Amy Coleman was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and began her life long love affair with music when she listened to her first Beatles album. Soon after she discovered Aretha, Otis Redding, Sly and the Family Stone, Billie Holiday, Bertolt Brecht, and Edith Piaf. These artists continue to be prime influences and inspirations and help explain how and from where Amy developed her eclectic style of singing.
Over the past twenty years Amy has delved into a vast array of musical and theatrical arenas. Upon graduating from S.U.N.Y at Purchase, where she received a BA in Literature, Amy began singing at open mikes at various clubs in NYC. This led to her meeting and eventual collaboration with, the late Brian Laser, one of the premiere Cabaret musical arrangers of the 1980's. Because of their shared admiration for The Beatles, they created Face to the Wall, a cabaret piece set to the words and music of Lennon and McCartney. Face to the Wall played to sold out audiences at Don’t tell Mama in NYC and won Amy two Best Vocalist of the Year awards in Backstage Magazine. At about the same time, Amy began performing regularly in regional theater, landing the roles of Mary in Jesus Christ Super Star, the Voice of the Plant in Little Shop of Horrors and eventually Janis Joplin, in the original production of Beehive at the Village Gate. She also often worked in the NYC downtown scene, at internationally renowned theaters La Mama Etc., and Theater for the New City. Amy then spent two years touring Europe with the satirical political troupe the Hot Peaches, which brought her into contact with Italian composer Enzo Fillipelli. With Mr. Fillipelli Amy toured throughout southern Italy performing Enzo's compositions, (a mix of blues, jazz, European pop and art song) in opera houses, stadiums, open air concerts and on radio and T.V. Amy also recorded a CD of Enzo's compositions entitled, Only Sleep Brings Dreams.
On her return to New York City, Amy began frequenting the late great Dan Lynch Blues Bar, a mecca for local and national blues acts. There she met Karola Herry, the manager of Dan Lynch, who helped put together the all Women's blues band, Sweet Potata, with Amy as the lead vocalist. The band recorded Soul Kiss, a CD of mostly original songs written by Amy and her band mates. Sweet Potata toured throughout the East Coast opening for Richie Havens and Buster Poindexter and appeared on the CNBC TV variety show, America’s Talking, five times. They made two trips to Austria where they played to enthusiastic crowds. After the band broke up (don't ask), Amy returned to the Theater. She spent the next three years playing the character of Vickie in the Off Broadway hit, The Last Session, which began its run in NYC and ended at the prestigious Tiffany Theater in LA, racking up numerous awards.
Amy's first solo CD, Flame On, was released on the Regular Records label and can be heard on radio stations through the US and Europe. Her newest CD Goodbye New York was released in late Jan. 2010. Amy continues to perform in Italy with Texaco Jive, the band that the late Ge Ge Guido formed with a group of amazingly talented young men from Cosenza Calabria. She is currently writing a one-woman show and is a founding member of The New Yiddish Rep.
How do you describe your music to people?
Well, my new CD, Goodbye New York is a bit of a departure. I've been known mostly for singing blues and rock. My latest CD has a little of an alternative feel mixed into it.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
When I first heard the Beatles I was hooked. I was very young and just had to listen to them morning noon and night. I dreamed of being part of their band and traveling the world with them. My mother played alot of Billie Holiday in the house at that time also and I was mesmerized by the vocalist's voice. During my College years I would go into New York City on the weekends and sing at some of the local clubs. I'd say I was about 17 when I first forayed into the music biz.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Sleep, eat and hang out with my two cats, Sammy and Izzy.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Organizing things and dealing with club owners.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I think I knew I would be a performer from the start.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
As a child music was played in my house all the time. My older brother is also a musician and when we were kids he constantly played an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, rock and folk so I grew up liking all kinds of music, as long as it was good.
What other artists out there do you love?
The Beatles,Billie Holiday,Edith Piaf,Sly and the Family Stone,Sade,Paul Simon,Etta James,Koko Taylor,M&M.
What does your future hold?
I'd like to do more touring, sell lots of CD's.I am also working a performance piece that I've been writing for the couple of years so I hope to start performing that next year.