So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and your music.
AE: My name is Amelia Eisenhauer, I’m a student at Nashville School of the Arts and I’m 16 years old. I started playing violin when I was six. I started out playing classical music in a Suzuki string program. I started taking fiddle lessons in addition to classical when I was eight. By the time I was nine years old, I was offered a spot in my first band, The Pickin’ Chicks, we were an all-girl traditional bluegrass band. The oldest girl was 13, I was the youngest at 9. At the same time, my brother Andy was also learning to play music. He plays the banjo and several other instruments. I left that band when I was 11 to play with my mom and brother when I was offered a job in a country cover band called We Got it Covered. That band was made up of a bunch of guys, most of them old enough to be my dad! We played many local shows, benefits, weddings and even opened for big names like Lee Greenwood, Thomas Rhett, Daryl Worley, and most recently Trace Atkins. When I was 13, my parents made the decision to move me and my brother Andy to Nashville. The plan was for me to learn more music, acting and take a shot at becoming a recording artist and for my brother, acting or a studio musician.
When we got to Nashville, we had been playing together, me, my mom and brother, but not with the intention of performing and definitely not with the idea of making a run at music row. We didn’t really know about the Americana music scene in Nashville or the popularity of family bands until we played an open mic one night at Pucketts of Leipers Fork. The owner, Rob Robinson asked us if we would consider booking a show. At the time, we could only play 6-7 traditional bluegrass songs. So, every week from there on out, we went to the weekly open mic. It was our incentive to learn new songs and try things out on folks who became our Nashville Family. They gave us a lot of honest feedback. We became a band on that stage, we grew and developed our sound. We also crashed and burned a lot too! However, we grew, so did our sound and our following. Once we were introduced to bassist Bryan Ward, who also happens to be a recording engineer, we were up and running towards recording our first record.
My music is really a blend of Americana, blues, jazz, alt. acoustic. This past year I have really gotten into recording my own music. I play violin, guitar, bass, viola, mandolin, cajon, and piano, so it’s really fun to lay my own tracks and be able to record what I’m hearing in my head. I have had so many people ask me if I write. The answer is finally yes. When I was younger, I homeschooled so I could focus most of my time on studying music which meant my childhood experiences were very different from most kids. I use to tell people, I had not had enough life experience to really have anything to say. After a relationship or two, three years of high school, playing in multiple bands and being on the road with my mom and brother, now I do.
Me: What are your current/upcoming projects? You’re obviously on American Idol, but anything otherwise?
AE: My band, Eisenhauer Band has a completed original album waiting to be released pending my results on American Idol. The name of the Album is called Fortune Cookie. We came up with the name while out to lunch during a recording session. We went to an Asian place in Oxford, MS called The Noodle Bowl. We were opening our fortune cookies and making up funny fortunes when we decided it was the perfect title to our first original record! We plan to produce our “special” brand of Eisenhauer Band fortune cookies complete with fortunes we wrote ourselves.
Me: What encouraged you to try out for American Idol? and what advice would you give to others wanting to try out for similar shows?
AE: For several years, people have been asking me why I haven’t auditioned for American Idol, and the answer was I wasn’t old enough, and looking back, I would not have been ready for this level of competition. I was 15 when I auditioned in September. I turned 16 Oct. 16 (yay! my golden birthday!) My mom encouraged me to do it. She knew this was the last season. She said everyone remembers the first winner, Kelly Clarkson, and everyone will remember the last one, Amelia Eisenhauer.
As far as advice goes, I would tell kids to really study music, learn to play an instrument. It really helps if you can accompany yourself. Try other styles of music that challenge you and make your sound different. Get out and perform, perform with others, don’t just be a one man show. Music is a team sport, you will have to learn how to communicate your musical ideas with others, like a house band, at some point. I think the most important piece of advice, which is the advice I keep getting from other past Idols like Joey Cook and Tyanna Jones, be yourself. Don’t try to “one up” others, just be the best YOU.
Me: What has the reception been since you were picked?, both in your hometown and nationwide
AE: I like to tell people, Nashville is my home, but I’m from Southern Illinois. I am back in Illinois as I write this and the support I’m getting here is absolutely reaching insane levels! It’s hard not to get emotional with all the love that is just pouring out from everyone. As far as Nashville goes, our friends and family are so excited for me! I think doing Idol will be a really good opportunity for Nashville to discover me. I’ve been there three years now, but I feel like I’ve been flying under the radar so to speak. My circles have been small, but with really great, knowledgable people. I was 13 when I moved there. I came to learn all I could from master musicians and veterans of the business before I made the next step.
Me: What can we expect from you next?
AE: Hopefully you can expect for me to be the last American Idol!, and if I have any say in it, as the last American Idol, you can expect my music to be an Americana original sound. Some of my lyrical idols are Robert Plant and John Mayer. I am very driven by lyrics. The songs I chose to compete with on Idol were chose based on lyrical content. It’s everything to me. Win or lose, music is my life, it’s what I am and what I do. I will continue playing, touring, writing, and recording music, hopefully as the last American Idol.
Me: Is there anything you’d want to tell your fans?
AE Please follow me on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! Don’t forget to watch me on American Idol!
I will do my best to be true to you, myself and my music, and I can’t wait to share my original music with you!
Other fun facts!
I drive antique tractors.
I have 5 cats, three of which are named after the judges.
I love sci-fi movies, Star Wars, Star Trek and Dr. Who to name a few.
I do cosplay and I love Anime. My current favorite is Tokyo Ghoul.
I hate soda.