With National Black History month nearly over, we thought we would share the stories of an inspirational Lady and female boss! Here at Shottin we would like to introduce Amanda Evans. The Jamaican DJ, producer and performer is a self-made success in many talents one of which was learning to DJ at the age of just six!
“I started out playing a host of 75’s such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong, those that are now practically extinct! Mostly ranging from Old Blues to West African beats and grooves of the 50’s and 60’s. All this music, born out of Black repression was the seeding ground of my musical influence. I was six years old and held a regular residency at my then home 67 Fairfield, Arlington Road, top floor of an estate in Camden Town, way before it became the trendy, cafe bar deluxe, playground of today. Of course for the original Camden locals, the indigenous tribe of the 60’s and 70’s Camden Town was hard core living, shared amongst mostly Irish, Turkish, Greeks, Jamaicans and Chinese. When I say ‘shared’ I mean that term loosely; mostly they fought turf wars but it was street war with a code…alas the story is different now for the Camden youth of today who fight a much bloodier war.”
“My step father was the late Olu Joseph Odutola. He, known as either Olu or Joseph to his friends, who included Ronnie Scott and many of the Jazz and Blues musicians of the time, had owned two clubs in Soho. The Limbo Club and Club Afrique in Soho were the late night haunts of after hours singers, musicians and actors. He was humble about the infamously famous musicians and singers of the time. Bob Marley visited his club and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were also regulars. So from an early age I truly was a Jazz and Blues baby and was surrounded by legends of the time, although I didn’t know it then! I had no idea of who was in the room of my tiny little two bedroom flat next to the lift on the top floor of Fairfield. I rocked the songs sitting on the floor with a single old turntable in the corner of the room, playing music to the frequent parties.”
“As an only child music was my companion, my soul mate. I spent a lot of time inside my head and loved more than anything else music and dancing and this primed me for the rest of my life. I have been actively involving this in using music to unify and pacify the young people of today. I believe music is healing. Music is uniting. Music is love. I believe this to be true as I have witnessed its affect so many times, especially in my work with the disaffected youth of Camden; women refugees, prisoners and alcohol and substance abuse addicts, as well as domestic violence survivors. My childhood was difficult but I formed a life long partnership with my pen, and a ménage a trois with words and this is what I hope to bring to people today.”
Amanda sells herself simply as a DJ playing ‘music to rock the soul’ and has had a hugely diverse and inspiring journey through her range of various talents that branch off her passion for music; creative journalist, presenter, performer, DJ and professional dancer. Amanda also writes and produces a blog, Bohemian Rhapstory, which follows and explores the tradition and history of spoken word through the ages and traces how it is reflected in our modern times within spoken word slams, rap and poetry with music found on her site www.amanda-evans.com and on her Soundcloud.
“I have always been a writer. Writing is my catharsis. I am now using the power of words and rhymes to inspire my writing, recording with many musicians and composers. I love this work, I love collaboration. For me, the essential centre of all my work, has been, is and always will be music and the telling of stories. My mission is to effect positive change and bring unity between all people”
We asked Amanda about her radio show ‘The Good Evans Show’ which began in hospital radio in Brighton in the UK and became a hit Internet radio show as well as her more recent radio work two radio stations in Skopje, Macedonia; Antenna5FM which is a national radio station and ‘Kanal 103’ FM where Amanda played her old school jungle sets.
“I still play music rooted from my past but I also love new music; positive Hip Hop, ambient Drum and Bass, some Dubstep and of course the new R’n’B. I don’t care; I dare to step out of submitting to only one genre musically, I refuse to be defined by the parameters of any box”
Amanda now spends a lot of time in Macedonia and is working with many talented artists, musicians and DJ’s and working on a roadshow for a unique art film documentary travelling throughout the Balkans to discover more undercover music and words of wisdom .
“The country is a beautiful insanity, a place where I can be myself . I am in hiding with a whole bunch of pirates, the craziest people I have ever met!”
And for more on National Black History Month, check out the website here.