TTW SPECIAL- MANDY BO– A rebellious artist who musically has remained fierce and strong in order to survive
By International Correspondent, Author Patrick Lorcan Woods
I often come across many artists that have a story to tell, however, this musician’s life story touched my soul. Since childhood Mandy has fought many battles, bullying, lack of self-confidence, but to name a few. Nevertheless, by remaining true to herself this artist of worth has now emerged as a rising star within the music/film Industry. Therefore, I shall allow Mandy Bo to explain a story of empowerment in what is so far, one of the rare in depth TTW interviews that I have done with any performer.
Q1. Where do you originate from and in addition, where are you based now? Are you a solo artist/ or part of a band. If so who are the band members/ names and what they play?
MB. I am a solo artist originally from Windsor, ON, Canada but now live in Toronto, ON.
Q2. I believe that you are fundraising in an effort to produce a new album/tour with Kickstarter. Can you explain what exactly this is and how people can help you achieve your goal?
MB. After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, I caught the attention of award winning producer and founder of Zedd Records, Mark Zubek; who’s worked with Betty Carter (Grammy winning artist), Theresa Sokyrka (Canadian Idol finalist) and Hilary Weaver (award winning pop rock singer). Zubek and I have produced several tracks together now, the first of which will be available in Feburary 2016. Bo will simultaneously be launching a Pledge Music Campaign, so stay tuned for that! More info will be available on my website mandybo.com closer to the launch date.
Q3. How would you describe your musical sound to the ordinary person?
MB. I’ve created a sound called Country West ‘n’ Bass, which combines traditional country and bluegrass instruments with soulful vocals and modern EDM and Pop elements, for an authentic sound with Top 40 appeal.
Q4. Mandy- your mother had a rare disease- met your father bore children; yet, your grandparents raised you. Can you elaborate on this a little for some background information Therefore, are your songs a reflection of growing up in this environment, if so which one of your songs is the one that you consider a true reflection of your life?
MB. Yes, my mother was born with a rare disease called, Sturge-Webber syndrome. She has a large port-wine colored birthmark over the top portion of her face, which is actually a layer of blood vessels over her brain that could burst at any moment. As a result, she had a rather difficult childhood as a challenged person. She met my father in special education school and they fell in love. Despite that, doctors thought my mother would never survive giving birth to a child, she had my sister, brother and I.
They were difficult circumstances and I was born into a life of hard-luck and poverty in the projects of Windsor. After my father left us, Children’s Aid removed us from my mother’s care because it was just too much for her to handle. We were lucky enough to have my mother’s parents step in a take care of us, since my sister, brother and I were all pretty close and would have been devastated had we been separated (and we certainly would have been if we were put up for adoption).
I made my way to Toronto at just 17 in pursuit of better things and here I finally found music. My past is a huge part of who I am though, and I am grateful every day for the opportunities I have in life. It definitely makes me reflect on things and see them in a different light and very much affects my music.
Because of her condition, my mother has spent many years living on the streets; I wrote a song about a similar situation titled, “Old Morty”. The idea behind the song is that you don’t know the story of the people you walk by every day, such as an old man begging for change. In the song, Morty is actually an old war veteran who has PTSD and memory loss; he left home one day and just never could find his way back again. His wife, Jean (named after my grandmother) is still waiting there for him though. In the song, I just ask that if you see him, please point him in the right direction to follow & help him if you can.
Q.5. You were an actor before you sang- tell me what have been the highlights of your acting career to date- and why you have decided that singing is now your thing?
MB. I first started out my career as a model and then a film writer/producer named Chris Pickle came across my photos and asked me to audition for his film, “Saving Grace”. I had never acted before and I was nervous as hell but I went anyways. I ended up landing the leading role (he handed me a script on the spot and gave me the part) and the film went on to premier at the Montreal film festival and was reviewed positively by Variety Magazine. From there I did some more small work but I didn’t enjoy it as much as this film.
Modeling and acting did give me the confidence to follow my true passion though, which had always been music. I had just been to shy up to that point to pursue it. And well, once I started writing and singing…I could never look back. I knew I have found my home and a purpose.
I do still love acting though. In fact, I wrote a book about my mother’s life, which I turned into a script. The script has now made the quarterfinals in three well-known international script-writing contests, so I have started pitching it and am hoping to begin producing it within the next couple of years. I plan to play my mother in the film.
Q6. How did you get the video Lullaby together- knowing the financial constraints it involved?
MB. An amazing photographer I had worked with in the past, Jaylyn Todd of Jaylyn Photo, also did video production and had a great team she worked with. She had heard the new songs and I had mentioned I would like to do a video to her. She randomly called me up one day and said, “Would you like to do a video for Lullaby?” Of course I did and she said she wanted to get it rolling the following week. Of course, being a musician is very expensive and I didn’t have much money, so I called in a ton of favors from friends who donated a bunch of the set materials, their skills and time to help out. That combined with my savings resulted in the “Lullaby” music video, which I am exceptionally proud of!
Q7. Do you feel that social media is a good breaking ground to be noticed?
MB. I do. I have had a great amount of success with social media. It is my main source of interaction with my friends and fans, and their messages make me smile everyday.
Q8. Whilst you were growing up the word “NO” was something in life that made you work harder towards your goal. (can you give examples of this) At this point in your life is this still the case, or do you feel that you are finally achieving you goal in life?
MB. I have heard the word “no” more ways than you can imagine. Growing up I always wanted to be a singer but in my town and at that time, that was just inconceivable to anyone around me and they all told me to pick a real career. Later in life, I wanted to model and I was told that I was too short and would never go anywhere, but I did it anyways and was represented by several great agencies. Yes, I am too short for runway, but in print you could never tell how tall I was! Now, I have a vast portfolio that I am very proud of. My ability to transform my look so quickly and easily in front of the camera even earned me the nickname “chameleon”.
After that, I came across many people who did not support my music dreams and some even made it their mission to stand in between me and my goals. I still hear no all the time and this definitely fuels me. For some reason, since I was very little, I did not like to be told that I could not do something. It became my sole purpose to prove such people wrong. As the great Frank Sinatra said, “The best revenge is massive success”. I do feel that I am finally achieving what I have always wanted to. Being able to do music and having the freedom, as well as being empowered, to be my authentic-self to the fullest is all I have ever really wanted. I’ve come to realize that no one can ever take that away from the though and it isn’t something I need to fight for. I am no longer trying to be something outside myself. I’ve found me and now I’m just “being”. I’m lucky enough to have so friends, family and fans who accept me as I am (flaws and all) and support me. I love sharing my music and myself with them and being a part of their lives as well.
Q9. Which musicians inspire you musically?
MB. My strongest influences are Avicii (I love everything he does) and Sia, as well as many classical artist including everything form Johnny Cash and Nancy Sinatra to the Eagles and Everlast.
Q10. In three words, describe today, who is Mandy Bo?
MB. Rebellious. Fierce. Strong.
Q11. You are assembling a new Album of tracks are there any special tracks you are particularly proud of on this Album so far, and why?
MB. Yes! I am very excited to share “I Promise” with everyone. This particular song came together very well and definitely illustrates the unique West and Bass sound I have been developing. It’s sassy, it’s got heart and it just sounds great. The producer did a fabulous job, very pumping.
Q12. In your spare time, how do you?
MB. I have very little spare time to be honest for most of my days are scheduled. My day is so varied and includes doing everything from meditation, vocal rehearsals, songwriting, and guitar practice. Then during my day, I respond to social media messages, like working out, doing music industry research and attend industry meetings, etc. However, when I can I like to get out on a board, surf, longboard, wakeboard, wakeskate, etc.
Q13. Can you explain what your single standoff is about?
MB. “Standoff” is about the end of a toxic relationship. It depicts that pivotal moment when two people are at the end of their rope and ready to lay it all out on the line, but who will pull the trigger first.
Q14. You say that music gave you a bigger purpose in life, explain. Then you became a self-taught musician and it has brought into your life that much needed confidence that you lost as a child, was this due to the bullying you suffered whilst growing up?
MB. I’m not good at expressing my emotions and can be shy. I was scared to speak up when I was little. I wasn’t popular. I was always the smallest kid in the class and was a tomboy who loved to play sports, so I didn’t fit in very well. Also, people knew about my mother and since my sister and brother also had some learning difficulties, I was often made fun of. This made me insecure, but music allowed me to find my voice and a way to express myself; it’s how I connect with the world. Through music, I feel I can give others a voice that doesn’t already have one or the confidence to use theirs as well. I feel so blessed today and I’m always so touched by the messages I receive and how much people open up to me because of my willingness to share my story and my music.
Q15. Finally, what memory would like your fans to remember you musically by in let’s say in ten years from now?
MB. I want to be remembered as someone who dared to challenge the traditional music industry and who helped pave the way for new artist on the cutting-edge of finding their own genres, like the Outlaws did for Country music or Elvis did for Rock and Roll. Outlaw Country! Archer Anyone?
For more information on this rising star & her soon to be released debut EP, keep an eye out by following Mandy’s website. Her debut single Lullaby is available on I Tunes now to download. And Facebook page.
Original Article: TTW Magazine & TV