Singer Amanie Illfated was born in South Sudan, a country torn apart by war. When she was 3-years-old her family moved to Canada. The civil war in South Sudan has been due to tribal war and religious conflict. In the North, people are mostly Muslim and are Christian in the South. Amanie who is the oldest of 4 siblings, is the musician in the family. Her younger brother is into sports. At age 4, when Amanie heard Celine Dion singing on TV she became interested in pursuing a singing career. She plays piano but for most of her music she uses digital programs. She likes many genres of music via her eclectic taste but she defines her music primarily as Pop, Reggae, World and Afro-beats. She writes all of her lyrics herself, although she occasionally collaborates with different producers and songwriters.
When she was 15, she wrote a tune entitled “2 Hot.” Her sister really liked it so Illfated put it online wherein she got 27,000 hits. Since then, Amanie’s music has captured international attention. Her hit singles ‘Letter To Myself’ and “Ultimate Candy’ received international acclaim. She was twice nominated. Once via the African Entertainment Awards for Best Female Artist and Musician of the Year and then by the South Sudanese ACE Awards. She produced an EP entitled Saturn via which her single The Hills has enjoyed popular appeal.
“It was from the mindset of a girl living two different lives,” explained the singer/songwriter. “I was born in Africa with an African heritage but I am also Canadian so there is a duality that I have via adapting to both cultures. I call the single “The Hills” because when I first wrote “The Hills” it was about refugees and immigrants escaping poverty and war and seeking asylum. They come to North America (NA) for a better life. But once they arrive in NA, they end up facing racism, classism and are treated very differently in NA. But regardless of what country one comes from it’s everyone’s goal to get to that place, that big hill whether it is Beverly Hills, Parliament Hill, and/or Capitol Hill in order to make a statement in their lives. It doesn’t matter whether the goal is wealth, power or seeking to make a change in the world,” stated Amanie. She continued:
“It was a big shock when Donald Trump put a ban on 7 countries, Sudan was on the list. It was hard seeing Trump’s treatment of Mexicans, South Americans, the treatment he demonstrated against Middle Easterners and the treatment of those involved in Islam. The harsh treatment was so blatant, I felt compelled to express my amazement in my The Hills single.”
Amanie fell into modeling accidentally for a short time but her focus has been on her music primarily. Over the years, Amanie has built a strong network of support in the community. She uses her music to bring attention to the conflicts in South Sudan. She encourages young girls and women to strive toward their goals and overcome personal traumas. She has done speeches, performances and fundraisers for organizations such as Girl Guides of Canada, Matthew House and UNHCR to help her people.
On May 8, 2017, Amanie did a demonstration in traditional South Sudanese clothing at Yonge & Dundas Square (similar to Times Square in NYC) to bring attention to the women and children who are raped and tortured in South Sudan. “Of course the war has affected the soldiers but there are two groups that get impacted the most by the conditions in Sudan. It is the women and children. There is a lot of rape that occurs that gets brushed under the rug. Children are starving. Both women and children are basically trying to survive. I am working on a song called “Peacemaker” to call attention to their plight. I am also working on another song called Sex about how women are being abused. It is considered a dishonor if a woman talks about her abuse and rape; however I am encouraging women to speak up and speak out. A lot of how women are treated has to do with miseducation. Men want their women pure. If a woman is not a virgin she is considered damaged,” remarked the Sudanese turned Canadian. “A woman can be beaten by her husband. And if the family has accepted a dowry, the family feels they can’t do anything against the husband. Therefore, the family talks the woman into returning to her husband. The law does little. If a rape is reported, not all the time, but most of the time, the authorities will turn on the woman reporting the rape and tell her she shouldn’t have been out or if the woman was dating the man, the law in Sudan does not consider it rape.”
Although women have the freedom to choose not to get married, single women are looked upon as witches or speculated that something is wrong with them. This mindset and behavior takes place mainly in rural areas. In the cities, people are starting to become more educated. But still stigmas remain.
Ms. Illfated studied Entertainment Business Management which was helpful in understanding how to promote and use the social media networks to publicize her musical endeavors. Her music caught the attention of Yaba Angelosi, a prominent South Sudanese artist who collaborated with her on the Afro-dance pop single ‘You & Me,’ which was released with her self-titled EP on November 21, 2015 along with hit singles ‘Letter To Myself’and‘Ultimate Candy.’ The singles not only made it into circulation on international radio stations, but also got great critical response from industry professionals around the world including Nelly Furtado. This attention opened up bookings at well known festivals such as Afrofest,TDotFest and Francophonie En Fête. Additionally, she has performed on Rogers TV for the talk show ‘Men 101.‘ She has been showcased and interviewed in magazines such as Canadian Musician and The Vocalist Magazine and continues to maintain an international base of over 140,000 fans on social media. Her hope is to one day perform in America.
Interested parties can find Amanie’s music on CD Baby, Spotify, Amazon, Itunes, etc and can look up her personal information on most of the social media platforms. For further info on Amanie Illfated listen to her show on Topically Yours at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blakeradio/2018/10/29/topically-yours–singer-amanie-illfated