NEWPORT COAST— The struggles with balancing a budding music career while having a chronic health condition — on top of the rigors of high school — are found in the title and lyrics of a Newport Beach singer-songwriter's debut album.
Amanda Lamb, 16, of Newport Coast, will release "Highwire," a pop-rock record she co-wrote and produced without studio backing, on Friday with a concert at the Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana.
The album takes its name from one of its tracks, "The Life of an Aerialist." The song is about a circus tightrope walker, but has symbolism rooted in the Type 1 diabetes the artist has battled since age 15 months.
"I wanted to write a song about what it's like to struggle with diabetes, but without coming right out and saying it," she said. "[An aerialist] is constantly balancing between staying on the rope and falling off. And with diabetes, I can be full of energy and moving around one minute and then by night, my blood sugar crashes, and I'm sick again."
Amanda left Corona del Mar High school and began her home studies just over a year ago. Complications with her health had made maintaining a normal schedule difficult, her mother, Kimberly Shadid, said. Amanda's home schooling allows her to pursue both her education and vocal training.
The aspiring artist had a big break when she opened for the Jonas Brothers at a May charity concert, "Rock for Diabetes," for Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
And with the sudden attention, Amanda's parents are more than a bit protective of their eldest child in a family of seven.
"We've had to be very careful about the people we work with," Shadid said. "That's the worst gateway to bringing people who are unsavory into her life."
However, neither Amanda nor Shadid think that fame will have the negative impact seen afflicting so many other young celebrities.
"We've thought about that," Shadid said. "But we've concluded that as the oldest of five kids, she has a lot of people in her life that are going to make her keep it real."
Her songs, whose lyrics are co-written by family friend Moses Toth, reflect her life: the ups and downs of being a teenager and aspiring to overcome the odds.
"I feel so alive when I sing, like this is what I should be doing for the rest of my life," Amanda said.
If You Go
What: Amanda Lamb Album "Highwire" Release Concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Yost Theater, 306 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana
Cost: $10, includes free CD
Information: To hear Amanda's music and view the complete concert lineup, visit http://www.AmandaLambMusic.com