Amy Abts is a musician, writer, actor and artist who from the age of 7 has been performing consistently over 34 years. A native Minnesotan, Amy studied acting and started performing in her hometown of Rochester. In 1994 she graduated from the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minneapolis and moved to Duluth to study acting at the University of MN. During this time she began to perform her own songs (previously played only in her bedroom) in front of actual people, spurred by a chance opportunity to play live on Duluth's pirate radio station Random Radio. She recorded demos from the basement of Duluth's central hillside (Shaky Ray Records) to Low's home studio to TASCAM 4-tracks in random living rooms. She was the first performer ever at Duluth's Homegrown Music Festival, now in its' 20th year. She graduated with a BFA in acting and her focus shifted to writing and performing music full time.
She recorded and released her first album in 1999 which consisted of Amy on guitar and vocals with Jay Gielow on bass. In 2001 she was one of the first to record at Sacred Heart Studio in Duluth. She self-released a 21 track album and then formed The State Champs. After several line-ups and about 5 years of performing and recording under their belt, they released their album on Alan Sparhawk's Chairkickers Union label in 2006. During this productive time in Duluth's musical history, she performed with such acts as Charlie Parr, Trampled By Turtles, Haley Bonar (now HALEY), Low, the Black Eyed Snakes, the Keep Aways, Both and many others.
In 2006 Amy began to have some unusual medical symptoms and in 2007 was diagnosed with a degenerative cranial nerve disorder at the Mayo Clinic. This ultimately led to 2 brain surgeries in '09 and '10. She moved to Seattle in 2010 to live and work but her symptoms continued to go downhill. Doctors advised her to return to her specialists at the Mayo Clinic. She moved to Rochester at the end of 2013.
She formed a musical trio (Extinct Gingers) and released a rudimentary demo in 2014. They disbanded as Amy's medical situation grew more complicated. From 2015 to 2017 she experienced balance loss as a result of brain damage to her cerebellum. This led to many falls, one which ended up fracturing her right wrist. Surgery was performed and pins were installed. During this time she also experienced several eardrum ruptures, infections and treatment options for her cranial nerve disorder became very limited. Despite these setbacks, she continued to play and write music. In May of 2017 she took the opportunity to record an album of songs written during the last 9 years. This album was scheduled for release in 2017, but in September she was diagnosed with a hand tumor which left her unable to play guitar. It was surgically removed and found benign. The album Fifty-Fifty is was released in February of 2018. Amy is currently playing with her band The Transcranials, writing new music and is working on a collection of writings about her unusual medical journey.
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