Uncovered: Amara Gilraine keeps it original
City singer-songwriter back to writing music following 8-year break
When ALT 102.3 was on the hunt for its Homegrown Spotlight, DJ Zack Skyler knew exactly who fit the bill: Amara Gilraine.
“Amara is such a gifted singer-songwriter, and what really made an impact with me was her unique voice and quality songs,” Skyler said. “Songs like ‘Copperheads’ and ‘Breakaway’ are two of my favorites of hers.”
Gilraine started playing music at 11 and continued to do so for years until getting burned out and taking an extended break, going eight years before a friend asked her to play at a fundraiser in October.
“No one even came up after the show to say, ‘Oh, you did OK,’ ” Gilraine said. “It was horrific.
“I was just nervous, and just not really into the songs I was playing,” she added.
As much as she disliked the experience, Gilraine’s passion was reignited, and she’s been busy recording the last few months. Since posting her four-song EP Fiction on streaming services Oct. 30, she’s released five singles and a five-song EP, Anywhere But Here. Her most recent post was the demo single “No Mind to the Rain” on May 3.
Since then, she’s decided to take another small break, but will return for the Vines & Harmony Music Festival on Saturday, July 23, at Briali Winery in Fremont.
“I was playing two to three times a month, but they were longer gigs, and three-plus hour sets can get stressful, because there’s a lot of requests for covers, and that’s just not what I like to do,” she said, noting a 45-minute set at a festival is preferrable to her.
While taking a break from live shows, fans can still catch her on ALT 102.3, which has an hour dedicated to local music every Friday at 7 p.m.
“It’s been fun to listen on the local hour, to her my song, as well as hearing my friends’ songs,” Gilraine said.
And fun is all she wants her musical career to be for now.
“I came back with really low expectations,” she said. “I just want it to be fun. When I was playing at 18, I felt a lot of pressure. Right now, I don’t really have any goals.”
Along with the local music hour on Friday nights, artists are also featured at 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, with Gilraine continuing to be featured Thursday, June 30, and Sunday, July 3.
Next up in ALT Homegrown Spotlight are the Neon Straightjackets on Thursday, July 7; Sunday, July 10; Thursday, July 14; and Sunday, July 17.