unlike many of my brides, i knew mandi first in a context completely removed from the wedding world. she’s on staff with the worship team at my church, the church at brook hills, and i can vividly remember the first time i ever heard her sing.   that girl has one seriously incredible voice, i thought.  little did i know, however, that she had an amazing songwriting talent to match.  mandi’s music is soulful, deeply intimate, and saturated with real life and real hope, and throughout the years i’ve been encouraged, challenged, and moved to tears more times than i can count through her gift.  so when i found out that mandi was planning to record a new EP, i did a back-handspring-of-joy (or maybe it was just a little happy dance) when she asked me to shoot the cover.  and with the album’s september 28 release date soon approaching, i wanted to take a minute to introduce you to mandi and let her tell you a bit about “he and she” (perfectly titled based on one of the most beautiful love stories i’ve ever known).

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1. when and where did you record your newest album?

I recorded the EP this summer at a studio called The Bomb Shelter in East Nashville. Andrija Tokic produced the record, and he was a joy to work with.

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2. if you had to describe the album in one word, what would that word be?

I think the one word that describes this album best is “honest”. These songs are not the result of following any songwriting formula, but rather they are an overflow of my life. In the studio I actually played (guitar/piano/ukulele) on all but one of the songs, which is something I’ve never done before on a project. Andrija insisted I played my instruments on the project. He said we could hire all studio musicians to play for me, but that would come at the cost of losing the personality of the song.

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3. give us an idea of the sound and feel of “he and she”.

The genre would probably be singer/songwriter, pop. A couple of the songs are even a bit jazzy; a nod to my New Orleans roots. Several instruments contribute to the playful, whimsical sound of the EP including a Farfisa, ukulele, B3, steel guitar and even a horn section.

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4. tell us about the inspiration behind this collection of songs.

This EP tells the story of my husband and me. It’s a story of God saving two sinners and drawing an unlikely match to each other. This EP is, in a lot of ways, kind of like my journal. It peers into my hopes, affections, fears and all the heaps of emotions that come along with courtship, engagement and marriage. That’s how it came to be titled “he and she”.

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thanks so much to mandi for sharing about her upcoming project. and before i wrap it up, i have to give a huge shoutout to a few people for making mandi’s album session such a fun and beautiful time. thanks to prophouse birmingham for the perfect whimsical woodland props, molly stilley of morgan ashley for gorgeous hair and makeup, and candice thomley for her amazing flower headpiece creation. love you all!

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