Alisa Amador (Photo provided by Alisa Amador)

A rising star on the national music scene is returning to the area next weekend for a show at the Jamestown Arts Center. Alisa Amador, the 2022 winner of the highly regarded Tiny Desk Concert contest, is a growing voice in the singer-songwriter community. She first appeared in the region last summer when she played a near-sellout show at the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Tickets are available here.

We interviewed Amador in the summer of 2021 when she played the Norman Bird Sanctuary. She grew up around music and told us she is influenced by a number of styles. Amador first sang with her parents in the band Sol y Canto.

“I was born into a Latin folk musician family,” she explained. “A band that toured nationally throughout my childhood until I was in high school. I was a backup singer from age 4 onward, and then a member of the band. We are still touring to this day, although not full-time.”

“In High School, I started studying jazz and folk music and started playing guitar,” continued Amador. “I was performing in funk bands, cover bands, and I studied jazz in college, performed in a jazz band, as well as vocal ensembles and my own music.”

Amador has an arresting voice and is a skillful songwriter – although her genre is difficult to pin down.

“I don’t know what style my music is going to be. I just sit down and try to be honest when I write, I focus on honesty and being connected to emotion. Whatever the style is, I just trust that the audience is going to be able to accept it. I may be harder to put into a box or genre, but I know that I can carry people through all of those styles. They’ll come out on the other end feeling more whole, more human, more uplifted, more heard, and less alone,” she remarked.

Amador has released music in English and Spanish and is adept at writing in both languages. How does that influence her songwriting and performance.

“There’s no way for me to write in English or in Spanish or write songs in any style without them being informed of everything I’ve experienced,” Amador explained. “For example, in the song, ‘Slow Down,’ I feel like there’s such a deep influence of Latin music in the chord voicings, in the style, it almost has like a bossa nova feel, but there’s also jazz, Latin and the rock-pop bridge, a really explosive bridge, and then a scatting solo. It’s really at the intersection of all those things.”

She released her first album titled Narratives, in 2020.

“I like to think of Narratives as a six-song survival kit, in English, and in Spanish. The thread through the whole album was looking at culture and difficult life experiences and flipping them around to see where the pain might be coming from – to trace the pain and say, this is not OK. This comes from a culture of being unkind towards women, for example. This comes from the culture of ignoring the truth about something and then flipping it over. The real intention with this album is to make people feel heard and seen and totally uplifted.”

Photo provided by Alisa Amador

Tickets are moving fast for this show which is expected to sell out. Click here for tickets and further information.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...