Women Making Music: Amy LaDeroute

Singer, Voice-Over Actor, Warrior Living in the Flow State

Approximately two years ago Amy began sharing on social media, what she calls a “Daily Joy Log.” Initially, it was a meant to impart amusing and enlightening thoughts as reminders to women especially, that tapping into joy, on either a daily or an as-needed basis, is essential for greater health and well-being. As it turns out, she’s come to realize now that these writings are meant for her to utilize as well, in an even more significant way.

Amy LaDeroute. Photo by Ken LaDeroute.

Amy LaDeroute. Photo by Ken LaDeroute.

Since July of 2014, the daily joy log has been in remission. She’s had to focus on becoming a warrior after being diagnosed with Stage-2 breast cancer. The gamut of emotions a person goes through after receiving this type of health news have not been lost on this incredibly positive, talented, capable, extraordinary woman. She got to crack-a-lackin’ alright, becoming stalwart in educating herself on all things medically healing, both traditional and alternative, to combat the illness in her body.

2015 is starting now and as she reflects back on her life’s journey, her career, her reason for living, what she uncovered in our recent conversation is profound and substantial. And now the daily joy log will be used for a higher purpose as she resumes entries that will include, in part, reflections and musings on the past few months of her life and beyond.

Her success in not succumbing to the sadness and fear or losing the vital part of her core being, which is finding the joy in all of life’s colors, is an inspiration to the lot of us. Amy has been keenly awake in life and thus aware of the signs meant for her to heed.

From the time she was a little one, she’s laughed easily, entertained herself and mimicked the funny people who have tickled her fancy as well as the singers who, at the beginning of her cognitive life, she related to the most. Dancing and singing and laughing and acting are all she’s really ever wanted to do.

Changing it up once she’s wrung the inspiration out of something is part of her natural process. For instance, she has played music with her guitar-playing husband, Ken, for over 30 years. Recently they changed the focus of their longstanding dance band; the material is more edgy now and the players more in line with what they envision will take them to another level of musical creativity. “The Itch” is what they call the band now and the playlist is shaping up to be one that focuses on originality as opposed to copying tunes from the Top 40. Recalibrating the group on all levels enables Amy to explore and go deeper and this year she tells me it’s all about finding her own voice, her own interpretations.

Her illness has shone a light on that desire and draws her toward accomplishing more. She plans to take voice lessons and would like to learn to play piano. The path she’s been on in the entertainment industry has been a joyful one where pleasing the audience is key. But now she’s making ready for something new to manifest. She’s looking for a place where she can really stretch out and experiment with her own sound and style. Following the light within and trusting it, instead of being apprehensive about it, is her intention.

Her music adventures began in Dayton, Ohio in the 1970’s during junior high and high school and after auditioning for and getting into an ensemble of 20 young show boaters called the Shand Pebbles. They toured the Midwest for a time and, just before graduation, she auditioned for a band that was looking for a dynamic front person. When she won the slot, she asked her mom if they could practice in their basement. She recalls with great appreciation how her family supported her from the start. Her mom, Ruth, would make dinner for everyone and both of her parents proudly attended those first local gigs. When Amy declared, at seventeen, that she was going on the road to play clubs and hotel bars, her parents allowed her to do so, thinking she’d get homesick and return in short order. For the next 14 years, her home was the road, her booking agent her boss and her surrogate family her band mates.

When they eventually disbanded, her booking agent lost no time in garnering Amy more auditions with more bands. Bouncing from one group to another allowed her to hone her musicality and when she accepted the invitation to try out for a group from Canada, it was an opportunity she didn’t flinch in accepting. There she met the love of her life, Ken LaDeroute. The match was, at first, one of friendship. The touring entourage included wives, children and pets and because they were the only two single people within it, their relationship in time gravitated to a romantic one. Back then, acts played for up to three-month stints at resorts and hotels and while on tour they married during one of these long term layovers.

It was in 1989 when Amy and Ken sold most everything they owned and, on a whim, set out from Canada for Western North Carolina, sight unseen. After playing as a duo they called “Qui” using backing tracks to sound like a five-piece band for many years around Canada, they decided they needed and wanted to settle down in an actual home of their own, and the much acclaimed town of Asheville was their destination.

The opportunity to invest in a yogurt franchise in Boone, NC arose, requiring them to leave Asheville after only eight months. They lived there until 2004. During her time in Boone, she saw a television advertisement for the local cable provider looking for a voice-over actor to do a commercial. In the ad it invited interested parties to submit a demo. After hand delivering the tape, she landed the job and didn’t realize that voice-over acting was an actual career. She responded because it intrigued her and it sounded like fun.

I met Amy at one of my performances 10 years ago and we became sister-mates. Because we’re dear friends and have worked together on a show or two, she confided in me that by the time she moved back to Asheville, entertaining had lost its luster and she began to struggle a bi, in finding her true calling. However, within this quasi-hiatus she realizes she misses singing and performing and therefore she’s again exploring ways that she might come back into it on a more regular basis. While she’s been vacillating, she’s wasted no time in continuing to engage purpose. She recently took an acting class which has given way to theater acting opportunities for which she sometimes doesn’t even have to audition. She is a natural comedic actress. Pursuing acting sparked the desire to launch an independent voice-over side line that has now become more of a full time vocation.

Giving back is as important to Amy as receiving the things that benefit her personally and financially. She’s made room for her passion for animals and people and fits in hours volunteering for local organizations.

Amy grew up with an older brother Rick, who has overcome three different cancers himself. When she informed him she had decided to combine Eastern and Western medicine options to treat hers, incorporating holistic approaches like juicing, no grain, no sugar as well as Vitamin C drips and Chelation therapy, Rick told her he would have expected no less from a woman he’s come to realize consciously practices the energized focus of the flow state.

Please visit Amy’s voice-over website where you can hear sound bites of her work, view a list of her clients and where you can access her Daily Joy Log: www.amyladeroute.com.

Peggy Ratusz is a writer, songstress and vocal coach. Visit her at reverbnation.com/peggyratusz or contact her at [email protected].

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