Mandy McMillan has had a passion for music for as long as she can remember. Having started singing in at a young age, Mandy relocated from her native Canada to Nashville a few years back to immerse herself in Music City and pursue her dreams. Having released her self-titled debut EP in June of 2014, Mandy graciously took the time to talk about her roots, the music, and plans for an exciting 2015.
When did you become interested in music and decide to pursue it professionally?
Ever since I was about three years old, I was singing. In high school I began playing the guitar, taking vocal lessons and started my first band. I always knew that music was what I wanted to do and that I had to move to Nashville to pursue it.
What types of music did you listen to growing up?
My parents listened to classic rock like CCR, REO Speedwagon and Fleetwood Mac. We also listened to the country music of Shania Twain, Garth Brooks and Canadian artists, like George Fox.
You played in a rock band when you lived in Canada, what drew you to country music?
I always loved country music. There were five of us in the band and all of us leaned towards a different genre. The bassist was into the blues, the drummer punk, the lead guitarist was into rock and the rhythm guitarist liked classic rock. We played a big mix of songs and I learned a lot, which was perfect for that time and place in my life.
Canada has a thriving country music scene, so why make the move to Nashville?
Canada has a huge country music scene from Vancouver to Nova Scotia! There are so many terrific artists, but Canada doesn’t really have a hub with major influences like Music City does. Coming to Nashville had been a goal of mine for a long time. I wanted to be in a place where I would be surrounded by music and could focus on my music 100%, be challenged, and work to the best of my ability. I officially made the jump when I was 21 years old.
You released a self-titled EP in 2014, did you have a hand in writing for the project?
I had my hand in every one of the songs on the EP. I co-wrote them all except for “Call My Name” which I wrote myself. It’s cool to claim songs that I have written myself that catch the attention of people, but I do love co-writing, which I had never done until I moved in Nashville. You can learn so much by sitting with another person to write a song!
One of the tracks on the EP, “Geronimo,” really sends a positive message.
I wrote that song with Joan Weber about a year and a half ago. It was our first time writing together and I had said that I wanted to be able to not hold back in any aspect of my life--I just wanted to jump into life, love and music. All of a sudden we were strumming the guitar and had the lyrics. It’s such a cool song because people can relate to it in so many ways whether it’s about love, life in general or something specific.
Have you been performing live and how has fan reaction been?
I play many writers rounds here in Nashville. I also do a few shows where I perform covers and my original songs which have been going over really well! Last year I traveled to Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma--slowly and surely I am branching out.
Fan reaction has been overwhelming at live shows and on social media, which is a really cool tool for getting your music out there. People from all over the world find my music and tweet me how much they love it. It is so cool to see my music touch people from all over the world.
What are your professional plans for 2015?
I am so excited to be working on a new EP! The past six months we have really been pushing the EP [that was released in June] and now I want to focus on getting more music out there. I have been writing a ton and so far we have a few songs in the bank. Besides writing and recording the new EP, I also want to set up some mini tours and am hoping to play some festivals. I have a great team of people at Kaizen Sports & Entertainment who have just been super supportive and such a blessing! We're crossing our fingers for 2015, I feel like it’s going to be a big year!
One other exciting thing I am working on for 2015 is a line of bracelets with a company called Rustic Souls out of Florida. I love the jewelry they have and we got to talking and came up with the idea of doing a beautiful bracelet line! We are going to call it Mandy Merch and people can head to my social media sites to check out what they are going to look like.
Finally, I always love to know, is there one recently released record that you cannot stop listening to?
Oh my goodness, well a lot of women across American are probably saying this, but Miranda Lambert’s Platinum. That girl just has it! She is such an inspiration and the album is phenomenal! Another one is Eric Church’s The Outsiders. I listen to that one constantly, it has such a fire behind it!
Purchase her EP here
For more information visit Mandy's official website
Find her on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter
Watch an acoustic performance of "Good Girls Don't Kiss In Bars" here