Amanda Rheaume
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Amanda Rheaume

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Ottawa Life : Top 25"

Amanda Rheaume Steamy Songstress
While Amanda Rheaume’s musical career alone is enough to put her in Ottawa’s Top 25, the combination of her musical talent and philanthropy makes her a real star. Musically, Amanda has been on the stage of major music events and has opened for many famous acts. She’s even collaborated with some of the industry’s top names including co-writing music with Holly McNarland, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jeff Pearce and Brian Byme. For the past two years, she has toured Canada and the United States as well as performed for Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Dubai and Nunavut. While her music is an eclectic mix of rock and pop, her new album, released this past June and called Light of Another Day, is a return to her folk roots. Rheaume has a big heart. She has raised funds for charities in her hometown here in Ottawa. For the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, she has raised over $30,000.She has been heavily involved in Babes for Breasts, a cause dedicated to helping fight breast cancer across Canada, raising thousands of dollars. - Ottawa Life Magazine

"Child of Lilith Fair Amanda Rheaume comes into her own"

Amanda Rheaume recently released her album, Light of Another Day. (Photo handout)
Amanda Rheaume knew music was her calling by the time she was 16 years old.
Granted, sharing the stage with the Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan during the 1999 incarnation of Lilith Fair may have influenced her decision.
“That was the thing that catapulted me into knowing this was what I wanted to do,” says Rheaume, whose aunt was a production coordinator on the tour.
“I met a whole bunch of the ladies backstage (at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre.) It was such a community built show. Everyone played on everyone else's stuff and they were really open in saying, 'Why don't you come out and sing a tune with us?’ That feeling of being on stage with them and performing in front of so many people, it was amazing.”
The Ottawa singer-songwriter is currently on the road with her debut album, Light of Another Day.
The acoustic folk/country CD is the culmination of more than a decade of working on her songwriting skills and coming to terms with a singing voice she wasn’t fully comfortable with.
She says releasing four EPs and honing her performing chops before recording a full-length album also allowed her pinpoint exactly what she wanted to present to audiences on her debut.
“I'm kind of grateful for that, because I learned so much over the years,” says Rheaume, who performs Friday at the Ironwood Stage in Inglewood.
“I can't imagine going into the studio for the very first time and doing a full record.
I just had a lot of perspective and experience in a lot of studios already. It's a lot easier to make better decisions for yourself.”
Another reason it’s taken Rheaume so long to release a full-length is simple finances. But after winning a $40,000 Ottawa radio contest in 2008, Rheaume had enough backing to take the time and use the resources she needed to make the album she wanted.
But music hasn’t been a completely smooth road for Rheaume, who admits she’s been discouraged more than a few times along the way.
She addressed those feelings on a couple of Light of Another Day tracks, specifically the pretty country-tinged Better Days Ahead, which she wrote for her touring musician friends.
“It’s about how things can get really hard and you will ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this? I must be insane,’” she says. “I'm thinking that less and less these days.”
Despite the ups and downs that come with being a touring musician, Rheaume knows she has plenty to be thankful for – Especially visiting Afghanistan twice in recent years.
“This last time I went it was a big celebration,” says Rheaume, who performed for Canadian troops in July alongside Rick Mercer and Mike ‘Bubbles’ Smith.
“But one of the first things they said when we got there is that they were getting rocket attacks almost every day. You’re like, ‘Oh yeah, people are bombing each other here.'
There was some freaky stuff for sure.” - Calgary Sun

"COOKE: Rheaume shines light on everyday struggles"

If there’s one thing to learn from being in the music business, it’s if you don’t have a sense of humour, you’re sunk.
Ottawa singer Amanda Rheaume has a healthy attitude about the path she has taken to become the songwriter she is now, and has learned to laugh when her early rock ’n’ roll days surface via Google, particularly a posed photo of her in a black minidress, wielding an electric guitar on the dark streets of our nation’s capital.
“It’s from 2008,” Rheaume explains over the phone from home before her Maritime tour this week.
“That’s not crazy long ago, but that was taken as part of a contest called the Big Money Shot here in Ottawa, which had a grand priz of a quarter-million dollars in development money. That photo is basically the end of my rock band days, and my journey toward a more acoustic sound was borne directly out of that.
“But it’s hilarious to look back at it.”
Now it’s all about earth tones, blue jeans and a well-travelled acoustic guitar, which makes its second trip to the East Coast starting tonight at the Company House in Halifax.
On Friday, Rheaume appears outdoors, on the wharf at East Coast Outfitters ( in Lower Prospect at 8 p.m take the Terence Bay turnoff en route to Peggys Cove — before heading Saturday to Fables cafe in Tatamagouche.
Her latest album, Light of Another Day, is the product of a musical apprenticeship that began when she first appeared on stage as a teenager at the 1999 Lilith Fair in Toronto.
It took a few more years before a career in song truly started percolating for Rheaume, but she says that was the defining moment f her wanting to make music.
“Since then, I have taken quite the path. I was heavily inspired by Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill when it came out, and Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club. Those were huge around that time. That’s where I was living musically, and then I went through the teenage thing of wanting to play electric guitar and be a rock star.
“But then I realized, ‘What am I really saying here as a songwriter?’ I decided to really work on the craft of the song, and to me that meant stripping it down.”
Light of Another Day is the result of working in a more personal style and co-writing with other songwriters such as Holly McNarland, who have pushed Rheaume to be more confessional in her lyrics.
On tunes such as Better Days Ahead and Bread Winning, she sought to reflect the lives of herself and her listeners, and provide some positive reinforcement.
“I’d be in a songwriters circle or at a house concert singing some old love song, and I’d be thinking, ‘I don’t want to sing about this. It just doesn’t resonate with me anymore.’
One of her songs that has received the most attention is Push On, written after the first of three trips to Afghanistan to perform for Canadian troops.
During her first visit, three soldiers were killed just after she arrived, which gave a dark tone to the mission, but led to the compositio inspired by what members of the Armed Forces and their families go through on a daily basis.
When she made her second trip, it was Canada Day 2011, and the impact was much different.
“It was a huge celebration. People were coming in from the field or heading home, and we were celebrating our country. So here I

was doing this show while a group of soldiers were waiting for their flights back to Canada, standing behind the stage with their bags packed.
“Everyone was singing, and I realized this would be the last thing they saw before they left Afghanistan forever. I’ve never seen smil so big in my life.” - Halifax Chronicl

"Amanda Rheaume's trials and tribulations"

Singer focuses on the struggles of aspiring artists

Amanda Rheaume has played across Canada, the United States and in a different world altogether.
Amanda Rheaume bonds with indie artists. Photo credit: Sean Sisk.
The roots-pop singer-songwriter from Ottawa has performed for Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Dubai and Alert, Nunavut. She was first offered a gig overseas in 2009 after playing on the Rideau Canal for New Year's Eve.
"It took me a minute to really think about it, but I was like, 'Yeah.' What an opportunity. Scary, but not everyone gets that opportunity," she said in a phone interview.
Rheaume said it was a big time for her, both as a songwriter and a human being. She said it reminded her that being a singer can mean making a difference.
"I'd read about the war in the paper and all that stuff and I knew what was going on, but getting there was such a different realization," she said.
The effect on her songwriting was instantaneous. Her compositions became less autobiographical over the years and more about telling the stories of others.
Her last album, Light of Another Day, is an acoustic recording about the struggles of aspiring artists - everything from working uninspiring day jobs to cars breaking down.
Her inspiration came after she began touring the country and discovered other independent artists with similar stories.
"I'd go to festivals or I'd go to conferences and we'd all kind of sit around and feel the same way. I was inspired by that. Like, 'Hey, why don't we all band together?'" she said.
Rheaume recalled a time when she was playing in a pub, with a hockey game blaring on the television behind her. She was singing her heart out, while the audience ate chicken wings and cheered on their team.
"It's just the little things that you notice...The trials and tribulations of being a touring artist in a van across Canada," she said.

Saint John Aug. 10, 9 p.m., The Somerset, 229 Churchill Blvd., 674-1667, Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 at the door.?Gagetown Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m., Creek View Restaurant, 38 Tilley Rd., 488-9806, Tickets: $8.


Amanda Rheaume "Light of Another Day" 2011
Amanda Rheaume "Acoustic Christmas" © 2010
Amanda Rheaume "Kiss Me Back" © 2009
Amanda Rheaume "Singles" © 2008
Amanda Rheaume "If You Never Live" © 2007
The Amanda Rheaume Band "Even When" © 2005
Amanda Rheaume "Unravelling..." © 2003



Rheaume is a powerful vocalist with just a touch of grit and an instantly-accessible roots-pop-Americana sound.

Rheaume is not only a regular at local festivals and joints like the Rainbow Bistro, she has also distinguished herself as one of the city’s, if not the country’s, most selflessly giving musicians. She co-organizes Babes4Breasts, a National artist collective raising money for several Breast Cancer charities, produces Ottawa’s Bluebird North songwriter showcases, she recorded a charity Christmas EP for Boys and Girls club of Ottawa – selling 6500 copies just in Ottawa, she donated a dollar from each album sold during her last tour to a fund for the families of military personnel, and she’s even performed for the troops in Afghanistan…three times.

Now, having paid her dues as a grassroots musician-in-the-community, and having cleverly taken her time to develop and refine her sound, and is currently writing for her next album "Strongest Heart" to be released in the summer of 2013. Inspiration for the upcoming album is inspired lyrically with stories of her Metis, Scottish & German heritage, culture and family coupled with an homage to the sonic quality, rhythms and language of her roots.

In 2011 Rheaume released Light of Another Day…a collection of catchy, country-tinged tracks, notable at times for their airy upbeatness and at others for their goose bump-inducing tenderness.

Raised in the capital, Amanda Rheaume began writing songs at 15, inspired by the second-generation “girls with guitars” like Ani DiFranco and Alanis Morissette. A year later, Sarah McLachlan and the Indigo Girls invited Rheaume to perform with them at Lilith Fair at the Molson Amphitheatre, where Rheaume had been hanging out backstage with her production coordinator aunt, Jocelyn Rheaume. Rheaume says that’s when the music business bug bit her, and Lilith’s spirit of musical community has never left her either.

Rheaume has endeared herself to an enormous network of Canadian artists she now considers friends, including well-known names like Chantal Kraviazuk and Holly McNarland, the latter of whom cowrite “Kiss Me Back” for Rheaume’s latest CD.

Rheaume is an instantly-likeable artist both on and off the stage and one whose got the voice, the sound and the songwriting chops to share stages with the best.