PRESENTED BY CROW
BROUGHT TO YOU IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE RHYTHM BUILDING at MUSIC ROW in NASHVILLE TENNESSEE, REBEL REV. PRODUCTIONS and THERECORDSHOPNASHVILLE.COM
Mandy Cook is a child of jazz. At a young age she fed herself with her parents cd's- Al Jarreau, Sade, and Sarah Vaughn, as well as her own personal collection of big band cassettes stolen from her grandfather. Many hours of her early childhood were spent contentedly in the basement with the stereo blaring and her feet dancing. Until she realized she could sing. By the time she was twelve she had started receiving vocal coaching (continuing with Johnny Steiner of Columbus, OH up until high school graduation), and could steal the show at any karaoke bar in her native state of Ohio. Cook would fearlessly take the stage at any opportunity, including county fairs, national anthems, and church services. At 14, she acquired her first guitar- a 12-string she began to teach herself to play. Though she had been writing songs for quite some time, this gave her the chance to create full-bodied songs that she could accompany herself on, and therefore play out. At 15 she began playing showcases and independent gigs at small venues in downtown Columbus such as Tommy Keegans, Oldfield's, Ruby Tuesday, and Victorian's Midnight Cafe. She attributes her ambition and confidence in music, however, to her small hometown of Mount Gilead, Ohio. Growing up in a small town gave her the opportunity to really shine, as she became the town's go-to-girl for musical entertainment. She still makes frequent trips back to Ohio to play for the people who encouraged and supported her. As most recent high school graduates these days do, she took off to college in the fall of 2006. At Morehead State in Eastern Kentucky she had the opportunity to play with a number of fantastic and creative musicians, participate in numerous campus gigs, and t.v. shows. College, however, turned out to be a poor fit for such a free and abstract spirit, and she left that spring to rediscover her true passion. She realized that what she really wanted to do was play her music, though she was unsure what the next step to take was. A friend suggested she move to Nashville, and on a whim, she did. Having been told of Nashville's cut-throat brutality, she was thrilled to find it's musical community supportive and welcoming. However, the industry side of Nashville was little dissapointing. She was told to do this, change that, and market herself in ways that she thought were tacky, trashy, and unintelligent. After hitting many dead ends with friends' contacts, she decided to take matters in to her own hands. "I won't do anything to compromise what I love, or my values as a creator." she says. "I think that's a crucial factor in developing a fan base with loyalty and respect." Which is probably one of the reasons noisy rooms go so intensely quiet when she begins the first song of any set. It is a unique and emotionally-charged sound that is unlike anything audiences have heard. Each of her songs vary greatly in style, rhythm, and structure, but flow easily from one to the next, linked together by her voice and expressiveness. It's one part blues, two parts jazz, and 3 parts completely her. She plays out many night of the week, sometimes even having two shows in one night. "The more I play, the happier I am day to day. It's a part of me that it is absolutely vital to share.", she says. Good thing- she's pretty vital to hear.