Until her 30s, Amanda Emblem knew herself as Kylie Natasha Cowling – her adopted name.
On finding her original birth certificate, 'Amanda Emblem' sounded more like a rockstar name to her, and so The Amanda Emblem Experiment became a study of what could happen using that name.
Prior to that discovery, Emblem (as Cowling) made music as a front person and bassist, enjoying successes touring Japan with all-girl punk band Legless that evolved into Diva Demolition, who toured Australia supporting KISS, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, and Aerosmith in New Zealand.
Emblem befriended Doc Neeson of The Angels and looked up to him as a mentor. "It's not what he would tell you, it's how he conducted himself. Doc was a great people person," Amanda says.
Emblem has continued to write and record, and in the past 15 years has also completed 7 tours as a civilian performer for the Australian Defence forces. "I've been to Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Timor-Leste, and Solomon Islands.
"Sadly, all struck by war, and every time I come back, I feel really grateful that we are in a safe place. It gives you a real boost to do those tours as a musician. People are so keen just to have a slice of home. You feel like you have a true purpose."
Released in May 2018, 'Who Is Amanda Emblem?', the title of her debut album, didn't directly answer that question for Amanda. "It was more of a childhood question I was asking myself, 'Who am I?'."
Amanda entered 'No One's Perfect' from that 2018 album into the 2019 Akademia Awards in the US, winning Artist Of The Year; she followed up with Best Folk/Singer Songwriter for 'Mary Mary' from the 'Beautiful Blues' EP in 2020.
Those two songs acted as a bridge to where her current material is headed. "A need for simplicity and writing about now instead of the past," she says.
"'Beautiful Blues' is about looking at the blues as something extreme, articulate in nature, and whether you can make it your friend rather than your foe.
"'Mary Mary' is about spending time by the river as a kid, teenager, and adult. It goes through a life cycle that I hope a lot of people will relate to."
Emblem grows a market garden and lives on vast acreage in the Mary Valley, Sunshine Coast Hinterland, also home to the Mitchell Creek Rock and Blues Festival held each September. "There's a real spirit to Mitchell Creek," Emblem says.
"It's the most stunning and beautiful location, and everything is in abundance. . . the paw paws are as big as toddlers.
"Having a garden here is one of the most amazing experiences of my life, equal to touring with KISS and Motley Crue, and it's something I'm really grateful for.”
Emblem has felt inspired to write and record new material connected with the land. "The new songs are written very subconsciously and inspired by living rurally, away from the cities, and doing this organic life.
"My favourite so far is 'Last Miracle'. It's simple, folky and it's got so much great space and beautiful harmonies.
"On 'Lucky', I woke up one morning and there were six beautiful deer in the paddock right in front of me, so I wrote about that because it actually happened.
"I like recording in short blocks of songs. I'm not in any great hurry to have the new album come out, but I am in a great hurry to get back into the studio because it's so much fun."