Almost overnight young students across the country stepped up and began to demand action for gun safety in America. One of those was Amalia Fleming, a 17-year old high school student in Morro Bay whose social conscious emerged when she was 15 and felt urged to write a song regarding our political world.
Renegade was the result of her awakening and the title is prophetic as it means apostate, rebel, turncoat, betrayer, defector among other words. Amalia’s song reflects the pressures and anxieties that young people are experiencing in a world where any school day can come with a shooting and deaths.
Amalia debuted her song at the 2017 Women’s March in San Luis Obispo and later again at the March 14 National School Walkout where her performance was videoed. She was featured in the national compilation album Raise Your Voice that she debuted in October 2018 at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. This album also features many students who shared their music and poetry on the 11-track CD that was produced by Little Village Foundation.
Amalia was the winner of the 2017 New Times Music Awards. She began performing at the Morro Bay Wine Seller in 2014 at their open mic night and gained performing confidence on stage. In competition at Songwriters at Play she played two of her songs, Inked Tears and Breathing Fine and won Best Song Award for Breathing Fine. She now has her own album titled Vibrations and has composed and written over 20 original songs.
Music has been a part of Amalia’s life forever. Her Dad is a musician who plays bass guitar with a local band and has a recording studio in his home where Amalia can record her songs.
“I wrote my first song when I was nine,” she said, “for the kids’ talent part of Live Oak Music Festival. It was called ‘I Don’t Know How to Write a Song.’” Apparently, however, she learned how to do that and do it well. The music goes on and on in her family since her sister Rio, who is 13 years old, is also writing songs and won the New Times Award last year with one entitled “The Ocean is Full of Commotion.”
Next year Amalia will be a senior at Morro Bay High School where she is already getting ready for college taking advanced placement classes. She is enthusiastic about her last year at the school especially since the opening of the Jwing Maker Space devoted to visual and performing arts. “They have a full green room for TV production,” she explained, “and will have music technology and audio engineering classes.”
She recently became involved with the Students for Social Justice at the high school and participated in the Climate Change Strike demonstration where she performed Renegades.
“At the time that Trump was elected I was so depressed and that is when I wrote Renegades,” she said. She identifies her music as Alternative Pop and would love to be a big-time performing star. “I know life as a star is not as great as some people think,” she said, “but if music is my career, I’ll be happy.” With that in mind, she is looking for colleges that offer good music major programs and has investigated one in Boston and one in Denver.
Amalia has a boyfriend, Jacob, who she met while performing at Live Oak and they have been dating for over a year. One day she does hope to be married and have children. Aside from writing songs, performing, dating and studying, she likes to swim and is on the high school swim team. She likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends and surf. “Fun for me is always music though,” she said.
While she likes to write love songs Amalia thinks it is important to create social justice pieces. “I am really interested in global conflicts,” she said, “and want to inspire people. The main purpose of music can be a huge influence on audiences, and I don’t think famous artists are taking advantage of that. I want to do that.”