Title Image credit Jessi Story
Tell us about yourself
My name is Amanda Turner, I’m 37 years old and I live in Adelaide, South Australia
What has been your journey of disability?
I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD in my late 20’s after a number of years of being misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions. I have also lived most of my life with asthma. During my childhood and teen years I also had an anxiety disorder and depression.
What do you do with yourself?
My days are divided between singing, songwriting, music production and university studies in public health. I just completed my Bachelor’s Degree In Health and Medical Sciences majoring in Public Health with the University of Adelaide. This year I will be commencing my Graduate Certificate in Health Protection online with the University of Tasmania. For many years I have had an interest in the areas of pandemics, vaccinations, and communicable diseases. My new course will focus on outbreak management, environmental health, and communicable disease epidemiology.
I am also a recording artist at an organization called Lift Up Voices. As a Lift Up Voices artist, I work on vocal skills, music production, performing and recording with my coach Renae. My vocal skills and confidence have reached new heights since I started at Lift Up Voices in June 2020. With music as my platform, I also do mental health and anti-bullying advocacy work. It is a way to help others that have experienced bullying and stigma in their lives and help build courage in themselves by sharing my life experiences.
“We are capable of be the most amazing versions of ourselves. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and be your own unique kind of beautiful.”
How did you come to doing what you do?
My disability had an impact on my self-confidence. But returning to singing after a long absence (due to throat damage) has been a shining light in my life. Studying at university also positively impacted on my self-confidence. My Complex PTSD stemmed from being bullied at school, so my confidence took a hit at school. Having the chance to learn in a more independent learning environment like university allowed for me to thrive academically as I could learn the required concepts in a way that suited my learning style. Also, my peers were so much more accepting of my quirks and my different outlook on life.
Returning to singing was a way for me to use my voice and my lyrics to experience my emotions at a deeper level and express myself musically.
credit Renae Albuino
“Returning to singing was a way for me to use my voice and my lyrics to experience my emotions at a deeper level and express myself musically.”
You are a musician and a songwriter, how has having disability in the arts been accepted by others?
So far, I have been widely accepted by others as the music community are so diverse. At Lift Up Voices, my disability has been taken into consideration when it comes to my individual sessions with Renae. I feel like I am part of a small community of amazing creative people and that makes me feel so accepted.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
The music I create includes instrumental dance tracks, electronic dance, and pop. I also experiment with rock and indie. My debut single ‘The Edge’ is an anti-bullying anthem for those who have been bullied or are currently being bullied. I reflected at what I experienced as a child at school. As an adult I have made the move to take the power back from the bullies and create a song to help anybody that needs some extra bravery to speak up and reach out for help.
My second single Reach For The Light is my debut electronic dance track. I grew up listening to 90’s dance and was inspired to explore the genre further. I wanted to use electronic dance music to lift the spirits of people during an uncertain and difficult time. There is hope and it’s inside each of us even when the days seem dark. It’s a spark that we carry every day. Sometimes it’s dim but it’s still there.
Currently I am working on my first ballad that I hope to release in mid-2022. I have been inspired by the beautiful music and lyrics of Jewel and Boz Scaggs. It would be the release that will hopefully showcase my most soulful vocal skills and allow for me to heal from past heartbreak.
“As an adult I have made the move to take the power back from the bullies and create a song to help anybody that needs some extra bravery to speak up and reach out for help.”
What is your creative process like?
My creative process is quite random. I get inspiration for songs from so many different experiences in my life. I always have my mobile ready to note ideas for song lyrics and concepts. I write my lyrics first and then create the music in a program like Soundtrap. I also work on the theme of the song and create marketing material and promotions for the track.
Are there things about you that people misunderstand because of your disability?
Our abilities are often underestimated. We are so capable of being incredible human beings! My family have always believed in me but being accepted by others can sometimes be more difficult. But for those that did believe me, I’m truly grateful for their faith in me.
“Our abilities are often underestimated. We are so capable of being incredible human beings!”
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
• High school results do not reflect on my future success. You are more intelligent than you think.
• Diversity is beautiful and you have a unique beauty about you. Don’t let the bullies change your self-perspective.
• Singing is your calling! It will take a lot of disappointments and hard work but its all worth it in the end.
What is the best advice that you would share with other women with disabilities?
We are capable of be the most amazing versions of ourselves. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and be your own unique kind of beautiful.
Do you have a way for people to connect or follow you that you would like shared ?
Tripe J Unearthed: https://www.abc.net.au/triplejunearthed/artist/amanda-turner/