“They’re my engine. They propel me forward and make everything possible,” singer-songwriter Amy Allen said of her supporting band. Bright and bubbly, Allen has an infectious warmth that makes it clear why her songs are so sweet. Her band’s latest single “Last Forever” is a swinging, playful tune that “captures her influences,” and it’s as cute and flirty as a vintage floral dress. “I connected listening to the girl bands of the 50’s and 60’s,” Allen noted. “My music is retro and quirky.”

But it’s not all sugary sweet. “I listened to a lot of classic rock [She’s been to 13 Rolling Stones concerts], Fleetwood Mac, and Led Zeppelin as well,” said Allen. “I wrap it all up together and put my own twist on it that’s more modern, a bit classic rock, a little Motown and a little pop.” Upbeat power song “Stronger” turns the energy to high and gives a preview of what’s to come on Amy & The Engine‘s Spring EP: a wealth of vocal talent and catchy melodies you’ll be singing in the sunshine.

It’s no wonder she’s so sunny; she’s doing what she loves. “Writing songs with my friend Griffin, performing and feeling the energy of others onstage—that’s when I’m happiest.” Allen beams. “I grew up singing with my sister, playing in the same pub every week from about age 13 on. The shared experiences I have with them and what I’m doing now—it all shapes my music. I’m a small-town girl from Portland. I moved to a big city, and now I’m making music and living my dream.”

Allen didn’t always know what she wanted. “After my sister went off to college I decided to continue solo, and I made my senior project my first EP, “Honey,” sold it and put the profits to this orphanage I had worked at in Tanzania,” she said. While supporting the orphanage was the main goal of the project, Allen explained, “As I was doing that, I realized how much I loved writing songs, recording them—the whole process. But then I went to Boston College and I was studying nursing. Music became my side thing until my sister convinced me to audition for The Voice—to live in LA for a few weeks and be immersed in it.”

For Allen, that was the turning point. “I came back and just thought ‘What am I doing?'” She laughed. “I realized that I needed to be doing music, what I loved. So I applied to Berklee my sophomore year and switched in the following Fall.”

From her start, opening for a bluegrass band in a Portland pub, Allen has now done shows around New England and even played at an artists’ lounge at Lollapalooza. After her friends Adam and Dave graduated, however, Allen was still in need of a band, so she and her friend took to Facebook to find new members. “We had an overwhelming response!” Allen said. “And when we were interviewing, we had such a hard time because I love everyone and I couldn’t narrow it down.” Eventually she found her core group of guys and Amy & The Engine was born.

Her lyric writing is as much a fusion of her experiences as it is a blend of genres. “A lot of times I’ll be writing about my life, but I’m really close with my sisters and sometimes I’ll be writing through the lens of their experiences as well.” This mix of genres and topics will come across in their upcoming EP where fans can expect a bit “more variety than ‘Last Forever'” and their new single “Love Me” will incorporate more of “girl synth-pop vibe” and be a bit more “edgy, incorporating more of a Tegan and Sarah vibe.”

Her favorite thing about Boston music scene? Allen noted that there’s an unexpected amount of music in Boston, “from wedding, all-purpose bands to up-and-coming college bands to older Irish rock bands,” and all of it “mixes and shares and builds with each other” in a variety of genres.

There might be a hodgepodge of musical talent in Boston, but one thing is for sure: With strong female vocals and cheerful sing-along melodies, Amy & The Engine won’t get lost in the shuffle.

 

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