjoyable, it's the more subdued tracks that best demonstrate Sena's songwriting talents. The album closes down with the outstanding "Best Kept Secret," a breezy, country-soaked tune replete with finger-snaps, slide guitar, and an absolutely devastating trumpet.
So there you have it, a powerful set of guitar-pop by a talented, up-and-coming songwriter. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and build a car out of dirt.
Review from AROUND THE WAY
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Amanda Sena … Only Makes Me Stronger "I must say that the band Amanda Sena is on a whole new l...Amanda Sena
… Only Makes Me Stronger
"I must say that the band Amanda Sena is on a whole new level of song writing. From great lyrics to perfect drum lines this band comes together as a perfect ten. Not only are the lyrics stronger than a brick wall, but the vocals that they put to their songs are also very powerful. This band should be the next big thing out of Chicago. So if you know anything about good music, then you should go and buy this cd. And if your anywhere near the city of Chicago, then you need to go see this band play a live show. It well blow your mind."
Best track to rock out to: Tell Her I Love Her
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“Quality arrangements on a solid foundation... this is an up and coming talent to watch out for!!” ...“Quality arrangements on a solid foundation... this is an up and coming talent to watch out for!!”
Chicago TV Show
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“A brief glimpse around the Chicago musical landscape will reveal the ambitious Amanda Sena whose el...“A brief glimpse around the Chicago musical landscape will reveal the ambitious Amanda Sena whose electric voice is plugging into the local circuit…”
amanda sena has what it takes
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Review from Dominican University Amanda Sena has what it takes to make it as a musician. She i...Review from Dominican University
Amanda Sena has what it takes to make it as a musician. She is not only talented in a variety of mediums (voice, guitar, piano, and several more in progress), she possesses charisma and discipline of a level well beyond her 19 years.
River Forest’s Dominican University was privileged to witness these qualities when Amanda performed on campus in March 2002 as part of Women’s History Month. Staged in the university’s bustling cyber café during the lunch rush, Amanda captivated over 150 students and faculty members with both her unique covers and original songs. While some up-and-coming performers might panic with such a large audience, this singer-songwriter showed no fear.
Instead, Amanda Sena took the opportunity and ran with it.
For one hour, she remained intently focused on giving the best performance possible. This meant everything from calling the songs, to setting the rhythm, to striking a harmony with her bass accompaniment, to maintaining her pitch, to keeping the audience entranced—all on her own. Both the performance’s many strengths and few weaknesses rested squarely on Amanda’s shoulders, a fact that she accepted with great pride and professionalism.
The students listening to the cyber café reacted positively to her performance. Several purchased her CD and asked for autographs. Others took pictures with Amanda, for “when she becomes famous and goes to the Grammy’s.” Still others asked where they could see her perform next. Everyone on campus talked about that singer-songwriter for days after the performance, many comparing her to Michelle Branch or Jewel.
Undoubtedly, the Dominican community believes she will soon find success as a musician—which is why she has been asked to perform again on campus this March. Campus Climate Committee, the extracurricular organization responsible for bringing Amanda to Dominican, hopes to raise funds so that Amanda can return complete with a 5-member band.
Even if Campus Climate cannot raise the funds, though, Amanda has agreed to perform solo without pay. Indeed her humility and compassion are as astonishing as she places the needs of others before her own. Not only is Amanda a joy to watch, she is a true joy to work with. Having valued the time we spent with this rising star, we look forward to working again with her soon.
-Campus Climate Committee
Under the direction of Dr. Kuzi Knam (708) 524-6952
review of "all that i am"
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Review from Indie-Music.com Artist: Amanda Sena CD: All That I Am Home: Chicago, IL Style:...Review from Indie-Music.com
Artist: Amanda Sena
CD: All That I Am
Home: Chicago, IL
Quote: "The college-age woman's vocals are confident and steady, quite pleasant to hear".
By Les Reynolds
Chicago musician Amanda Sena is a singer songwriter of the pop/folk/rock combo genre whose debut CD of 10 songs is full of potential.
Aah, the bane of singer-songwriters everywhere -- the so-called "critic" or reviewer who has the nerve to say such a thing. And perhaps they've heard it before.
And, perhaps, it could just be true.
What carries this CD is Amanda's voice. The college-age woman's vocals are confident and steady, quite pleasant to hear. The points where she puts a bit more force into it and pushes the edge are when she sounds best. However, there's not enough of that. Of course, that could be a matter of pure taste.
Bottom line -- Amanda sounds great. And with some more time, she will only sound better. And perhaps the rest of it will catch up with her lovely voice.
Instrumentally, it's solid. Not anything to set the world on fire, but it's fine. Melodically, about the same. Lyrically, it is generally not terribly impressive, but, there are splashes of some verbal sparkle here and there.
Amanda sings a lot about the sad side of love (lost) with words like:
"Well I've thought about it and I think we should just be friends." (From "In My Heart"). She also writes "I'm falling, I'm falling, I'm falling for you," in "Falling." Impressed?
she also writes some clever lines and verses in the mix, like this one, from "I'll Be There For You":
"So your one-way street's going wrong..."
And, even better, is a verse from "I'm Alright":
"Inside your broken dream
Are you conformed into the mass parade?
Nightmares frighten me
I shiver when I sleep
And relive the feeling when I'm awake..."
Very somber, but who hasn't felt THAT at one time or another?
Those lines hit their mark. Very cool.
So, Amanda proves she can pen some insightful and clever lines and can reach her audience. She probably "reaches" them in the other tunes -- it just that it seems there could be more variety in ways of saying what she's got to say. It's certainly been done by others.
Amanda's bio sheet bears out her young age (she could be 20 by now) and it stands to reason that if she keeps at it, she will only improve. The old bluesmen call it "mileage" -- the natural process of living and aging. With maturity, Amanda could become quite good in all aspects of her musical endeavors. Hmm... hopefully, the title of this CD isn't a self-fulfilling prophecy, because there is certainly more to Amanda Sena...
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CRITIQUE FROM INDIE 1/25/2004: "Amanda has a wonderful voice... a very touching, joyful expressi...CRITIQUE FROM INDIE 1/25/2004:
"Amanda has a wonderful voice... a very touching, joyful expression of so many emotions are felt in her performance... A HIT ACT! ... Amanda has all the ingredients to become a superstar as famous as Sheryl Crow or any of the famous female acts in the business. I commed you on reaching such a pinnacle of success already in your music."
full band shows average 1 hour-3 hours*
*can also add solo/stripped segment
learn to love
best kept secret
tell her i love her
i just can't pretend
hurt me now
i meant to
heart so on fire
last letter i sent
what it's like to cry
mercy, mercy me
before he cheats
leaving on a jet plane
not an addict
stand by me
best of you
because the night
all for you
hear you me
There are no upcoming dates at this time.