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Miss Amy
Miss Amy On The Red Carpet.jpg
Miss Amy on the Red Carpet at the 54th Grammy Awards
Background information
Birth name Amy Lynne Skelton
Also known as Amy Otey
Born (1962-09-08)September 8, 1962
Charleston, South Carolina,
United States
Genres Children's music, Americana, country, folk-rock, pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, author, performer
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1990s–present
Labels Ionian Productions, Inc.
Associated acts Miss Amy & Her Big Kids Band
Off The Map With Miss Amy

Amy Otey (born September 8, 1962), known as Miss Amy is an American musical fitness entertainer, singer-songwriter, and author. She focuses on the themes of health and activity for children, though her genres also range to country, folk-rock and pop. She has released 5 albums, the fifth of which, Fitness Rock & Roll, was nominated in the 54th Grammy Awards. Miss Amy also appears on the 53rd Grammy nominated album Healthy Food For Thought: Good Enough To Eat, and the 54th Grammy winning album, All About Bullies... Big And Small.

She performs frequently with her musical group Miss Amy & Her Big Kids Band, and in 2013 released an album entitled Angels Riding Shotgun with her Americana rock band Off the Map, which features the same line-up of musicians. Her first book, Keep Kids Fit! Classroom Activity Breaks is set to be released in the Fall of 2013 by Open Door Publications.

Early life, education

Amy Lynne Skelton was born on September 8, 1962 in Charleston, South Carolina. She was raised in suburban Kansas City. She has a family history of music – her great-grandmother played piano in movie houses for silent pictures, and her grandfather directed and acted in musical community theater. Her mother also liked to sing and played ragtime piano. Skelton started taking piano lessons in third grade, and in high school she was involved in musical theater and choir competitions. After she met her husband, music producer Alex Otey, they began playing in jazz, folk and rock bands together.

She earned her BBA in Strategic Management at University of North Texas and her Certificate of Gerontology at Rutgers University.

As a fitness instructor she has been accredited for Kids & Teen Fitness, Yoga I & II, Pilates, Tai-Chi, Strength Training, Primary Aerobics and Pre/Post Natal Fitness. She is also a certified Youth/Adolescent Fitness Trainer.

Music career

Early years

"I realized early on that children are kinesthetic beings. They can't help but express themselves through movement. What I do is to give direction in a musical context, so they can not only better express themselves, but learn foundational fitness at the same time."
— Miss Amy

She didn't pick up guitar until her late 20s, when she used it to help write music. Her career in children's music began in the mid-1990s, when her first son Phillip was born prematurely. She made up songs to sing for him while he was in the hospital's neonatal, something she continued doing in his early years. As he began bouncing to the rhythm of the words, she continued to structure the songs into a routine for him to follow. In the 1990s she began raising her family in New Jersey. She has stated that "Having a child with severe health needs really changed our family situation and my musical focus. It became all about raising a healthy child."

Months after Phillip was born, she became active in a local mom's group. After singing with moms and their children at gatherings, she was soon asked to provide entertainment at libraries, holiday events and birthday parties. She then trained as a children's music instructor, and began to develop her interactive program. She also continued training in Kids & Teen Fitness, Primary Aerobics, Yoga and Tai-Chi.

Miss Amy was the moniker given to her by students when she first started teaching. Her programs focus on the ABC's of fitness skills; agility, balance, and coordination.

After becoming a President's Challenge Advocate in 2007, she was named President's Challenge All-American for September 2010 by the President's Challenge Program.

Miss Amy & Her Big Kids Band
Origin New Jersey
Genres Children's music, Americana, country, folk-rock, pop
Years active 2004–present
Associated acts Miss Amy
Off The Map With Miss Amy

Miss Amy and Her Big Kids Band

Miss Amy frequently plays live with Miss Amy & Her Big Kids Band. The members have each earned their President's Active Life Style Awards and are experienced musicians who have performed rock, jazz, funk and classical music.

Current members
  • Miss Amy – vocals, guitar
  • Alex Otey – trumpet, keyboard, vocals
  • Ryan Ross – percussion
  • Chris Clark – double bass, etc.
  • James Popik – electric guitar, etc.

Solo releases

As a singer-songwriter Miss Amy has released 5 LPs, starting with Underwater in 2004. She typically writes both words and music, then arranges and adds instruments with producer Alex Otey. Her albums have been nominated for several Grammy awards. In late 2010 Healthy Food For Thought, which features her two spoken word pieces, "Bananas" and "Imagine a Garden," was nominated for a 53rd Grammy Award in the "Children's Best Spoken Word" category.

Miss Amy performed as part of the White House 2010 Egg Roll event on April 5, 2010 where the theme was based on the Let's Move! initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama. Other performers at the 2010 White House Egg Roll event included Justin Bieber, J.K. Rowling, and the cast from Glee. Miss Amy also headlined Kidstock 2010.

2011's Miss Amy's Fitness Rock & Roll was produced by Otey's husband and co-creator, Alex, and released on his label, Ionian Productions. The album features James Popik on guitar and vocals, Chris Clark on bass, Andy Janowiak and Rick Vinet on percussion, saxophonists Richie Cole and Tom Verde, and brass player Lars Wendt.

In November 2011 Fitness Rock & Roll was nominated for a 54th Grammy Award in the category of "Best Children's Album." That year Miss Amy also appeared on the Grammy-winning album All About Bullies... Big And Small. By December 2011 she had won The Lehigh Valley Music Award's "Best Children's Performer." She has appeared on television spots such as NBC 10!, and in March 2013 Shine On Hollywood Magazine presented her as one of the "Top Women Entertainment Industry Professionals."

She is to release the book Keep Kids Fit! Classroom Activity Breaks in the fall of 2013 by Open Door Publications.

Off The Map

In 2013 she released Angels Riding Shotgun, the debut album of the Americana rock band Off the Map With Miss Amy. The band has the same lineup as Miss Amy and Her Big Kids Band.

Miss Amy is an active member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the Americana Music Association.

Personal life

Miss Amy continues to live in West Trenton, New Jersey with her family.

Discography

Miss Amy and Her Big Kids Band

  • Underwater (2004)
  • Wide Wide World (2005)
  • My Precious One (2006)
  • I Wanna Know How It Works! (2007)
  • Fitness Rock & Roll (2010)

Off the Map with Miss Amy

  • Angels Riding Shotgun (2013)

Compilations

  • WXPN Kids Corner 20th Anniversary Compilation (2008)
  • Wildflower Compilation (2010)
  • Healthy Food For Thought, Good Enough to Eat (2010)
  • All About Bullies... Big And Small Compilation (2011)
  • Move This World (2013)

DVDs

  • International Baby 101 DVD (2003)

Grammy Awards

Year Song/album Category Role Result
2011 Healthy Food For Thought, Good Enough to Eat Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children Vocals, lyrics, instrumentals, songwriting Nominated
2012 Miss Amy's Fitness Rock & Roll Grammy Award for Best Children's Album Vocals, lyrics, instrumentals, songwriting Nominated
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