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Interview with the mesmerizing up-and-comer Mandolyn Mae

Brilliant young Canadian singer/songwriter Mandolyn Mae recently released her brand new album Once on Easy Killer Records. Mae offers a sultry sweet blend of indie pop, soulful folk, and southern twang, creating a truly unique sound that makes it difficult to draw comparisons. Laden with emotion, Mae’s first single of the new album "Hurricane" is undeniably addicting. At just nineteen years old, the emerging starlet has embarked on tours and shared the stage with dynamic bands such as Rookie Of The Year, Sparks The Rescue, and label mate, Tidewater, as well as performed at the world famous SXSW. I tracked Mae down as she was getting set to perform on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour in July, and she happily opened up about the new album, how failed relationships have influenced her music, and a her admiration of Jeff Buckley.

Mandolyn Mae
Mandolyn Mae

Is "Hurricane" a good indicator of the music you are writing these days?

Actually "Hurricane" is a lot more like my EP Cover2Cover, with the heavy amount of strings in it. This is a tough question and I'm not totally sure how to answer it because a lot of the songs on the new album have very different styles. There are some songs with vocal layering with huge parts in the song and then there are some that are totally bare with just my voice and a guitar.

What was your goal for Once?

I'd have to say my goal was to show people that I am- like everyone else- extremely, extremely imperfect but I'm working on bettering myself and finding my place in the world just like every person. I hope people can relate to Once and connect with some of the songs. The songs are very real and vulnerable and I hope people feel that when they listen.

Is there a song on the album that you were initially weary about releasing, perhaps because it pushed you in a strange musical direction or you weren't sure how people would react?

If I'm going to be brutally honest, I was really worried about releasing "Hurricane". Anyone that works with me will tell you that I said the words, "Are you sure?" about a hundred times before we released it as a single. I wasn't sure how people would react because the song, in my mind, is very driven by faith, more so than any other song on the record. Obviously people can have their own take on every one of my songs, but this one was such a testament to my faith and I LOVE talking about my faith, but as a single I was worried that people would see me as the "crazy Christian chick trying to shove Jesus down everyone's throat." But that wasn’t the case at all. I wanted to share that I know that people go through huge things in their life that come very unexpected but they change you forever, like a hurricane.

What's the strangest thing to inspire a song?

Oh gosh. That's really, really tough. I'd say failed relationships- romantic or not. They're such touchy subject and honestly kind of awkward in some instances. And if you think about it, why would you wanna tell someone about a relationship that failed? It's strange, yet awesome how openly vulnerable people get after a broken heart. I'm sure there are much weirder things to inspire songs, like PB&J sandwiches or a puddle, but in my mind broken hearts are definitely something strange that inspires beautiful songs.

You're going to be on Warped Tour this summer. What are you looking forward to most? What aspect of the tour worries you?

Yes I am!! I'm beyond excited about the whole experience. I've never been to Warped ever so this is definitely going to be a memory I'll hold onto for a long long time. I'm most excited about meeting new people and making connections and relationships. That'll for sure be a fun thing for me. What most worries me would be making sure I don't have a panic attack before going on stage haha. I'm more excited than worried when it comes to going to Warped Tour though.

You are quite young! How has your age affected your career thus far, if at all?

I think when you're so young people think you're stupid and have no idea what you're doing. In some cases that's definitely the truth. I don't know A LOT of things when it comes to the music business because I'm just starting out, so I've really had to learn how to take more direction and be lead. I'm also wrong a lot, but I have good people working beside me making sure I'm taken care of.

What was the first album you ever owned? How did it shape you and your musical prowess?

Oh! I've never gotten this question but I think it's my favorite! The first record I ever got, that was all mine, was for Christmas when I was at my grandparents' house in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I was eleven and City and Colour's record Sometimes just came out that October and I was SO excited and had been talking about since that summer when I found out it was coming out. So as a surprise my dad bought it for me for Christmas and I'm pretty sure I cried...typical girl. You'll hear me say to anyone that Dallas Green has been a huge inspiration for me since his Alexisonfire days and the way he writes is absolutely breathtaking. He's definitely inspired the way that I think about music.

If you could have anyone in the world as the #1 fan of your music, who would it be and why?

Wow. I'd say Jeff Buckley. I respect him so much as an artist. The way he presented himself and sang to people was mesmerizing. That would be the biggest compliment to me if he had even listened to my music and didn't hate it.

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