Feed the Band
Feed the Band
We all know 2020 has been the craziest year for many of us. I have needed to take a mental break a time or two. The last time I have felt like this, I was a kid. It was 1993, and we had hurricane-force winds for a solid week. I remember hearing pine trees snap throughout the day on the edge of the woods and barely being able to stand. Yet, when I walked through that and entered the woods, it was peaceful. All the rage on the outside disappeared. I have experienced this for a second time, and It happened when I first met our newest member of the Southern Fellow family.
Mandy McMillan is very new to me. This interview almost did not happen. It was the persistence of her and her team that made it so. It was not in a pushy way, like what usually happens. They genuinely wanted to be part of the family all of you have built. I could not say no to that! Almost immediately, it felt like two friends catching up over a few years apart. Mandy was relaxed and open with her life and music. We talked about genres that had molded her career, rodeos, family, and her vegan diet. All of that was great, but what caught me off guard was all the stuff that was never said. To me, that was the most meaningful part of our conversation.
To some, at first glance, Mandy might come off as flaky. She’s a vegan, loves even when it might hurt, and what some might call a modern-day hippie. Mandy may not be the normal vision someone might have of a country artist, and If you feel that way, I encourage you to take a step back and look at the artist as a whole. Love is not a talking point to her. It is a conscious action that she participates in every day. Mandy listens and absorbs the world around her and works to make a positive impact where she can. These are things you can’t put to words. They are actions and were front and center during our interview.
These character traits do find a way into her music. Her authentic nature and ability to absorb the world has led to her latest single “Dream Catcher”. The title is catchy, but I think there is a little more to this song than the obvious. I am certain baked into the lyrics is the dreams from multiple women, including Mandy herself. This, combined with the upbeat melody, turns this song into a living dream catcher. It’s melody blocks any negative thoughts, while the lyrics let the hopes and dreams of so many women flow.
It was a pleasure hearing Mandy’s views on the world, music, and life. Now I get to share it with you! While you are reading, keep a lookout for the Sunny Summer Slaw recipe she inspired. Also, don’t forget the giveaway at the bottom. Here is our interview with country music artist Mandy McMillan.
Tell us about your road to country music.
My road to country music has included a lot of music in general. For all my life, I was pulled towards all types of genres that have had a strong influence on me. I grew up in a household of classic rock lovers, so that’s where I started. Still, my country experiences began when I was introduced to Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and eventually, Miranda Lambert. Their sound, stories, and outward thinking on music pulled me in!
What do you feel are some important things you have learned in the music industry?
Wow, this is a good one! I have learned more strength and determination than most learn in a lifetime. Through those experiences, I’ve learned that what’s most important as an artist is to remain authentic and genuine. The music industry as a whole – as well as my time in Nashville – have shaped me into the bold person I am today!
Who are your top 3 influences, and how did they shape you as an artist?
The top 3 influences that helped to shape me would be Miranda Lambert, Shania Twain, and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac). I was recently in a Fleetwood Mac tribute band performing as Stevie Nicks. As part of my preparation, I studied her vocals and every move on stage. As a result, my vibe now has a robust Fleetwood Mac influence.
What is the best way to start the day?
I LOVE this question! The best way, in my opinion, is to open your eyes and immediately list three things you are grateful for in your life. When I do this, it always starts my morning off with a positive attitude. Then a light meditation, journaling, and some hot water and lemon.
What fad or trend would you like to see come back?
It’s already back! Bell Bottom jeans – Hallelujah for this fashion statement! I feel like I’m a flower child at heart, so the lasting influences of the ‘70s vibes that are still with us today are right up my alley.
Connect with Mandy
We are always developing recipes here at Southern Fellow. When writing music, what recipe do you use?
I think that the right recipe for writing songs should include a strong cup of authenticity from co-writers in the room, a tablespoon of fun, and a pinch of love. Bake it all for about 4 hours, and you should at least come out of the room with a fun time or your next hit single!
What is unique about the place you grew up?
I grew up in the country but went to high school and spent most of my teenage years in the town of Stony Plain, Alberta. Stony Plain is a magical little town. I have found the people to be so kind and supportive over the years. Plus, the town is boasting with beautiful murals that share history and beauty from all over the world.
What is your first fond memory of food?
The first memory that comes to mind would be picking Saskatoon berries when I was a kid and making fresh Saskatoon pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Maybe I’m daydreaming about this right now because I’m heading out to pick Saskatoons today! Haha!
If I could grant you one wish, what would it be?
I wish that people would feel more peace in the world. I know that sounds cheesy, but I just think with all the uncertainty in the world – especially over the past couple of months – the world needs a big hug filled with peace and love. I also wish for a Sprinter-style van, so I can start my renovations and the process of touring the world to play music and living mildly off the grid.
If you wrote a song about food, what would it be about?
At this moment, it would be about watermelon and how it tastes like sugar, but I think Harry Styles already beat me to that one! Haha! I’ve been living off of fresh watermelon all summer and loving it!
Try this inspired recipe!
What do you have a strong opinion on?
I like to consider myself a very open-minded and well-rounded person. I try not to force my opinions on people because I genuinely believe that everybody is learning lessons in life at their own pace, and we cannot throw our ideas around too strongly to try to influence other’s thoughts. I do, however, believe that people should be kind to others, as well as to the planet and all of its beings.
Let’s face it! This year has been a bomb. What do you want 2021 to look like?
This year has been a doozy! I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I like to think that the slowed-down pace of life has given me more of an opportunity to line up with what I want to create with life and music. I have been going a million miles a minute for my entire life towards my music goals, and this year is giving me more time to rest and re-evaluate my plan. 2021 will be the year where I’m able to move forward towards my goals with more ease.
What are some small things that make your day better?
Small things that make my day better would be fruit, a solid classic rock playlist, and sunshine.
Tell us about your latest single “Dream Catcher”.
I am so excited to have released “Dream Catcher” this year! This single is a song that has helped to define my purpose with music and encouraged others around me to catch their dreams as well. I think this was the perfect time to release “Dream Catcher”. Now more than ever, people need something to inspire them to keep going and pursue the life they genuinely want. I wrote it with my amazingly talented friend Andrew Beason and co-produced it with Simon Gugala, who brought our idea to life perfectly. It’s been amazing to hear people talk about their journey to catch their dreams from having heard this tune!
Is there anything else you want your family at Southern Fellow to know?
I want everyone to know that they are doing amazing! Keep your chin up, and head held high at this crazy time, and keep spreading positivity to everyone around you. We chose what energy we want to bring to our day, and one smile can change someone’s day, which leads to a ripple effect of positivity. Be happy, healthy, and kind!
Mandy truly puts her heart and soul in everything she does. We are glad to have her as the newest member of the Southern Fellow family. Mandy McMillan is a name you need on your favorite playlist. You can find her music on all of the usual suspects, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and YouTube. While you are listening to “Dream Catcher”, give that recipe for Sunny Summer Slaw a try. It’s going to be a hit! Thank you for reading this interview. We will see you next time right here on Feed the Band