Amanda Riffe ends her year with the release of her debut album

Amanda Riffe ends her year with the release of her debut album

As the seniors of 2018 embark on the last few days of their final chapter, many try to leave their mark. For senior Amanda Riffe, she has been embarking on a journey that is different from most. Her senior year draws to a close, but her chapter in music with her debut album is just opening.

“I think it’ll be an asset for me to go in [to college] saying, ‘I have an album and it’s professionally produced and mixed,” Amanda said.

As a future student in Worship Arts at Grand Canyon University, Amanda has spent a great deal of time producing her first album. This time spent recording and producing her first album has both impacted her senior year and has helped her prepare for her future.

Amanda cannot remember a time in her life without music. Growing up, Amanda’s mother was a choir director and constantly took her to the rehearsals. This experience helped start to fuel her passion. Even as a little kid, she has constantly found joy in singing. “I’ve never not been singing,” Amanda said. “In my room, most of the time, I would play pretend and would be singing. I would be sitting and playing my D.S and singing. It’s always been such a big part of my life.”

As she grew older, Amanda continued to gain more and more experience in music. In first grade, it was piano lessons, in eighth grade, it was learning guitar, and at the age of 13, she joined her church’s worship team. Without fail, Amanda sings in front of over 1000 people every single Sunday.

“Playing guitar and singing in front of a lot of people has given me a lot more confidence,” Amanda said. “It’s kind of field experience.”

While anyone can play music, Amanda began to write her own songs at the age of nine.

“It’s always been my outlet; I love to write,” Amanda said. “Since sophomore year, I’ve started to show my music to more people. I’ve always been very protective of it. It’s basically entries from my diary because I write from personal experiences. I was really scared at first to show people stuff because I didn’t think it was very good. When I realized I was actually talented, I started to show it a lot more.”

After gaining more experience in writing her own songs, Amanda performed an original song in FHC’s Random Acts of Talent in 2018. Amanda kept a video of the performance to show to family and friends. After Alex Dang, a member of the Resurrection Life worship team and Audio Production student at Cornerstone, saw it, he asked if she would like to record an album as a part of his final project. Amanda immediately said yes, and they got to work right away.

“It was scary,” Amanda said. “Eight songs is a lot to do with drums, and two guitars and acoustic, and everything. That’s been very daunting for me because I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but, I’m learning.”

Recording in a studio was difficult because of the lack of visuals. All of her life, Amanda has been performing live, but never in a studio. This transition into a new setting was another bit of a challenge.

“I’m just used to live singing, and it’s a lot easier to convey emotion when you’re looking at someone,” Amanda said. “I had to think about how I was going to convey the same passion through a microphone. I try to just go back to the time when I wrote the song because a lot of times these songs were written out of an overflow of my heart.”

Amanda quickly adapted to life in the studio and began to overcome obstacles in order to create something great.

“It’s been super fun,” Amanda said. “I knew that it was going to be difficult. It’s a lot of flexibility, but it’s been really cool to see a lot of my stuff come to life.”

She had the support of many people, including her band and her parents. Amanda believes the support of her parents has helped keep her afloat throughout the process.

“They’ve always really wanted me to follow my passions; [recording an album] has always been something that I’ve wanted to do,” Amanda said. “They’ve really pushed me, and said that I could do this.”

Amanda’s mother, Jeannette Riffe, believes that support is crucial during this process.

“I encourage her by trying to be as helpful as possible in many different ways,” Riffe said. “First and most important is by praying for her. This is her first experience recording and sharing her soul which is a very vulnerable position.”

Amanda could not be happier as all of her time writing, recording, and editing comes to a close as the release of her album grows closer.

“It’s a coming of age [album,]” Amanda said. “That’s why it’s called The Journey. It’s because it’s my high school experience. Personal events [inspire my songs]. A lot of times, I write from specific experiences. There’s a couple songs in there that are pictures in my head that I get. That’s my inspiration; like life.”

Amanda’s mom hopes that people enjoy and take away life lessons from her songs.

“I honestly hope people feel something in their heart when they listen to her music,” Riffe said. “It’s not about hype, it’s about heart. She really opens up her heart on the journey of life thus far. Her songs range from jealousy to wealth, from love to loss. It’s a little something for everyone.”

Amanda’s album will be released in June. Amanda knows that when people listen, they will be able to finally see a different side of her.

“I hope that [people] are surprised that this quiet girl has a lot more to say than what they think,” Amanda said. “At the end of the day, I hope they get something out of it; I hope they feel something. I just want them to feel something, that way I know I’ve done my job right.”

Make sure to check out Amanda Riffe’s Album The Journey on Spotify and iTunes.

Out June 14