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An artist who has a true love and passion for music can touch and move other music lovers with their sound and music. Mandi Leigh has taken her sultry Pop/Rock/R&B sound and created music that moves one heart and soul. Her lyrics take you to another place and time when you can reflect on love, life and time. SayWhatNews sat down with Mandi Leigh to get to know her as a singer/songwriter, actress and entertainer.
SayWhatNews: Good morning Mandi. Thanks for taking the time out and speaking with SayWhatNews. Tell us who is Mandi Leigh?
Mandi: I’m just a girl with an intense passion and love for music who wants to entertain for a living. I love all angles of the entertainment industry including music, literary and film to name a few.
SayWhatNews: You discovered your singing talents at the tender age of 5. Did you always want to be a singer/songwriter?
Mandi: Oh yes. It was never a question of what I was going to do, just when. I started singing at 3 around the house, and started performing at 5. I started writing at 8 and was published by 15. It’s just something that was born within me.
SayWhatNews: Mandi you began writing your demo album at the age of 15. How hard was it balancing being a teenager and working on your dream to be a singer?
Mandi: For me it wasn’t hard because I was doing what I believe I was truly meant to do and what I loved to do so it always felt right. I started home schooling when I was 13 so I could focus 6-8 hours a day on dance and then by 16, I was doing music. I didn’t feel like I missed out because I had a lot of friends in dance and when I moved to Hollywood I had a good group of friends in the industry who loved to do what I did.
SayWhatNews: Your sound has a sultry pop/rock/R&B feel to it. Who were your musical influences growing up?
Mandi: Yes, the album is going to be pop/rock. I’m so excited for everyone to hear it! I adored Whitney Houston and En Vogue growing up. Since the age of 16 my musical style has changed quite a bit. I never had a musical idol that I wanted to be like. I just wanted to be the first Mandi Leigh. And I believe I am completely content and happy with whom that is and I’m ready to show others.
SayWhatNews: Mandi you have toured around the world and opened for some of the hottest acts like Nina Sky, Jesse McCartney and Ryan Cabera. How amazing was that for you?
Mandi: I am very blessed to have had those experiences early in my career. One of the shows I did with Nina Sky was one of the best experiences to date. We were at Club Seaworld, the crowds were insane, we had a lot of security and the show was fabulous. I had my dancers there with us, and the crowd of over 1,800 was the largest Club Seaworld had seen for a summer show. It was awesome.
SayWhatNews: As an independent artist working on her debut album you have had many opportunities that most artists would die for. How were you discovered?
Mandi: Just working hard in Hollywood. My family has been so supportive of me. When I was 18 they helped me get to Hollywood. I lived in the Beverly Hilton for a little while when I first got to CA and just networked. I had meetings with people I knew were important in the industry. I did a showcase on one of my last nights there and I ended up winning a showcase out of 35 artists at Cole Stages in Hollywood and got my first production deal and a house in San Diego! I’ve been working in L.A. ever since.
SayWhatNews: In 2007 you were nominated for 3 awards (Outstanding Female Vocals, Best Solo Artist and Best Stage Show) for 2007 Rockies Awards. At that very moment when you learned of the nominations, tell what went through your mind.
Mandi: I was just SO happy that my work was being recognized. I still don’t know who nominated me but I thank them! I was actually unable to attend the show which I was so upset about! There’s always next time!
SayWhatNews: Tell us, while on tour what was the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
Mandi: In the U.S. a fan found out the hotel I was staying at in Florida and would follow me around the lobby and such when I would leave/come back from a show or sightseeing. And overseas I had a guy actually jump on to the stage knocking over my microphone stand and tripping over a microphone cord nearly landing on me, my piano player was quick though and got to him before he got to me. He was then escorted out. That was pretty scary.
SayWhatNews: Mandi, you’re not just your typical singer; you are a very talented songwriter. What was your inspiration for the song “Wrapped Around My Finger”?
Mandi: I wrote that at home one evening when I was living in Valencia. Usually when I’m writing a song it’s not about one specific person or situation. I get a storyline in my mind that I want to tell and just write based on that. I wanted a fun, playful song about girls taking charge of a relationship and not always having to be what the guy wants her to be.
SayWhatNews: Tell us how it came to be that your song “No Longer in Love” was featured on the movie soundtrack for Warner Brothers/Polychrome “The Utopian Society”?
Mandi: A good friend of mine, Sean Lopes who co-wrote “No Longer In Love” worked closely with the wonderful music director of the project and passed my name along. He’d known I’d been working hard in Hollywood, trying to get my name out there and thought I would be a good fit for the project. It’s been a blessing!
SayWhatNews: Mandi, your acting credentials are impressive. You have had roles in films such as “The Wraith”, “Desire” and “Fat Albert” just to name a few. Did you always have an interest in the film industry?
Mandi: Only for the past 3 or 4 years. My mother grew up an actress in Hollywood. She went to Burbank High and was represented by William Morris and did work with Showtime and Aaron Spelling. She decided to give it up and raise my sister and me. I never really thought about acting and kind of just fell into it. Now I love it and I love the projects I’ve done and that I have coming up.
SayWhatNews: You have had a busy schedule for 2008: touring, acting and working on your debut album. Tell us about the new movie you are about to start shooting in a few weeks.
Mandi: I actually have two movies I will be shooting throughout August and September. The first I have is a Christian film titled “The Choir” I have a lead role and will be doing a lot of singing, which I’ve wanted to incorporate into a film for a long time now. It’s a very inspirational story.The other is a comedy film inspired by “The Office”; I also have a lead role where I will be playing, Alicia, one of the females at an advertising company. The script looks hilarious and I’m excited to get to work on both projects respectively.
SayWhatNews: So, when can we expect your much anticipated debut album to be complete?
Mandi: I have four more tracks left to finish writing and producing. The team I’ll be working with is amazing and I can’t wait to let everyone in on what’s been going on.
SayWhatNews: Have you decided on a title for your album?
Mandi: I have a couple of ideas in the works, but nothing is finalized
SayWhatNews: One of your passions besides music is charity work. Giving back and helping others is very rewarding. How important is it you that you give back and make a difference?
Mandi: It’s one of the main reasons why I do this and why I work so hard every day to get my music and name to more people. There is so much I want to do, from regular work with charities to starting a foundation to research nerve damage because of my mother’s condition. I currently perform at a lot of benefits and events and my website donates to the Child’s Health Site. My biggest project in the works is an event we are doing for Halloween for the Foundation for Blind Children in Arizona (www.seeitourway.org). We are building a haunted house and are giving all proceeds to the foundation.
SayWhatNews: Tell us what do you like to do in your spare time?
Mandi: I absolutely LOVE traveling and hotels in general. Even though I do this on tour, I also do it on my time off. Even if I don’t leave my home state I like to book weekend in town at my favorite hotels to feel like I’m getting away. I also LOVE reading, a lot of chick lit and biographies about other accomplished singers. I’m not a big TV person but I watch movies, and getting outside. The beach is my happy place.
SayWhatNews: What is in the future for Mandi Leigh?
Mandi: Releasing my album, going on tour to promote it, and just more music, more movies and a lot more writing. I have a lot of ideas and things up my sleeve for the years to come. Thank you so much for the interview! It was a pleasure speaking with you guys!
Mandi Leigh Website
Mandi Leigh Myspace