Amy Edwards is a local musician, radio DJ, mama, wife, aspiring author of children’s books and more. She’s quite possibly at the top of my list of “Badass Moms.” You’ll see why in our interview below.
LM: Are you from Austin originally? If not, where were you born and raised?
Amy: I consider myself an Austinite and a Longhorn, only because my parents both went to UT and I grew up in Killeen, which is only an hour away. So this was the nearest big city, and growing up, my family came to all the games and we would come into town to shop at the fabulous big-city Highland Mall! This year marks 20 years of really living in Austin for me.
LM: What do you like most about living in Austin? And least?
Amy: I love Austin. I am not very critical of it. Yes, there’s congestion and crowds and it’s hot, but I just accept that as part of life here. I love the growth and the vibe we have. We aren’t afraid to get out there and do stuff. Like, literally! I love that we have water in the middle of town, and the hike and bike trail, and Zilker, all so accessible. Those make our city beautiful. What do I like least? That I can’t afford to live someplace with a view of it all!
LM: Take us through a typical weekday in your household. As a working mom, do you have any lifesaving tips for making it out of the door on time and in a good mood?
Amy: I am so tempted here to make my life sound better than it is! It’s non-stop busy from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. I am constantly repeating myself, too: did you brush your teeth, where are your shoes, have you done your homework? But I try to make it fun as much as I can- we are reading the Harry Potter books all together now, and I love that time and that break with the kids. I am not sure I have lifesaving advice, but I do find one thing pretty crucial to my sanity and day-to-day. It’s that I get up earlier than the kids and my husband and I spend 5 minutes writing in a journal, 5 minutes reviewing goals, and 5 minutes meditating. But I need to listen to my own advice- I’ve been too tired to do those things for the last week! And I can tell- I have felt more frazzled and busy because I haven’t done that for myself.
LM: When the weekend rolls around, what activities does your family like to do around town to stay entertained?
Amy: Another case of wanting to sound more exciting than I actually am! Ha! We put in a pool last year, so it has been great to hang out and enjoy that. When we do go out around town on weekends, I love the Farmer’s Markets, or just tooling around South Congress for a bit, having a cupcake, hitting Home Slice, or maybe the Alamo Drafthouse or Scottish Rite Children’s Theater. My kids never miss an opportunity to dance when they hear a band, outside at Guero’s or wherever. We just closed on a new place though, at the end of Red River, on the hike and bike, near Rainey. That’s gonna have us out downtown all the time!
Amy: Get everybody enough sleep. I am crazy sleep mom. I believe sleep solves just about everything- and that goes for me too!
LM: The Fringe! Flashback Lunch! I am so happy that this new alternative station is on the air here in Austin. How did you land such an awesome gig as DJ from 10-1 each weekday?
Amy: Thank you so much! I am happy about it too- I loved it before I was even a part of it, and it’s a dream come true for me to be back on- especially because I love the music of my youth so much too. I knew our Program Director, Ray Seggern, from 20 years ago when I was doing overnights at KASE 101 right out of college. We’ve stayed in touch and for some reason he thought of me for this gig. I was thrilled and it has evolved into something more than I ever thought it would. I am having a great time with it!
LM: I am probably your most obsessed Flashback Lunch listener- it’s on my radio either in my house or car daily. Do you get to pick the playlist? How do you find all of those songs that I have forgotten?
Amy: Um, AWESOME! I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out! As for the music, Ray is the real mastermind behind all those songs. He never fails to surprise me. Every day there is something I don’t expect! I get to have some control when I am on the air however, and some input on what we should add, which is fun. For instance, just recently we were promoting AJ Vallejo’s band Perfect Nation and a show of theirs, and I got to have AJ in and choose tons of Prince to play that day.
LM: As a new musician on the scene in Austin, what are some challenges that you’ve encountered and what are some pleasant surprises?
Amy: It’s a tough life, this indie musician thing. Booking, hustling, getting your name out, hauling stuff to gigs, getting paid and not getting paid. Add in managing kid schedules when you’re a mom, too. It’s been quite a learning experience, and it’s been challenging for me in just about every way imaginable. And that’s not to mention the writing and recording processes. I am still figuring out too much to even list. But the surprise is that it is worth it, every time, and everyone in Austin is overall quite supportive of those trying to make a go of it. I have only been at it a short time, too, and it takes real, solid dedication. And it’s always worth it, even playing to an empty room (which I’ve done). That’s the good surprise.
LM: Tell us about your new album, Forward. What was your inspiration for the album?
Amy: I needed to push myself forward. I needed to make myself write every word and I needed to write those words to heal myself and deal with my own issues and move forward with music and life in general. I was in a band, the Cover Girls (later The Mrs.), that parted ways last year, and sometimes you can doubt yourself when you’ve been working with others. I had to push forward, trust myself, and go for it! I believe that we have to keep going, learning, and moving in new directions. That’s what life is all about.
LM: I see you are writing a children’s book as well (my, you do wear many hats!). Did you also write all of the songs on your album?
Amy: I love hats and have a stack of them, so that’s funny! I did. I was worried about writing the words by myself but as I said, I had to, for them to be real and ring true. Dwight Baker looked over my shoulder and basically just told me when something was cliché or just plain sucked, and I would throw a fit, argue and then ultimately write and rewrite and change it. And it would always be better. It was ridiculously hard. And then sometimes you’ve got the music done, but need new words to fit, and nothing is right…but then after so much work, you get it, and it clicks, and you say, that’s it! It’s the most wonderful payoff. As for the music, I wrote the chords, but worked with producer David Butler for the arrangements. We threw off the lines and went wholeheartedly forward, and just made whatever spoke to us. It was a very cool experience.
LM: You mention that a woman’s version of herself is constantly changing. How do you think we can embrace that more as a society, constantly accepting a new version of ourselves and our world?
Amy: That’s a big question. I think that humans are just so complex. I can’t stand being pigeonholed into one role: “MOM” or “CAREER WOMAN” or whatever. It’s good that we have role models out there showing us that you can be all different things: a caring mother, a sexy bitch, a thoughtful partner, a strong professional, a reliable friend, a wild girl. And you can be all those things, all in one day. That’s part of where my music comes from, too- embracing all sides of the woman that not only I am, but that we all are! Hopefully, the more we put that out there, the more it’ll become the norm.
LM: The role of being a modern day woman means many things. How have you managed to be a mama, have a career, passions, hobbies and take care of yourself while not going absolutely crazy? If you did go absolutely crazy at some point, how did you manage to find sanity again?
Amy: I go crazy all the time! Luckily, my bouts of insanity are short-lived. I write, and that helps. My song “Melt Down” is just what the lyrics say: “Someone will find me heaped and barefoot on the kitchen floor / Cold and crying, wasted all the way down to my core.” Those words came from something that happened last spring- my husband came home to me crying on the floor in front of the refrigerator. I had lost it. I was at a low point and felt like I couldn’t handle everything, what am I doing, everyone is laughing at me, and on top of it all, I can’t even sing. I can get too hard on myself sometimes. I am lucky to have him- he picks me up every time and talks sense into me. And I got up and got going and got over it. When you have kids, you don’t have the time or luxury of focusing for too long on yourself, and that’s actually a good thing in many regards. You have to be there for someone else. But if one thing goes by the wayside, it’s the taking care of myself part. I can’t remember the last time I got my nails done! I have to force myself to relax and do the little things like that every so often. Or watch out– there’ll be another melt down!
LM: Your Kickstarter campaign begins this September. Tell us about the Hi-Fi Society.
Amy: This is a huge project for me. Another learning experience! Basically, my husband Kevin and I hope to crowdfund a record label. It will be called The Hi-Fi Society Collective and it will launch sometime this month. Everyone who contributes will be a founding member and people can say, yes, I helped start a record label. I will be the first signed artist, and depending on how much we raise, we will sign more- hopefully!
LM: If you had 24 hours to yourself in Austin, where would we find you and what would you be doing with your alone time?
Amy: Can you get me 24 hours to myself?! Oh, I’ll take it!! I’ll do that taking care of myself stuff we just talked about – after I sleep as long as I want, I need a massage and my toes done, for god’s sake! Then I would sit around and play guitar, maybe do some yoga. Stare at the sky. Get food from Whole Foods. Keep it simple. I need that 24 hours….can you deliver that asap please?!