It is often said that some songs take on a life of their own. Amanda Falk's song Small, penned in 2003 is one of those songs that after it was written and played on the radio began to touch lives in a way she might never have dreamed possible. It was also a song that caused the twenty-one year old singer/songwriter/musician to seek out and forge a friendship with a fifteen year old girl who was terminally ill with cancer. Any parent of a child who has prematurely passed away or teenager who has lost a close friend would be deeply moved as they listen to her recall the experience.
Amanda met the teenage girl Sam through her godmother who had written an email through her website. "I asked if there was anyway that I could get in contact with her, if there was any way that I could call her, if I was permitted to do that." She says that over the last two months of Sam's life they learned a lot about each other and they would talk on the phone every week. The friendship deeply impacted Amanda as she came to appreciate the maturity and courage of her new friend. Sam had confided in Amanda, 'I don't know if I would trade my life for anyone else's because of what I am learning and how it's drawn me closer to God.'
"I thought wow that's a very mature thing for a fifteen year old to say who is dying of cancer because who would say that? Everyone else would look at her and say, you have so much life left in you and this is way too soon." Amanda says that she learned to appreciate the gift of life so much more through her conversations with Sam. She says it has given her a different perspective about life and death.
Amanda recalls her own tears as she spoke on her cell phone to Sam the night before the teen passed away. "I was talking to Sam; she said she liked the song Small and that she made it her own. It became real to her and personal to her in the last weeks. She said, 'You know Mandie I am going to be living out that song tomorrow. I'm going to be small. I'm going to be quiet in His arms and that's exactly where I want to be.' When we named that song (Small) we had no idea of the impact it could have on someone but it really drew it out to me that is my heart's desire. She is living it right now." Amanda's voice grows quieter as she says, "It was a beautiful thing just to get to know her and have a relationship with her while she was still here."
Amanda can hush a crowd on stage sitting at her keyboard or she can be a dynamic performer as she moves about the stage microphone in hand singing. She can also be quiet and introspective. As you sit and talk with her you can't help but wishing it were possible for every teen to sit and talk with her for a few moments as she is a great role model and would be a splendid mentor. Amanda is fresh, innocent, and honest about who she is and where she is on her journey. "People want what's real. People want to be able to identify with somebody who is honest. I'm honest to the core saying this is what I have gone through and this is the hope that I have found."
She describes her song Broken as, "seeing hope in the distance and knowing that He is going to do something, change something or make it better. It's (the song) in the moment of feeling broken and acknowledging that. It's acknowledging it for everyone else because often you walk around saying everything is fine. How often do we say we are fine when we are not fine? That's the place the song comes from."
Amanda says it is okay to feel broken and realize that there is nothing wrong with feeling that way sometimes, because it is then that God begins to heal you. "I realized I didn't have to put on a front for God. I didn't have to be okay. He loves me where I am at. He has a brilliant plan for my life but he also loves me where I am broken and he will put me back together," she says.
She laughs and giggles when you try and discuss with her such life altering experiences as choosing an outfit to wear for the Shai Awards, having her nose pierced or why there are just so many chocolate bars to choose from. She almost thinks seriously about the question concerning her favorite hair color before she confides in you that for now she prefers red. She is equally humbled when discussing the many accolades that have already come her way. In addition to the Shai Award the Canadian Gospel Music Association gave her the nod four times for Covenant Award nominations in the fall of 2004.
Prior to learning the public had voted for her as the Shai Awards New Artist of the Year she said, "I had a moment the other day when I just looked at my life and said wow all these people and all these things that have been happening, who would have known? Well God knew," she says. "I had a moment when I just stepped back and said 'wow thank you Lord for what you are doing. This is beyond me. Some days it's just over my head.' It's been a journey and it will continue to be a journey. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. I just want to be the best that I can, then again having the balance to know that I don't have to be the best, I have to do my best. I will continue to strive and grow and become the best that I can. I can rejoice in knowing that there are other people who are better singers and songwriters than I am. I can rejoice with them in their gift because I know I am where I am supposed to be and am doing what I am supposed to be doing at the level I'm supposed to be doing it. If I'm doing my best, that's what people can expect from me. It's such a great experience."
She says she is grateful for the many people that God has brought into her life to help her both personally and in her career. "I have great people around me to challenge me and lift me," she says.
She refers to songwriting as, "Such a personal experience. It's such a vulnerable thing because the songs come from a very deep place. They are all personal experiences. I write out of personal experiences of what God takes me through and what I see other people going through. It's kind of like wearing your heart on your sleeve in that respect. It's so new for me. It's like this new baby that I am raising." She says some of her best songs people may never hear because they are so personal. They arise from times when she is alone at the piano or with her Bible in a Starbucks and asks God, "what do you want to teach me today or what do you want to bring forth from me?"
Amanda sees her web blog as an extension of her ministry. She says she believes very strongly in encouraging one another and in the fellowship of believers. "Not all my blogs are happy. I go through stuff just like everyone else." She says people will often write to her saying they can identify with those same feelings and experiences. They will tell her that the sharing of her own experiences has helped them in some way. "That is so humbling to hear. It's a good place to be in. If God wants me to do it, who am I to say no. I would love to be a vessel for that."
Amanda Falk's tour dates are listed on her website at www.amandafalk.com
Writer: Joe Montague