It’s been a long time coming for Mandi Leigh’s debut album BLVD. After years of recording, performing and trying to get a record label, she had let go of the idea of signing a deal. And then it happened. NVE Records came along and presented Mandi with the deal she always wanted. “They believed in my project before it was even a project,” she says gratefully.
Throughout the years in the industry, Mandi explored different genres of music. Although her musical inspirations were R&B influenced, unfortunately she was categorized as simply a pop artist. Mandi went on to work on music for movie and TV soundtracks which led her into a more pop/rock direction. “It wasn’t me,” she says. When she signed with NVE, which is an all hip-hop label except for herself, she decided to lose the uptempo-rock songs and go for something truer to her R&B love.
Mandi had a hand at writing all the tracks on BLVD. except for “Girls Out”, which rapper Med Schola wrote and is also featured on the track. “She’s Missy Elliot in a 15-year-old’s body,” Mandi says.
Unlike most people today, Mandi surprisingly wasn’t a fan of Michael Jackson’s growing up. She loved Janet Jackson instead. However, later on, she came to appreciate him as an artist, which inspired her to write “Shadow Dancer”—a tribute to Jackson.
The song that’s most personal and one of Mandi’s favorite on her debut album is “Home Suite Home”. “I always knew I would write a song about being homesick,” she says, explaining that being on the road takes its toll on you. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to tour, though. She hopes to go overseas to military bases and perform. In November, she’s doing a show in Hollywood for the families of deployed military.
“Onederful” is another one of Mandi’s personal favorites on the album. “I like the wordplay of it. I hope it inspires other girls to go out to Hollywood to chase the dream,” she explains.
While chasing her own dream, Mandi has had the opportunity to perform at various events. Her most memorable experience was while she was doing a few shows in St. Thomas . A family with two young girls came to every show. “They would dance the whole time,” Mandi tells us. “The girls, who were four and five wanted to do what I did when they grow up and wanted to be just like me,” she gushed and said she was extremely flattered.
We asked Mandi if she could dedicate any song in the world to her fans, which song would she pick and why. She chose “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars. “Just listening to that song makes me happy and I totally believe that everyone is beautiful just the way they are.”
Aside from promoting her album and single “Hotter Than Fire”, Mandi is also working on a fiction novel about a pop star and the cattiness of Hollywood called “The Cat Club”.
You can find out more about Mandi Leigh at: www.mandileigh.com and buy BLVD. on iTunes!