There are some really amazing albums coming out next week, and one of them is by indie pop darling Mandolyn Mae. She exudes a delicate, honest approach to music that makes her tunes both heartfelt and hauntingly emotional. Not only is she capable of tackling her favorite hardcore songs and giving them a completely different approach, but also, Mandolyn Mae is dedicated and inspiring, two traits that resonate beautifully through her work. Below, she discusses exactly what inspires her the most, her intense love for Beyonce, and what we can expect from this budding musician, as she gets ready for her full length album, Once, to arrive next week.
TheIndieSD: How did you go about choosing the cover songs for your EP Cover2Cover?
Mandolyn Mae: People wouldn’t peg me as a hardcore music listener, but I’ve been listening to heavy music since I was 12. So when we were trying to decide which songs to do I thought I’d pick from songs that I love. There is also a very large diversity in the songs I chose so we could reach people that were in different age ranges. Like the guys that grew up on Further Seems Forever and the guys like me who grew up on Underoath.
TISD: Why did you decide to start off with a cover album? Was it a project that you always wanted to do?
MM: I actually didn’t start out with a cover album! My very first step into the music world was an EP of all originals called “The Thief”. It’s not online or anything, you can only get it at my shows [so] not many people know about it. But why I chose to do this cover album was because my dad was a hardcore music producer and my very first concert was at a hardcore show with the full on moshing and everything! That was when I was 13. Anyway, when we sat down to think about what my next music step would be it seemed fitting that we would do something out of the box but also something really close to my heart. It was REALLY fun recreating these songs!
Mae’s rendition of Of Mice & Men’s “Second & Sebring” is the perfect example of how to recreate a song.
TISD: What musical experience did you have before Cover2Cover. When did you first start performing and songwriting, and what was that like?
MM: Well my first tour that I went on was with Alive In Standby and Trees Above Mandalay and that was SO much fun. They’re all such fun, sweet and professional guys. It was definitely a great first tour for me to be on. Then after that I was on a little bit of a tour with Sparks the Rescue, Rookie of the Year, Jimmie Deghan and my friend Tidewater and that was awesome as well. I loved being on the road with all of those guys. Those were both before Cover2Cover.
TISD: What inspires your songwriting process the most?
MM: My faith is a huge deal to me, so I’d say that that’s a big part of my inspiration. God has held my hand through every moment in my life, both good and bad, and why would I NOT want to share that, you know? Love also inspires. Being loved is something that every person desires so I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t inspire me.
TISD: Your single “Hurricane” is particularly uplifting! Are you inspired by your religion when you write songs?
MM: Yes I very much am. Like I said in the previous question, I love sharing the story of how I’ve done none of this on my own; I’ve been lead. God shows up in the most inconvenient times sometimes, but it changed you forever.
TISD: Are there any artists that you really want to collaborate with or plan to collaborate with in the near future?
MM: Well I don’t know of any future collaborations, but my DREAM collaboration would be with Dallas Green of City and Colour. He’s such a musical inspiration to me, plus he’s a fellow Canadian, so that’s a plus. His writing is ridiculously incredible. I’ve always said that he can break my heart and put it back together all in one song. If you can do that to somebody, you’re doing music right.
TISD: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
MM: Ah! So many! Dallas Green is a huge one. Mat Kearney, Ellie Goulding and Jeff Buckley. Oh, and can I just say I also have an intense love for Beyonce? She’s like my ideal self. If I were a diva and were married to Jay-Z. Like I don’t want to be her in the creepy/stalker way, I want to be like her in the sweet, loving and kind way. You know what I’m talking about!
TISD: I know you play the ukulele on stage quite often. Are there any other instruments you play and incorporate into your music or your live performances?
MM: Well, kind of. I dabble in the world of keys but I wouldn’t classify myself as a “keys player” quite yet. I do have a wonderful fella that plays beside me at almost every show and we double up on ukuleles and that’s always so much fun!
TISD: You had the chance to perform at SXSW as a part of their acoustic series. Tell me about that experience! What kind of reception did you see for your music?
MM: SXSW was so much fun!! I didn’t really get to see much of it because we drove down, then drove back home and that’s like a 13 hours drive both ways, but what I did see was amazing. So many people that loved every kind of music. It was incredible. What was really fun for me was the night before I played, City and Colour played across the street. I wanted to kiss the ground. Such a fun experience and people seemed to like what I was doing as well. It’s an incredible memory that I’m going to be holding onto for a long time.
TISD: I believe Warped Tour is up next for you. Are you excited about the tour? Will you be speaking with and meeting your fans while you are there?
MM: Yes! I will be playing in Kansas City July 23 and then St. Louis the 24. I’m insanely excited!! I would absolutely love to meet people while I’m there. That’ll be the best part!
TISD: What do you have planned after Warped Tour?
MM: As of now everything is kind of up in the air, but hopefully something soon!
Mandolyn Mae’s next release, Once, will be out next week via Easy Killer Records. In the meantime, preview the album by listening to the beautiful track “The Only Person Alive” at GuitarWorld.com.
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