Photo: Cyndi Hornsby
Mandy Barnett, a native of Crossville, Tennessee, started singing at five years-old. She has been singing since. Mandy’s style is rooted in the classic country and pop crooning of iconic singers and enduring sounds. She delves into a song with a keen interpretative sense, studying the intricacies of its emotional content and rendering a powerful performance through her full-bodied voice.
As a teenager, Mandy starred as country music legend Patsy Cline in the stage show “Always . . . Patsy Cline” at the celebrated Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The performances sold out nightly and received rave reviews across the country.
Mandy soon signed with Asylum Records where she released her first album as herself, appropriately entitled, “Mandy Barnett.” The album received glowing reviews in major trade publications and magazines, including “Time” magazine, as well as praise from veteran country artists and fans.
In due course, Seymour Stein, who introduced the world to Madonna, Seal, the Barenaked Ladies, and k.d. lang, heard Mandy’s voice and was, he said, “spellbound.” When Stein launched Sire Records within Warner Music Group, Mandy was the first artist he signed. Mandy’s Sire Records project paired her with the undisputed pioneer of the Nashville Sound, producer Owen Bradley. The album that they made together, “I’ve Got A Right To Cry,” would be his final contribution to the music world. Owen passed away four songs into the project, but not before leaving his unmistakable mark on the album.
Mandy is set to release her first album in 5 years, Strange Conversation via Thirty Tigers on September 21, 2018.
Mandy laughs when she’s asked “What took you so long?” to make Strange Conversation, “I needed to cleanse my palette,” explains the woman with a voice that’s all sultry velour. “I’m a torch singer, somebody who can do a little bit of everything. Pop, blues, gospel, country, soul — songs with emotion are what I do.” And so, she had to decide what to do next. While musical soul-searching, Barnett honed her symphony show (performing with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast) and even reached back to an old passion — visual art — to get her creative juices flowing in a fresh direction. In between touring performing art centers, historic theaters and concert halls, and making gallery-exhibited artwork, Barnett embraced thoughts of finding different material to record.
She pauses for a moment, weighing the jolt to longtime fans versus the reality of her new music. “But honestly, it’s all me,” says Barnett. “It’s all aspects of who I am.” Because for Barnett, a singer who’s captivated Owen Bradley, the idea of her musical future is as compelling as the idea of honoring classic country’s past.
You can hear her version of Mable John’s More Lovin the first song from Strange Conversation, via Rolling Stone Country HERE.
You can catch her live at 3rd and Lindsley on Tuesdays as she finishes up a month-long residency.