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AMANDA MARTINEZ Releases Mañana on April 22 on CEN/Red via Sony Music

Produced by Grammy-Winner Javier Limón (Buika, Mariza, Paco de Lucía),
Toronto Singer’s U.S. debut blends Latin pop, Mexican folk and flamenco

Former TD Bank Exec Abandoned Finance Career to Pursue Artistic Dreams

Fri May 2 New York, NY Joe’s Pub / “Ciclo” de Mayo CD release party
Wed May 21 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Music
Thu May 22 Cleveland, OH Nighttown

Backing musicians: Kevin Laliberte (guitar), Alberto Suarez (percussion) Paco Luviano (bass), Alexander Brown (trumpet)

VIDEO: “Va y Viene”
VIDEO: Toronto rehearsal “Que Bonita Esta La Vida”


“One of the greatest voices in the world” – Javier Limón

Mañana, the new Latin/world recording by Canadian singer and songwriter Amanda Martínez, is a celebration of hope, possibility -- and persistence.

Sung mostly in Spanish and co-produced by Spanish flamenco producer and guitarist Javier Limón (Paco de Lucía, Buika, Diego El Cigala), winner of a GRAMMY® and two Latin GRAMMY® awards, Mañana offers a fresh new twist to her distinctive sound, a blend of Latin pop, Mexican folk music and flamenco with tinges of jazz and Afro-Cuban music. It’s her first release in the U.S, out April 22, 2014 on CEN/Red via Sony Music.

The overall feel of Mañana is at once deeply personal and universal, as audiences will see at her CD release concert at NYC’s Joe’s Pub on Friday May 2 at 7pm, jump-starting Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Her New York concert, dubbed “Ciclo de Mayo” also celebrates her father Gustavo Martinez’s life-changing trip from Mexico City to Toronto – 80 days by bicycle! -- in 1956, the subject of the recent documentary, Ciclo. Trailer: Ciclo trailer

“Music is such a powerful force,” she says. “It can not only really change my mood but also give me new perspectives on things. So what I’d like to bring to the listener is a sense of hope. Every day is an opportunity to try something different and look at a challenge in a new way.”

For Amanda Martínez, these are not platitudes but a way of life.

She was once on what seemed a promising track as the Associate Director of Trade Finance for Latin America at TD Bank -- and then she walked away.

The daughter of a Mexican father (an engineer) and a South African mother (a teacher), Amanda Martínez grew up in Toronto, speaking English and Spanish, and listening to her father´s eclectic record collection, which included classical music, Latin legends like Trio Los Panchos, bossa nova and jazz, including Stan Getz and Cleo Laine. “But there was one album I used to listen to all the time. It was Joan Baez’s Gracias A La Vida. It had songs from the nueva canción (new song) repertoire and traditional Mexican songs, and I listened to it over and over and over.”

She studied ballet, took piano lessons and got a taste of being on stage while performing in musicals in high school. “People would come and ask me if this is what I wanted to do for a living, and I would always say ‘Oh no, no, no. It’s just a hobby,’ because my parents -- even though they were very supportive -- didn’t see it as a stable career.”

Instead, she graduated with a degree in Biology from the University of Western Ontario, then a masters degree in international business from York University’s Schulich School of Business, specializing in marketing in Latin America. She was recruited right on campus by a major bank. “On paper it seemed a great fit because I was going to look at their business in Latin America,” she says. “But even in that first interview, something just didn’t feel right. I knew it was not me.”

And yet, after less than a year, her boss wanted to promote her, giving her more responsibilities. And then it all came to a head.

“I thought ‘Oh, my lord, this is my life?’ I remember being in a business suit, coming back from lunch. They always have music in the financial district and I remember hearing this well-known Toronto singer and suddenly I started to cry. I felt so emotional, thinking that no one knew I would actually feel much more comfortable on that stage than in that suit.”

She took time off from the bank and never went back. “I decided I had never given this dream of singing a real chance, and I didn’t want to be 80 years old, looking back and thinking what might have been.” So she walked into a small jazz club, got an audition with the house band the following night, and secured a spot singing on Monday nights.

Since then, Amanda has recorded two albums -- Sola (2006) and Amor (2009) - which earned her nominations as Latin Jazz Artist of the Year at Canada’s National Jazz Awards and won her Best World Music Artist at Toronto’s Independent Music Awards. She also sang before 30,000 people at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (appropriately before the Mexico-South Africa match) and recorded and toured with Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook. Complementing her work as a singer, Amanda also hosted Café Latino on Toronto’s JAZZFM91 radio for three years, and continues to work in film and television. She is also an ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages, a global organization that helps abandoned and orphaned siblings stay united as families. A young mother of three, Martinez calls the SOS mission “a cause close to my heart.”

All but two of the songs on Mañana are originals by Amanda, including collaborations with Javier Limón, Latin GRAMMY-winner Fernando Osorio and Elsten Torres. Highlights include the opening “Va y Viene,” which tells a border love story; Amanda´s dark “Frozen,” sung in English; the positivity anthem “Esperanza Viva,” (Ligingor the hopeful “Nuevos Caminos” and the title track. There is also a change of pace with “Le Chemin” a gentle, Beatles-esque lullaby co-written with husband Drew Birston, the bass player in the band, and sung in English and French.

Amanda says she didn’t think about one over-arching theme for the album beforehand. “It was only afterwards that I realized that a lot of the songs talk in some way about hope and what a new day can bring. That’s why I decided to call the record Mañana. Tomorrow is a new chance to start over again.”