Drafted By: Shannon Little

Amanda Wood on a family holiday with her mom, dad and brother recalls driving down the west coast to California listening to the “Rainman” cassette and hearing for the first time the song “AT LAST” by Etta James. She remembers how that song resonated with her so deeply, even though she was only about twelve years old and how the family practically wore the tape out by constantly rewinding it so Amanda could hear it again and again.

From a very early age Amanda had a clear sense of purpose about what she wanted to do with her life. She was focused, driven, and knew in her heart that she always wanted to perform. With the full support of her family, she became involved in dance, acting and performance classes, from age Kindergarten on, and received full ride scholarships at the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre Department.

AT LAST…Amanda found her way to Vancouver, BC where she was working in a restaurant and became known as the “Birthday Singer” girl.

She was “discovered” one night after singing a Christmas song for a table, and three months later she was singing at Rossini’s Jazz Club in Gastown. Amanda credits Arni May and the May family for fostering her with the training ground for her singing career in 2004.

This amazing stepping stone in Amanda’s singing career, led her to have gigs at local Jazz Clubs, which then opened the door for her to perform in her first Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Moving to Vancouver and having the incredible opportunity to work with some of the top musicians in Canada and from around the world, Amanda knew that she had found her niche in the world and now was on the right path. The sense of community, belonging and excitement that she felt when she performed with her fellow musicians was something that was incomparable to any other experience that she had had in the entertainment world thus far.

Amanda was influenced by so many artists, but definitely respects the powerful voices of Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Barbara Streisand.

It is no wonder that these women have played a role in Amanda’s singing career, as there are very few people who can even attempt to sing these artists songs.

Amanda, however, cannot only sing their songs and do them justice, she performs them and makes them her own. This is a rare talent that has indeed made Amanda not only a rising star locally but also internationally.

I first met Amanda in 2010 when I MC’d for her at the Jazz Cellar Club on Broadway which recently closed. She was as beautiful, genuine and friendly that evening as she is today.

And the evolution of her talent as an artist has simply skyrocketed.

Amanda has such a powerful, soulful and emotional voice, and she is an amazing entertainer, who is always engaging the audience with her stories and songs, as she knows exactly how to move the audience whether it be to clap along, get up and dance or shed a few heartfelt tears.

David Foster described Amanda’s voice as “sultry and unique”.  Combining her abilities of being a singer/songwriter/entertainer with her undeniable beauty and an inner beauty that brings forth her endless contributions towards humanitarian and philanthropic work, this woman is a true force to be reckoned with.

Amanda has always had a generous heart, which is easily seen by the love and support being reciprocated back to her by of all of her very close friends, family and loyal fans.

However, Amanda wanted to do more and she quickly realized that through her music she had the ability to give back to charities through fundraisers, galas etc.

There are a number of organizations that Amanda is passionate about supporting.
Cancer has deeply affected her family, as it took her husband Jesse’s father’s life. Through the Mission Possible Organization (mission-possible.ca) Amanda and her family are addressing the homelessness epidemic, which is abounding in Victoria and Vancouver.

I am personally, very grateful for having introduced Amanda to Ronald McDonald House BC. Since she became acquainted with the home, she has performed at Welcoming Receptions for the new RMH BC and the Night To Dream Gala at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

She sits on the committee for the Young Patrons Circle of the Vancouver Opera, a Non-Profit Organization, which is a Philanthropic Organization committed to engaging Vancouver’s next generation of Arts Patrons.

And AT LAST…but definitely nearest and dearest to her heart, Amanda supports Cystic Fibrosis Canada. She became involved with this organization recently when her nephew who is only 4 months old was diagnosed with this devastating disease in the first weeks of his life.

“As a family we have committed wholeheartedly to doing all we can to raising funds and awareness for finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.” ~ Amanda Wood

The most terrifying thing is that “Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure for CF.” ~ Cystic Fibrosis Canada pamphlet (www.cysticfibrosis.ca)

Photo Credit: Karolina Turek

After years of supporting other charitable organizations, Amanda is thrilled to be announcing her partnership with CF Canada this year for her 2nd Annual Christmas Concert “Celebrate the Love At Christmastime”, presented by Jesse Dean Cook, on Friday, December 12th 2014, at 8pm at the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver, BC. A portion of the concert proceeds will be donated to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

An incredible line up of musicians and Guest Artists join Amanda for this concert, and her Christmas Album, which was recorded at Bryan Adams Studio in Gastown, will be on sale that night. This is a holiday tradition that you and your friends and family will not want to miss!

If you have not seen Amanda perform, you will be in for a fabulous show from this amazingly, talented and beautiful woman as she pours her heart and soul into every performance. She just recently returned from performing the American National Anthem and God Bless America at the Buffalo Bills Game in New York City in front of 75,000 people and then performed again at a Private Gala in Washington D.C.

Be sure to catch her live in Vancouver before she heads back to Asia in the New Year where she will be fulfilling another contract of tours and performances.

Photo Credit: Karolina Turek

Amanda Wood. Once classified as a Jazz Singer, now moving in a Pop direction, confident with her own songs and a maturity to honor self.

She is without a doubt one of the busiest women I have ever known, but I can honestly say that I am blessed to call her one of my dearest friends. She epitomizes what it means to be compassionate, thoughtful and yet still determined to achieve ones goals.

Always “Respect people who find time for you in their busy schedule, but love people who never look at their schedule when you need them.” ~ unknown

AT LAST Amanda Wood truly feels like she has accomplished her goals and dreams, and as she continues on this exciting and uplifting journey more doors continue to open…

For more information about Amanda Wood and her music/career you can follow her on the following sites below:


For Christmas Concert Tickets:  http://www.kaymeekcentre.com/on_stage/2005

More Articles By Shannon Little: 

‘A Night to Dream Gala’ for Ronald McDonald House