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No Room for Compromise

A vivacious 18-year-old who loves the Lord, she is a leading Canadian country music phenomenon whose first single made it to number seven on the charts.

If you were a scientist researching the correlation between talent and the gene pool you would need to look no further than Amanda Stott, Canada's latest country music phenomenon. This spirited 18-year-old embodies all the proof you need. Her dad plays five instruments including the banjo, accordion, and piano; her brother plays the drums and saxophone; and her mom sings. Their skills have been honed through years of playing in the church orchestra. It was in church, in fact, where Amanda sang her first solo. "I was three and a half years old," she says, "and the song was 'I May Be Small, But I Have a Great Big God.'"

Amanda Stott, her self-titled, debut CD, was released in April 2000. By every indication, Amanda is all grown up now. Her first single hit number seven on the country radio charts. "Black is Black" left no doubt among music fans who Amanda Stott is and what she values. "'Black is Black' is exactly my life," she said. "It gives people a really good idea how I will not compromise the values in my life."

Even before the successful release of Amanda Stott, she had performed with some of the biggest names in Canadian music; sharing the stage with people like Chantal Kreviazuk, Burton Cummings, Prairie Oyster, Randy Bachman, Natalie MacMaster, and Paul Brandt. But Amanda will tell you that her most fulfilling moment came in early 2000 when she performed in the Family Farm Tribute at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. For her nothing happens by accident or coincidence. "The Tribute is a perfect example," she says. "The performance was in March, right before the album was released. It was amazing how God put me in that position because I grew up on a family farm and knew what the concert was about. Because of that, every major newspaper in Canada wanted to interview me. It was absolutely incredible the way God used how I grew up to promote me just before the CD came out."

Amanda Stott dedicated the album to her sister Andrea Leigh-Ann, who died in an accident at age three several years before Amanda was born.

Amada lives with her mom Tiena, dad Cyril, and 24-year-old brother Conrad on their 950-acre organic grain and cattle farm near Brandon, MB. Tiena accompanied Amanda on her recent tour with the Wilkinsons. After the concert in Hamilton Place Amanda signed autographs for her fans. "It wasn't a Christian concert," Tiena said, "but it was just amazing how many people asked Amanda if she was a Christian. 'Your face just radiates that,' they said."

Amanda admits that it's not widely known in the music industry that she is a Christian (her strong family and religious ties are boldly publicized by her label, Warner Music Canada) but people do pick up her solid Christian foundation through her music. She finds that some of her best opportunities for witness come when she is answering her e-mail from fans. "They will say something like, 'Man, you really shine!' and that gives me an opportunity to share what God is doing in my life," she said.

Amanda started attending Calvary Temple about five years ago. The Tuesday night Bible study led to her involvement in the church's youth program. From there it was an easy transition to Sunday services. "Amanda's the genuine article," Greg Foley, her pastor, said. "She's an excellent role model and kids in the community look up to her. We're so proud of her."

Does Amanda ever question her calling into the secular music scene? "I think the world needs positive messages," she says. "People concentrate so much on the negativity around them, things they see in the news every day. I want to focus on singing about positive, uplifting things and sending a good, strong message. A message of hope."

Rick Hiebert is the editor of Testimony.

Originally published in Testimony, March 2001.




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