|Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/11/2010 - 00:33.|
It was PEV’s pleasure to chat with one of our most naturally gifted artists we’ve ever featured, the amazing vocalist Ms. Mandy Barnett. A lot of artists can attempt to lay claim to the title “World-Class Vocalist”, but Barnett is without a doubt internationally recognized for her golden vocals in the styles of pop, jazz, torch, and classic country music. The Tennessee native has been singing for as long as she can remember – even admits she couldn’t tell us when that “a-ha” moment was; it’s just always been a part of her “fabric”.
You may remember her record, “I've Got a Right to Cry” – a collection that Rolling Stone named top country album of 1999. Mandy’s latest release is a Christmas record titled “Winter Wonderland” and is being released through one of our favorite places: Cracker Barrel. Barnett says to expect “Fun and festive songs that everyone knows. Gorgeous, sweepy ballads, with strings and voices. The album reminds you of another time without sounding dated. It's warm and inviting, just like the holiday season… my sound is just good, timeless music. I don't follow trends; I just do what I do.” We couldn’t agree more.
After you pick up “Winter Wonderland”, swing by the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville where Mandy will be reprising her role as Patsy Cline in the musical "Always...Patsy Cline" June 17th through July 24th, 2011 (you can probably catch her earlier if you’re a fan of the Grand Ole Opry). There’s a whole lot more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.
XXQs: Mandy Barnett
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
Mandy Barnett (MB): My sound is just good, timeless music. I don't follow trends, I just do what I do.
PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?
MB: I started out listening to a lot of southern gospel and country music, and also a lot of big band music. I have very eclectic tastes in music. Early on, I really enjoyed a singer by the name of Lily Fern Weatherford, a great gospel singer, and later I got into Patsy Cline and Connie Francis. But I also adored Kate Smith, Jo Stafford, and Keely Smith. Don Gibson, too, was a favorite.
PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?
MB: At a young age, I was fortunate to know so many of the greats in the music business. My introduction to the business was pretty old school. I worked for Archie Campbell some in Pigeon Forge, TN and I worked at Dollywood there, too. Not much later, I signed with Jimmy Bowen. And then I worked with the incredible producer Owen Bradley. Truly, I've worked with some legends. When I first started out, the digital music revolution was just beginning. It's amazing how the digital arena has re-shaped our business. But I believe that it's still about making the best music that you can. The business side might have changed, but the creative side remains the same -- my goal is still to put out the very best music that I can.
PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?
MB: I don't think I've ever really thought of it that way. I started singing so young, it was just part of my fabric.
PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Mandy Barnett show?
MB: A versatile set list from classic country to the Great American Songbook. And a killer band. During a show, I like to take people on a journey, with peaks and valleys. I believe that people like to hear heart-felt songs performed with vulnerability. It's about the emotional experience -- give the audience what they want, but keep them wanting more.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
MB:I like to get in the zone. I'm not thinking of anything other than starting off the show with a great feeling song and making the audience feel good.
PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?
MB: I just wing it. I don't really like to talk much before a show. I'm usually kind of jittery and just want to concentrate on what I'm going to do.
PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
MB: I don't write, but I've always considered myself an interpreter of songs, a stylist. I try to bring out the most emotion in the lyric and melody, and I always pick songs I can relate to in one way or another.
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, a Christmas album called “Winter Wonderland”, through Cracker Barrel. What can fans expect from this work?
MB: Fun and festive songs that everyone knows. Gorgeous, sweepy ballads, with strings and voices. The album reminds you of another time without sounding dated. It's warm and inviting, just like the holiday season.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Mandy Barnett?
MB: I'm an early riser. I'm definitely a morning person. That first cup of coffee and I'm ready to go!
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?
MB: I started out so young that music was always a part of my life. I figured that I would always do something with music, and then when I got a record deal with MCA when I was 12, by that time, I knew that I would just keep moving forward with it.
PEV: What one word best describes Mandy Barnett?
PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?
MB: I enjoy traveling. I enjoy being with my band, meeting new people, and having new experiences. But I also enjoy coming home. It's nice to sleep in your own bed.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
MB: I would definitely like to have more of a presence in Europe.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
MB: My friends and family are terrific supporters. I just did an in-store performance and meet and greet at the Cracker Barrel in my home town. It's always great when I go home to play -- a true homecoming. There's a big turn out, filled with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
MB: I enjoy painting and making things, being creative in other ways. I also love to cook.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
MB: No one I can think of off of the top of my head. I listen to all kinds of music and appreciate so much of what's out there.
PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?
MB: Honestly, I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. This is a dream come true.
PEV: So, what is next for Mandy Barnett?
MB: I'm reprising my role as Patsy Cline in the musical "Always...Patsy Cline" at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville June 17th through July 24th, 2011. And I will be working on some recordings and, as always, touring. I'm also a frequent guest on the Grand Ole Opry.