Amanda Keeles. (Photo provided by Kari Zalik)

Country artist with Wingham ties returns

Amanda Keeles, a country artist with ties to Wingham, is making a stop on her tour at the Wingham Town Hall on June 8.

Keeles is excited for her tour, especially because music has been put on the back burner for a portion of her life.

After getting married in her 20s and starting a family, she made the big decision to step away from what she loved.

"I became a mom and to fill the void of not having music, I started to study as my children got a little older," said Keeles. "I studied designation after designation and years later, as my kids got older, unfortunately my marriage ended after several decades and I got to the point where I was at the top of my career."

What may feel like a great position to be in professionally, something had always felt like it was missing for Keeles.

"I still had that music passion in me and I thought, what is stopping me from doing what I absolutely love?" said Keeles. "That is when I made the decision that if I'm going to do this, I have to do this 100 per cent all in."

She decided to leave her finance job and has been pursuing music ever since.

"When I sing, when I write, and I perform, it's this inner happiness that I feel," she said. "I think that when people come and see the shows, they can see that projecting. It's something that I felt I've waited half my life to do."

Keeles' love for music was instilled in her by her mother, Nettie Bedard.

"My family was very musical from the time I was little," she said. "My mother was very influential with the classic country music and always encouraged my brothers and I to perform, to learn an instrument. "

Keeles' said her mother was part of the CKNX Travelling Barn Dance. She was named the "sweetheart of the barn dance" and her outfit sits in the CKNX Barn Dance Museum.

Nettie Bedard. (Photo provided by Amanda Keeles)

This very meaningful connection was a big reason why Keeles decided to add Wingham to the tour route.

"My mom had performed up in that area and I thought if she was here, she would absolutely love coming and seeing me perform in the area where it really all started for her," said Keeles.

For anyone out there who is putting off following their dreams, Keeles has some words of inspiration for you.

"It is never too late to follow what you love, your dream, your passion," she said. "Taking that step outside the box and following something that you really want to do is such an empowering feeling. I'm a big believer you only live once in this life and if you don't do the thing you've always wanted to do, years down the road, you may regret you didn't find the courage to take the step and go experience life."

The show on June 8 at the Wingham Town Hall will include something for everyone, according to Keeles. There's high energy country with some classic rock influence. All songs from her debut album, Can't Stop Me Now, will be featured.

More information on the event can be found here.

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