BLANK’S GENERATION Amanda Blank

With an east coast
tour kicking off this week, there’s still no one else quite like her.

 

BY A.D. AMOROSI

 

Amanda Blank’s 2009 album I Love You was one of the year’s most hotly anticipated debuts. By
everyone: producer-du-jours Diplo, Switch and Dave Sitek who worked on the
Philadelphia MC/singer’s Love;
collaborators past and present like N.A.S.A., Ghostface Killah, M.I.A., Spank
Rock, Santigold, and the Cool Kids, the last three artiste-du-jours who’re all
over I Love You; everyone in the
sizzling disco, electro hop universe.

 

Except Blank.

 

“I still feel as if I’m a novice to this game and don’t have
my confidence up yet,” says Blank, from her South Philly row home. She’s been
doing this – as a member of the dramatically goofy Philadelphia conceptual art outfit
Sweatheart, as a holler-er and MC on other people’s recordings since the
oughts. 

 

You’d think the wry 28 year old (born: Amanda Mallory) would
be blasé to all this, especially when you hear her sexual wild-mouse of a
mouth. Her freak-a-deak-y foul haughtiness marked Spankrock’s YoYoYoYoYo a 2007 remix for Britney
Spears’ hit single “Gimme More” and Blank’s own 2009 single
“Might Like You Better” like a scarlet letter. “Yes, but that’s just
a part of me, you know” Blank says with a laugh. “Though I’ve been doing
raunchy stuff as part of Sweatheart forever, it’s taken me such a while to open
up and feel like I can do what I want and letting go of any inhibitions.”

 

I Love You is the
sound of letting go – but holding back with elegant reserve and holding her
tongue, too, since some of its songs like “Make It Take It” provide fun-packed
jump-rope rap romp about growing up in the suburbs of Philly with a bass line
courtesy ChkChkChk’s rhythm masters. “The whole thing is pretty brash.”

 

Brash is good. Since I’ve seen the brunette-tressed Blank
fashion-canvas-wrapped in designer discoid spandex and punk rock tight heights,
I had to know where she stood on what she stands in. “Oh, everything I wear is
black like my heart,” she giggles. That ironic distance and post-disco design
ideal makes her a perfect fit for the Downtown label, the mash-up dancehall
rock hop pop electro house that holds the contracts on Gnarls Barkley, Diplo,
Spank, and Santigold. They’ve given Blank and her crew of big brothers like
Diplo and Switch carte blanche: “Those two treat me just like a little sister.
They tease me and protect me. They’re mean to me and bother the boys around
me.”

 

Downtown has given Blank and her so-called younger siblings
(“Santi’s my girl and Spank’s my little brother”) the same consideration. “We
know what we’re doing ,” she laughs uproariously. Having witnessed a dinner
party at a pricey Philly restaurant where older men from labels-older-still
hawked over Blank like bulls in a duckling house, this writer has seen, head
on, the collision of generations at out-of-touch labels and why Downtown made
sense to her.  “The old dudes thought
they had to say that I was like Blondie and that Spank was like Prince to get
our ideas across,” laughs Blank. “That’s not for me. I’m not the next somebody
else.”

She’s right. She’s the one and only Amanda Blank.

 

Amanda Blank’s east
coast tour starts Feb. 10 in NYC. See tour dates and news at her official
website
.

 

 

 

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