At a poignant break in Amanda Dewell’s recording session at Abbey Road Studios in London last summer, Joe Wilson, who’d brought her there with other young musicians, couldn’t find her.
On a catwalk overlooking Studio 3, he spotted her. There she’d been for 20 minutes, she told him, “just thinking.”
“What the hell about?” Wilson asked.
“About everything that happened here before me, and everything that will happen after,” Dewell answered.
Dewell had cause to reflect; the studio she was looking down into, and in which she was recording her first album with the help of some of the best music producers on the planet, using some of the most-advanced equipment in the world, was the same one in which Pink Floyd recorded Dark Side of the Moon more than 40 years ago. Next door was Studio 2, where the Beatles recorded Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and other legendary albums.
Heady stuff for the-17-year-old Auburn High School student.
Dewell is about to release that album, HUND, a compilation of all-original songs. Hund, she explained, is the Swedish word for dog, and the title is a tribute to her Swedish heritage.
“We’ll probably release the album by the third week of April,” Wilson said. “We’re waiting for it to be mastered, and if it gets mastered by the end of this week, then we’ll have it by the end of this month. She’s thrilled, thrilled to get it over with. She’s on to the next one already, and she’s already written two more songs.”
Wilson, a veteran of the local music scene, a longtime employee of Ted Brown Music, and a veteran of recording studios from here to Los Angeles, took Dewell and other youngsters who’d studied at his rock ’n roll school for kids in Tacoma to London last June.
Wilson, who met Dewell when she was 11 at the school and in a band that had taken first place in a competition at his school that summer, was knocked over by her cry-of-the-heart, “Broken.” Dewell wrote it in 10 minutes to answer the need for another song for the contest, but in it she displayed the musical maturity and pathos of a much older person, and an amazing talent.
Dewell recalled her experience at Abbey Road, one of modern music’s sacred places.
“To be honest, I don’t closely follow Pink Floyd’s albums and the Beatles albums. I know that they are big names in music, and I appreciate their music, but I’m kind of ignorant about that kind of stuff. But kind of the overall feeling – despite not being completely brushed-up on the history – was you could still feel something in the studio. It was really cool, and it was unlike anything I had ever felt before, especially when I was trying to record emotional pieces, and it definitely helps to have sort of an emotional aura,” Dewell said.
“It was fascinating. She was put into places she didn’t really understand. She didn’t understand what Abbey Road meant, and what really happened there. So before she left, I told her to look up Dark Side of the Moon. … You could put half a symphony in that studio, and Studio 1 is where they do all the film work. It was unbelievable. I had no idea that any place could be that immense and that cool,” Wilson said.
As might have been expected, Dewell was nervous for the first two or three songs, but soon enough she found her groove.
“She said it did up her game a lot, and when we finally got the stuff back from London and started to play with it here, it was incredibly well done. I mean, the difference between her voice as they recorded it there, and previous recordings was absolutely unbelievable.
“This was really meant to be nothing but a demo, really, a high-dollar demo, if you will,” Wilson said. “I didn’t think of it as something that could actually be an album, or something you would release as an album. When we got it back – and there weren’t a whole lot of instruments on it, just one instrument on most of the songs ,and her voice – we and a lot of people from different parts of the country played around with it as to what to do with it. I wanted to have a recording of just her voice and instrumental accompaniment to take to the record labels, and I wanted them to fill in the holes. Ultimately, I was told that was probably the best decision I ever made.”
Before she left for London, Dewell described her process to the Auburn Reporter. Dewell writes – typically in her room at home – of her own experiences, but her songs are multi-faceted, touch on universal themes, say many things. And while she writes, the melody composes itself in her head.
“It’s strange mostly because I feel that I’m not even saying what I’m feeling correctly, so that’s where I think the most difficulty comes. I use it mostly as a therapeutic thing. It’s nice when you can write down what you’re feeling because it makes it easier to grasp onto something that’s not tangible. If I don’t do that, it can make me feel more stressed out or depressed,” Dewell said then.
“It’s an interesting way of writing something,” Wilson said. “She’s not writing about little kids’ things, she’s actually writing adult sort of lyrics, but always about something that is affecting her at some point. I played ‘Broken’ for a guy on an airplane. He was 65, and he said, ‘This woman is writing about my life, singing about my life.’ ”
To hear one of the songs off of Dewell’s soon-to-be-released album, visit the link below.