Amanda KeelesJorge Polio Photography

Amanda Keeles

Saturday, March 2 marks the release of “Can’t Stop Me Now”, the debut album of award-winning London, Ontario singer/songwriter Amanda Keeles. To celebrate the event, Amanda will be performing at Chatham’s Kiwanis Theatre as part of her album release tour that hits nine stops across Ontario over the next four months.

Amanda Keeles embodies the living testament that there exists no predetermined timeline for pursuing one’s dreams. Life often throws unexpected curves, making it tempting to believe that the opportune moment has passed. For this soulful-voiced artist from London, the roles of wife and mother took precedence in her life, temporarily diverting the energy she once dedicated to her musical passion into a flourishing career in finance.


Reflecting on her early days in music, Amanda fondly reminisced, “I started at a very young age, performing and singing. I had great momentum in my teens and twenties. This is something I’ve always wanted to do—songwriting, recording, and performing.” However, life took an unexpected turn as her musical momentum collided with her marriage. Faced with the choice of upsetting the equilibrium or putting her music on hold to prioritize family, Amanda chose the latter. She spent a significant period concentrating on her family and, to fill the void left by the absence of music, immersed herself in a career in finance, acquiring various designations over the years.

“As the years went on, that love of music never left me, and I lost myself. I started being what everybody else expected me to be, and I didn’t recognize myself anymore. The music started coming out in me again, and I started writing. Unfortunately, my marriage ended, and that was the turning point. It was a huge decision to make that big of a change. I was at the top of my career in a very lucrative position, which was not filling that void. I decided to start doing my music, and you can’t juggle both. If you’re dedicating yourself to performing, going on the road, and recording, it’s a full-time job. So, I left my job and started doing this full-time, and I absolutely love it.”

Embarking on a journey that demanded immense courage and determination, Amanda transitioned from a secure and well-paid career in finance to follow her musical calling. This transition did not occur overnight; rather, it unfolded gradually. Several tracks on “Can’t Stop Me Now” were written over the years, capturing different moments and emotions experienced by Amanda during various phases of her life.

Describing the tracks on the album, Amanda reflects, “The title track is “Can’t Stop Me Now”, and the tour is the same name because that is really what I’m feeling right now, is there’s nothing that can stop me except for myself. So that song kind of came later than all the rest of them, but I have a large collection of songs. Every single song on the album sounds completely different than the other one, and it’s because I’ve written them at all different parts of my life. Whether it’s something I’ve gone through, something I’ve heard, or something on TV or radio that really struck me or impacted me. That’s where my material is drawn from.”

“I’ve got a classic country one that I wrote two decades ago because my mother was a big classic country influence for me. Then you’ll hear the next one which is a very different instrumental piano piece that I wrote. And then you have Can’t Stop Me Now and Playin’ It Cool which are these very upbeat, fun songs that reflect where I am in my life right now, where I’m happy and my heart is full.”

Amanda’s musical roots run deep, nurtured by the influences within her family. Growing up surrounded by siblings who were musicians, she gained insights into the industry and found inspiration to traverse a similar path.

Amanda explains, “I have two brothers who also play music. My oldest brother Bill was named Alberta’s Best New Artist a few decades ago. He’s very active on the Calgary scene. The other brother Mark is a one-man show. He takes his acoustic guitar and he does one-person shows throughout Ontario. We’ve always had a lot of music in the family and it’s funny that their music exposure was earlier for them. Now I’m coming out a little bit later than they are in life and they’re sitting back and getting a big kick out of this. Baby sister is now doing her thing after all this time.”

In her musical journey, Amanda is acutely aware of the evolving landscape for musicians today, having witnessed her brothers navigate the industry decades ago. Commenting on the challenges then compared to today, she shared, “When my oldest brother put out some songs to radio and did well back then, there was none of this social media sharing. There was no downloading or Spotify where anybody can put music out there now. It’s such a busy space out there. It’s crazy how many independent artists are out there trying to get their music heard. I think it takes a lot of drive, a lot of patience, and not getting discouraged, because there are going to be hurdles. And a lot of musicians may think, “There’s no chance if I hit a hurdle.” I don’t know. It just fires me up even more.”

“It is a heavily male-dominated industry. It’s getting better, though. I think there are a lot of good female artists that advocate for other female artists. If they are getting a little bit of exposure, they’re not hesitant to bring some more females on board to get a little bit more of a balance. But it comes down to the product, though, too. You have got to have a product that people want to listen to, and there’s an audience for everybody out there, I believe.”

Produced by Grammy and CCMA-nominated Johnny Gasparic at Calgary’s renowned MCC studio, “Can’t Stop Me Now” showcases Amanda Keeles’ musical prowess. Gasparic enlisted a group of accomplished musicians, including Justin Kudding (Brett Kissel), Chris Byrne (The Road Hammers), Joey McIntyre (Duanne Steele), Keith Floen and Therry Lawson (The Travelling Mabels), and Calgary artist Bill Blayney.

Curious about how she secured a producer of such caliber for her debut album, I asked Amanda. She recounted,“My brother Bill knew Johnny from the music scene, and I wanted to find a producer that would really do my songs justice. I had heard that he’s worked with Gord Bamford, and I’ve heard a lot of material that he’s done. So, I asked Bill, “Do you think Johnny would be open to listening to my demos and see what he thinks?” And so, he did, and it was quiet for a little bit, and then he came back and said, “Let’s do it. I will do them up for you.”, and he pulled in some heavy hitters to come in and play on it. My songs just exploded when we got into the studio. They sounded like my songs, but just a thousand times better.”

With four songs released over the past year and the album release less than a week away, these are heady times for the effervescent songbird from Forest City. The first show of the tour was in her hometown at the Wolfe Performance Hall and the experience was uplifting, to say the least.

Gushed Amanda, “It was a fantastic time. We had a great crowd, very receptive. I got an encore for the first show, which was such a thrill for me. It let me know that people enjoyed it. And the one thing that I was really touched by is that we did a meet and greet in the lobby afterward, and the lobby was full. People stuck around after the show and some people waited over half an hour because there were so many people to go through. That really showed me that people want to connect.”

Amanda’s story is inspiring and it’s just the beginning. I asked her what advice she would give to others who feel that life has gotten in the way of their dreams.

“For anyone who feels like an opportunity to do what they love has passed, it is never too late to follow that dream. A lot of the industry does look at younger people when it comes to signing, but I’m going to break that mold because I’m just getting started. I have the drive, the passion, the music, so, there’s really no age for this.”

“Don’t be afraid to take that step. I was terrified. Walking away from a relationship that was lifelong for me and leaving a good-paying job, it’s frightening. But when you take such a complete 360 turn and follow what you love, you will find that you’re going to get greater happiness from that than any money that you could receive from a job that you’re just going through the motions with or any relationship that you felt that you had to stay in because everybody else expected you to.”

“I’m so happy and feeling so positive about what I’m doing that positivity attracts positive things. I think that’s the mindset people have to get if they’re thinking about making big changes in their lives. You have to think of the positive things that will come from it.”

Show number two is Saturday, March 2 at Kiwanis Theatre, 75 William St N, Chatham ON. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the box office or at

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