Debut Album Mirrors Life
When you open your heart and let down your guard, emotions coming rushing in.
Rush is the aptly named title of Amanda Hagel’s debut album. With this body of work, the Saskatoon singer/songwriter takes her audience on an emotional roller coaster.
To me, the album covers the rush of emotions that life brings: the ebb and flow of emotion, the ups and downs...from the euphoria of falling in love, to heartache and loss,” says Amanda.
The depths of emotion expressed in Rush mirror Amanda’s own life journey. “I couldn’t have done this album at an earlier point in my life. When I was 25, I wasn’t ready. When I was 30, I wasn’t ready. I just wasn’t there. Our experiences hone us,” she says.
Amanda began writing and recording the songs for Rush three years ago. “I wasn’t quite ready to complete this project until last year,” she says, adding that the album’s final songs were written after marrying her husband Michael.
“I got married and it felt like I had lots to write about then,” she laughs. “There are several songs that reflect our life together. I think a lot of people in a committed relationship will relate to a lot of the material on this album. There’s lots of humour, as well as serious elements. We have a great relationship, in that we try to always have a sense of humour about things, but life also means there are serious things you have to deal with.”
To bring Rush to reality, Amanda joined forces with award-winning producer Bart McKay. The talented Saskatchewan producer is associated with some of the best work heard in country music today. The producer’s studio in Saskatoon has been named the Canadian Country Music’s Recording Studio of the Year three times.
“Bart hired the studio musicians for the album, drawing from an amazing talent pool, including some of the best musicians in Canada ─ artists who have played with nationally recognized bands in country music as well other genres. Bart hired Nashville musicians for a couple of select instruments: fiddle and steel guitar. Jenne Fleenor, the fiddlist, has played with people like Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton. The steel player, Bruce Bouton, has played with legends like Ricky Skaggs. I feel extremely fortunate to have Bart bring their talents to the album,” says Amanda.
Amanda was also pleased to invite local talent into the studio, including two of her sisters. “They’re singing with me on one of the songs called “This Prayer” ─ a song I wrote about our parents,” says Amanda.
“My Branded Honey bandmate, Curtis Korchinski, sings the harmonies on another song I dedicated to my father, who passed away ten years ago. The song is titled “When I See you Again”. It’s such a beautiful song that everyone can relate to. We’ve all lost someone in our lives that we love. In addition to the song, we’ve also done a music video that’s dedicated to my father,” she says.
“This has truly been the experience of a lifetime. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Bart.”