‘Grow’ is the new record from County Antrim’s soulful songstress Amanda St John. Opening with an uplifting a capella harmony drenched intro this quickly sets the tone for the inspiring and emotional journey that follows.

‘Stop’ is a classic ballad dripping in Mowtown with its soulful arrangement, big harmonies and Amanda’s vocal rising and falling in rhythm to the music.

‘If You’d Only Let Me’ is another ballad with what sounds like some very nice electronic piano interspersed throughout. The song delivers a promise of commitment and reassurance to the listener and it is certainly a message that we sometimes all need to listen to and understand when delivered by the ones closest to us.

I will hold your hand as tightly as I hold your heart, I will love you if you let me, if you’d only let me.  I will be there for you a shelter for your tenderness. I will love if you let me, if you’d only let me.

‘You Blew It’ is the current single and you can read our review of it here.

‘If I should Fall’ and ‘Reach’ are stand out songs on the record.  Smooth harmonies and Amanda’s vocals combined with dark, yet powerful subject material in the lyrics make both these songs real attention grabbers.

‘Big Strong Man’ and ‘Right Now’ both scream hit singles at you as soon as you hear them.  Both are clever fusions of jazz and rock’n’roll and both deserve lots of radio play.  Least of all for the clever percussion that abounds in both. ‘Right Now’ in particular has a very positive and catchy chorus.

Your life is happening right now, don’t waste it chasing so many things. Take time to look around you and experience all the joy it brings.

Given that this record and indeed Amanda’s career was born out of an almost fatal automobile accident it is easy for the listener to see where the emotions and lyrics come from on  record. As Amanda tells us:

I vowed that if I got out of it alive I would start living my life to the full and commit to myself more. Singing was a big part of this and I threw myself into my writing. All of a sudden the fears and insecurities that held me back for years felt insignificant and I approached my music with a more confident, liberated feeling.

‘Grow’ reappears in its full and uplifting version as the final song on the record and we can’t think of any who can describe it better that Amanda herself:

The song ‘Grow’ is about facing a very difficult period of life, observing the situation and vowing to fight back rather than letting it define you. It’s a very hopeful, motivational message. You have a choice (regardless of your circumstances) of how you want your life to go; even though it may take incredible strength and courage, it is possible to heal and grow as a person. The song resonates deeply with people at live gigs and I have found that it has been quite inspirational for some and that is why I chose it as the album title. What I love most about being a songwriter is connecting to and inspiring people.

We found this record to be an incredibly emotional and infectious listening experience.  The musical arrangements are world class and Amanda’s vocals suit the musical styles perfectly.  There’s light and dark within her lyrics, yet overall they project a positive and uplifting message.

Amanda will launch the record in Belfast’s Black Box on the 3rd May as part of The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and tickets are on sale now on the festival website.