Amanda Reifer on Creating New Music, Kendrick Lamar’s “Die Hard,” and More

With a gorgeously expressive eye for visuals adding to her creative flourishes, Amanda Reifer is defining herself as a significant talent in today’s landscape.

Born in Barbados, the singer-songwriter quietly made a global impact with an exuberant presence while a part of four-man band Cover Drive. Her introduction to artists like Bob Marley and Céline Dion as well as Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, and Rihanna primed the musician with a multitude of genres and styles to draw inspiration from. The group garnered three Top 10 hits in the UK and a No. 1 with “Twilight.” However, Reifer parted ways in 2018 to forge a pathway of her own, and it ultimately ended up being one of the best decisions she could’ve made.

That same year, Amanda welcomed a new chapter in her artistry as a solo artist, unloading a number of independent releases that made waves around the globe. Her debut single “Girl Like Me,” as well as songs like “Ransom,” “Duppy,” and “Bang Bang” proved her to be equally as talented while embarking on her solo career. 2020’s “Rich Bitch Juice” served as further confirmation, accumulating over 1 million streams and catching the attention of TITLE 9, who signed her through a partnership with Republic Records. Now, through feel-good anthems such as “Bag” and “Crazy,” Amanda Reifer positions herself as an exciting artist to watch in the coming years.

Cementing her rise to acclaim, Reifer appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s “Die Hard” alongside Blxst from the Compton rapper’s fifth studio album, Mr. Moral & The Big Steppers. The song, which details insecurities and struggles regarding relationships, peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart and subsequently earned the singer her first top ten as a newly solo artist. The guest spot arrives just in time for Amanda’s forthcoming EP, and thus far, fans couldn’t be any more excited to watch the music starlet blossom into one of this generation’s global phenomenons. When it does happen, expect the world to be ready and waiting for her.

We caught up with Amanda Reifer to discuss her latest slew of singles, appearing on “Die Hard,” self-care as it relates to creative expression, and more. Scroll down to read more of our conversation with the musician below.

To begin with, how are you? How’s the year been treating you so far?

Very excited, the year has been going crazy, honestly. A lot of good blessings coming my way. Having the “Die Hard” track, releasing my own records as a solo artist, it’s just been a good year for me. Music has been something I’ve been doing my whole life. Being in the music business, I’m not new to this. It excites me, this momentum is fiery for me.

How do you conceptualize your vision? How do you get into the mood to create the vibe that you want to convey to your listeners?

They come to me, actually. It’s not always initially thought out but as I’m creating, the visions will come then I’ll discuss and expand with my team. I have really good people in my corner who help me actualize that. Prior to finding my team, I was doing it all independently. For my music videos, I would co-direct and direct them with my friend from Barbados. Usually, that works out to be a pretty cohesive thing.

I can’t help but be involved. It’s not just the music for me, it’s the lyrics, melodies, visuals, message, what I wear, how I feel, and how I express myself. I can’t help but have a say and hand in all that I do creatively. I didn’t rush into doing a deal, we did a partnership at the end of the day so I could maintain that creative say and control. Having the experience of being in a band and being signed to a label before, I wanted to enter into a partnership that allowed for me to express myself in an authentic way.

The visuals for “Bag,” released back in March, are stunning and they capture your way with storytelling in a really phenomenal way. What does the creative process behind your videos look like?

We write the song, concepts come to me, I discuss them with people that I trust creatively, and we figure out creative ways to execute them with whatever budget we have. We can exaggerate what the budget looks like in a video, but it’s not always what you think it is. Because of my background, I’ve learned to be very resourceful and we create a lot with a little. That process continues, even with Republic, that’s still an attitude that I take.

It’s also one of your first songs in a bit under two years, what made it the perfect comeback song for you?

“Bag” is like my other song “Rich Bitch Juice” in the sense that it’s a manifesting song. They’re mood board song, they set the tone for my future and my vision, but they’re also for the listener to do the same for themselves. I would say that it was the starting point for me and it’s a warm-up song before the rest of my project. It’s just setting the tone for myself, which is: I’m here to do this. I’m here to be in my bag, execute my vision on the largest scale possible, and I’m not allowing anyone to take me off of that journey.

“Crazy” is also another really amazing record, from the bouncy production to your hypnotic vocals. Tell me a bit about the song and how do you feel about the reception for it so far?

They’re both feel-good records, to be honest! “Crazy” is where you have a little attitude and you gotta really step into your I don’t give a fuck energy. I love to see people playing and dancing to it. I’m still trying to figure out some of the dances that these girls are doing, they look so fly. I’m so happy about it and I love that some women are feeling empowered by it. I’m excited about that.

Tell me about the decision to perform your recent releases live—I feel like they complement the records very well and allow us to get a peek at your personality.

I love being on stage, I have a hard time choosing do I love being on stage or in the studio more. Honestly, creating is an amazing experience but also sharing that creative energy and seeing how it affects people is amazing. I spent a lot of years on stage as a band and I can’t wait to start doing shows with my new music and connecting with the audience. I’m here to have a good time, it’s an important thing for me.

Collaborating with Kendrick Lamar and Blxst on “Die Hard” from his recent album must’ve been an amazing experience. Can you share anything in regards to how that came about?

It was an incredible experience, honestly. It came about from a pre-existing relationship within the label. I was introduced and he listened to some of my records then we decided to start working. We worked on a couple of things and it was really interesting because before the album comes out it’s like you know it’s coming but you don’t know what actually has made it to the album. So twenty minutes before it dropped, I was nervous, wondering if the song had made it.

Hearing it was a really emotional moment for me, I may have cried for like an hour, to be honest. I was very happy about that. It’s been one of the greatest creative experiences working with him, he’s really amazing.

In terms of the first line of the pre-chorus, “shimmy, shimmy, cocoa puff,” that was a callback to Digital Underground’s “Kiss Me Back” if I’m not mistaken, right?

Yeah, it’s a reference! That was Kendrick’s idea, he really wanted that line in there so that was what ignited the rest of the hook.

I was checking out your Instagram earlier this week, and you have such a vibrant personality, whether it be the affirmations or just really enjoying life to the fullest extent. How do you keep that passion alive to the point where music doesn’t seem like a job?

That’s a funny question because there are days when it sometimes feels like a job to be on socials and make music. I remind myself what would you rather be doing? If this is part of a job, and all of that part is sharing a piece of yourself with people who would want to get to know you better or enjoy your music, then I’m going to check myself and make it happen. I want people to know that I appreciate them as much as they appreciate me. In the moments where I do feel a bit frustrated or overwhelmed, I just remind myself how blessed I am to do this.

What you share, you really want it to be sincere. It’s not every day that you feel like pulling out a camera and getting on there. You don’t want to share things that are not real so it’s just about finding a balance. I’m still working on that, working on sharing more of my life without it being for the sake of doing it.

Aside from that, how often do you turn to other mediums such as fashion or beauty as a form of creative expression?

Always. I was having this conversation with my manager the other day and we were talking about the process of how we get ready. I’ll do my hair, makeup, and jewelry butt naked then I’ll start to dress. The reason I do that is because when I put on my clothes, I want to rock my clothes. I don’t want them to rock me, they’re a form of expression. I want to feel my best first then I put my clothes on.

Fashion, for me, is a form of expression of how I feel internally. How I feel internally, I want to be confident, feminine, bold, and easy-going. Those are all of the things that I tap into with fashion. I love to see other people express themselves too and I’m not shy in expressing my appreciation for them. Movies too, I get a lot of inspiration from films. That inspires me.

On that note, what movies have been watching as of late?

Recently, I watched Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s so amazing, I love that one. It’s interesting because I’ve had some friends who weren’t into it at all, but I’m obsessed. That was one of my favorite movies that I’ve watched in a while. I still have to finish the last few episodes of Stranger Things.

Can you share your self-care routine?

Really and truly, I use a lot of natural things. I use a lot of natural oils. I’ve started doing hot yoga which I love, it’s actually brightened up my skin a lot too. The heat and sweating cause your pores to open up and I love that. I also use a lot of holistic, natural products. I think growing up in Barbados also gave me that habit. Your parents teach you old tricks that they’ve had for generations so I bring that with me.

You previously mentioned that you were finishing up your debut album. How have things been coming along?

It’s great, it’s truly the best music I’m creating. I would love to share everything with you, but a little bit of suspense never hurt nobody. I’m in a super confident space right now, but more so because I love it so much. I know that what I put out there is truly a reflection of who I am. I can confidently stand behind it because I believe it.

Music aside, is there anything else you’re excited about this year?

Truly, it’s hard to put music aside. It’s my life, I love it. I’m very excited about my career and where it’s going. I’m looking into doing shows and connecting with people physically, not just online. I can’t say that anything else triumphs my excitement for music right now.

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