A little while back I got the most delightful email — it was from Amanda Lee Peers, a singer/songwriter from Rochester, New York who was really into matcha. She mentioned that she was a contestant on the hit TV show The Voice, and that Gwen Stefani, one of the judges on the show, had taken Amanda under her tutelage. Amanda didn’t quite make the finals on the show, but she wowed millions of people, including me, with the raw power of her voice and stage presence. I asked this matcha-sipping wonder if she’d mind being interviewed here,and she graciously agreed.
1) You had a fundamentalist Christian upbringing, your girlfriend is your muse and inspiration, and you’re a matcha addict. That’s quite the path! Us matcha addicts would love a summary of who you are, as told by you and not a publicist!
I’m a singer, songwriter currently living in Rochester, NY. I recently appeared on NBC’s Season 7 of The Voice as a contestant on Gwen Stefani’s team – which was an amazing experience! I’ve been playing guitar for 16 years and singing (outside my bedroom) for about the last 5 or 6 years. I played with a band called The Driftwood Sailors a couple years ago. We released an album, opened for Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers as well as 90’s band the Spin Doctors. We had a lot of fun. Now I perform solo and am working on a solo album to release in spring/summer of 2015.
Besides all that music stuff, I love to travel, am an avid matcha drinker, old moped enthusiast, and lucid dreamer. I recently decided to take up surfing Lake Ontario — yes, there are waves on The Great Lakes.
2) Not a question per se but we can’t wait till the word MATCHA makes it into your lyrics. OK a question: tell us about your method of writing a song from scratch. Lyrics first, or music first? Or neither?
I don’t really have a go-to method for songwriting. Sometimes I’ll hear a melody and make up words to it, then sometimes I’ll just write a whole bunch of stuff down then start singing the words and the melody will come naturally. I’ve found that the best way to come up with songs is just to write every day, even if it feels forced or sounds terrible. Sooner or later you’re bound to come up with something great!
(editor’s note: this is true with just about any art; it’s the everyday-ness of it that produces something great)
3) Do you like caffeine in general when performing and just working, or is it the special matcha buzz you like? Do you drink coffee?
The only thing I’m drinking while singing at a show is water. It’s the only sure fire thing that won’t affect my voice or dry me out. I love drinking matcha while working though. I used to be a big coffee drinker. While working on The Voice I wanted to do everything I could to keep my voice healthy, one of which was to stop drinking coffee, the other was to stop taking allergy medicine every day. I’ve successfully done both! Once I discovered matcha, I was hooked. I’ve also always been a huge regular green tea drinker so I made the switch from coffee to matcha no problem. My favorite is to make a couple of cups of matcha in the morning and get to work on my music. I love the focused, clean energy matcha gives. And it doesn’t give you that awful rot-gut feeling coffee does if you drink too much.
4) When are you bringing your music to the west coast? Where/how can we buy your music?
I’d love to bring my music to the West Coast! I’m actually looking to move to a larger city sometime in the next year and California is on my list of places I’m considering. But until then, right now the best thing is for people to join my mailing list at www.amandaleepeers.com and to link up with me on social media to hear what my latest music releases are. I’m working on recording solo material in hopes of releasing for spring/summer 2015. However, I did release an album with a band called The Driftwood Sailors called “White Horses & Black Jeans.” That has a bit more of a rock vibe compared to my solo material, but if while you’re waiting for my solo album to come out, check that out! It is available on iTunes as are the two songs I performed on The Voice.
5) What’s your favorite way to enjoy matcha? Any rituals?
My favorite way to enjoy matcha is to get up early when it’s quiet and make a few cups of hot matcha. No TV, just peace and quiet and matcha. It’s funny, drinking matcha is almost like a lifestyle change. I would never do that with coffee. Coffee was something I needed to survive the mornings. Now, matcha is something I have to enjoy the mornings.
Thank you Amanda! Here’s a video of our favorite matcha-obsessed musician doing one of her favorite original songs, “Songs of Freedom.”