An interview with Amy Armstrong
By Gregg Shapiro
Long known as one half of the musical duo Amy & Freddy, Amy Armstrong has stepped into the spotlight as a solo performer. Anyone who was fortunate enough to hear Armstrong perform with her former musical partner Freddy Allen, at any of the various cabaret venues or the multitude of cruises on which they entertained, knows that they are in for a sensational show whenever Amy hits the stage. Armstrong, who relocated to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a few years back, was kind enough to take time out of her full schedule to answer a few questions for OutClique Magazine.
Gregg Shapiro: There must be something in the stars because a couple of weeks ago I interviewed your longtime musical collaborator, Freddy Allen. I first had the pleasure of hearing you perform when we both lived in Chicago and you were known as one half of the musical duo Amy & Freddy. What is the genesis of your musical partnership?
Amy Armstrong: The genesis of our musical partnership was we met at an open mic night at Gentry (in Chicago). I had no idea who he was. He had no idea who I was. It was magical from the start, and it kept getting better! We became Amy & Freddy and traveled the world for over 25 years!
GS: Having performed with Freddy for as long as you did, do you have a favorite Amy & Freddy memory that stands out for you that you’d like to share?
AA: One of my favorite memories was when I was playing on a cruise ship and I got to play the Main Stage for the first time. The thrill of performing for all those people at once, there is nothing like it! When you tell a joke and a thousand people laugh, it hits you like lightning. And when you sing and everybody is so silent and listening to every word you have to say it’s electric!
GS: How old were you when you first realized that you could not only sing but were in possession of a powerful instrument?
AA: I remember singing for my second-grade class and watching people smile or cry when I sang. It was incredible how even at that young of an age I understood how music affects you emotionally. It affected me, too.
GS: What is your all-time, hands-down personal favorite song to perform?
AA: At this moment in time, it’s “Cry to Me” by Solomon Burke and “The Best” by Tina Turner. Both powerful songs and both really hit on how I’m feeling emotionally right now. My favorite song changes all the time because I’m changing all the time.
GS: What is your all-time, hands-down least favorite song to perform for which your fans clamor?
AA: Come on [laughs]! If you know me, you know it’s the “Pussycat Song”! I love it…I hate it…but, hey…you never forget it [laughs]!
GS: With your background in cabaret, jazz, and musical theater tunes, is there a style of music you personally enjoy that might surprise the readers?
AA: It’s actually pop music and ‘70s — two of my all-time favs right now!! Dua Lipa is just delish right now and any great ‘70s song always has you singing along.
GS: In addition to being a magnificent vocalist, you have a wonderfully bawdy sense of humor and sensational comedic timing. How important is it to you to incorporate that aspect of your talent into your act?
AA: It’s who I am every day. It just comes naturally, which is good and bad [laughs]. I have no filter so sometimes I get in trouble.
GS: You relocated to Puerto Vallarta a few years ago. What do you like best about living in PV?
AA: I enjoy Mexico for the people and the food, plus the music and the artists. And I had incredible medical care as well, for a fraction of the cost in the U.S.
GS: What do you miss most about Chicago?
AA: I miss going out with my friends, my favorite restaurants, and just exploring downtown.
GS: What do you miss least about Chicago?
AA: I do not miss the hustle! You were always on the go.
GS: What can you tell me about Adventures with Amy?
AA: Adventures with Amy [amy-armstrong.com] is a brand-new site about traveling to incredible places with friends and family. We have a brand-new adventure starting in October. To bring back the unification of friendship and being around others. We all need to get used to acclimating back into the world! I wanna show you my version of Puerto Vallarta and what I love.
GS: Are there any Amy adventures planned for the Fort Lauderdale/Wilton Manors region?
AA: Not at the moment, but we are always up to perform for our fans and friends. We are so happy the world is opening up again and we can perform in front of live audiences!