Singer/songwriter Mandy Rowden’s musical style has been described as Americana. Her music is a delightful mixture of various genres: country, folk and rock. The result is a distinctive, emotive sound that serves Rowden’s powerful vocals well. I recently spoke with Mandy Rowden. Read what she had to say below.
What challenges did you face with your upcoming album 1000 Miles that you didn’t face with your previous album These Bad Habits?
“As far as the writing and recording was concerned, it was alot of fun. The problem with releasing it, it’s scary to see whether it can live up to These Bad Habits. Alot of artists are nervous about their second album. The idea is that it kind of piggybacks off of These Bad Habits. If it sells better, that would be wonderful. But if it doesn’t, that’s scary It is kind of depressing to think about (laughs). So that’s kind of a challenge that still remains to be seen.”
Your sound has been described as Americana. It’s this beautiful mixture of different genres. Do you feel that you can reach a wider audience by not placing your music into one specific category?
“Yes and no. There are several ways to think about that. I don’t need to pigeonhole myself with Americana, but Americana is a catchall for sounds that don’t fit into just country or just rock or just folk. It’s easiest to just call it Americana because there is no clear label. But by all means, I would love to be noticed on the country scene and on the rock scene. Any scene that people want to pay attention is great for me (laughs).”
What do you enjoy most about live performance?
“It’s probably a good mixture of a bunch of things. I really just enjoy playing my music and playing live and being able to do it for a living is an amazing blessing to have. I love meeting people. I love connecting with people. I love getting to be the ringleader in a really great experience, you know, just a fun party. It’s great hearing everybody come together with the band. Everybody is doing their job. It’s just a great, magical feeling. I think that most people playing music would say something similar. Of course getting to travel which I love gets me out of the 9 to 5 world. It’s hard to say what my favorite thing is. I just love it!”
Are there any routines that you follow that you feel help you with your songwriting process?
“My songwriting process is probably pretty messy looking to most people. The main routine that helps me out is that I just try to write every single day. When I make sure that I put ideas down on paper every single day I find that it really helps getting things flowing. To write regularly has really made a big difference for me.”
Tell us about Girl Guitar
“Girl Guitar is awesome. I love it! It’s my job when I’m not on stage. It’s teaching women guitar through various classes. It’s all women 21 and up. We go in six week cycles for each session and that’s followed up by a big showcase where they get to play at one of the main clubs here in Austin. It’s really just amazing. I’m really passionate about them learning and getting stronger. The kind of side effect is that there’s this whole community of these cool, smart women doing their thing. We’ve come together and became friends. It’s a big deal. It’s empowering. Girl Guitar came about as kind of a fluke actually. I had moved back to Austin from New York City and I was crazy broke and I needed to pay my phone bill. I literally got enough women together who were interested in doing a class to just pay my phone bill. That was my whole goal (laughs). We did the six weeks and had such a good time and wanted to continue. And of course their friends were interested so we had another class. We had to find a bigger space and it just kind of grew and grew from there. It kind hit me that this could really be a thing and that it was way more than just paying a phone bill. That was almost ten years ago.”
Are there any current projects that you can share with us?
“There are many. They main thing obviously is releasing 1000 Miles. It comes out on September 30th so having that ready to go and doing this pre-order thing is my main focus right now. I’m also making my first ever music video which is going to be out sometime this summer. And always in the back of my mind is keeping on writing. I’m already writing for the next album. I’m about halfway there. I’m hoping that by the end of the summer when the chaos from 1000 Miles has died down that I can be in the studio recording the next one. It’s kind of an ongoing thing. It’s all just one huge project.”