Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. But just hearing those words on a record is like buying a one-way ticket on her emotional journey. To complete the trip and fully appreciate the original Mindy Project, make a date to see her perform.
The Long Island native, who eventually moved to Nashville and became the Americana Music Festival's best emerging artist in , may never be confused with Little Miss Sunshine. Yet there are rays of hope that prove no matter how dark her incredibly introspective material is, there's always light at the end of the tunnel of love.
Just as she comes across in concert, Smith was pleasant and personable during a phone interview last week, punctuating her sentences with periods of laughter that even retain a New York accent. Smith seemed positively chipper the day before embarking on a western swing of her "Closer" tour. A serious folk-roots artist who has written almost everything that has appeared on her five studio albums, Smith did form a musical bond with an unlikely partner when she covered Dolly Parton 's "Jolene" on her stunning debut One Moment More.
Smith definitely wasn't rooted in the country genre when she made the move to Tennessee after attending Cincinnati Bible College, a seminary school where she enrolled for no other reason than to connect with some acquaintances of her mother Sharron, who died in She did develop an appreciation for bluegrass artists like Alison Krauss, but admitted, "I met Marty Stuart several times and didn't realize he was a country singer laughs until after the fact.
People make fun of me because I didn't know like -- this may sound stupid -- but I didn't know who Merle Haggard was. Now I know, but I had to get a schooling when I came here. Reminded of that meeting, Smith was asked if the two ever followed through on a planned songwriting collaboration.
I think it's more So maybe one day I'll have the sensibility to crawl out of my little comfort zone and reach out and say, 'Hey, let's do this; what's the holdup? That wry sense of humor thankfully is emerging again after what Smith described as a "short hiatus. Mindy Smith the album, which exquisitely shows her broad range beyond roots and what she calls "sad, sad, sad, songs," was released June 26 and is the first record for her own label, appropriately named Giant Leap.
I think it's something I had been asking for, praying, putting it out to the universe or whatever. And Vanguard, there was a shift in the option that they wanted to come to me with and I just decided that I was just gonna take a leap, a giant leap of faith. There's a lot of elements to having a record label that are definitely beneficial.
But, for me, it just didn't outweigh the benefits of owning my masters and having something tangible later on in my life if things pan out for me here. Saying "those are the kinds of relationships that you need to continue to nurture, in my opinion," Smith doesn't harbor any grudges with Vanguard, appreciating that the company waited months after her record came out to release The Essential Mindy Smith compilation on October 9.
While sounding grateful to be allowed creative freedom there, it didn't make her rich. Not that becoming independent will improve her financial situation.
Joining the indie ranks is "definitely not about the money. It's a different sense of power. The beauty of being a struggling artist is that you kinda don't know any different.
And you just kinda hope one day that you will. After taking "some detours that were out of my control" following the release of 's Stupid Love, Smith seems invigorated by the prospects awaiting her while putting together a new team and signing a publishing deal. Possessing an affecting soprano that she admits can't match a powerhouse voice "like Mavis Staples," she's insecure about touring with a full band that "can oftentimes drown my vocals out.
Even though she's known for heavier, heart-wrenching numbers such as "Raggedy Ann" and "One Moment More," a plea to her dying mother from her debut album that is guaranteed to bring a tear to anyone who's lost a loved one, Smith said covering all the bases is nothing new for her.
I just was writing. That's the truest form of art, I think, instead of anticipating you have to have a follow-up single or you have to have I mean radio doesn't really want to play a lot of what I do.
I don't know why. Hopefully, that'll change soon. I'm all about making sure that every song is something that I would want to sing for the rest of my life -- every night. For me, that stands the test of time. And I'm telling ya, I'm not easy to please in terms of music. If I'm not happy with a song and I realize -- 'Why did I put that on an album?
I don't ever want to play that song again' -- then that's a problem for me. Working with different co-producers over the years including Jason Lehning this time has provided extra insight, she said, and allowed an intense nitpicker to reconsider her quest for perfection. The emotion from that recording is "very, very, very real," Smith said, happy to report that the damaged relationship has been somewhat mended.
So while the sad songs remain, the moody blues have dissipated. Smith refuses to let a struggling economy get her down and for someone who at one time didn't know the Music City existed, even embraces the place she lovingly calls her home, having recently performed at the Grand Ole Opry and the Americana Music Festival.
Pleased to have a spot under the wide-open Americana umbrella, the performer who believes her last visit to Denver was opening for John Prine at the Paramount in finds it cool that artists like Robert Plant are proud to be one of its members.
Although the year-old doesn't prefer the fast track, Smith has been on quite a roller-coaster ride. And it isn't always a walk in the amusement park. Asked again about joining forces with Parton, Smith followed up her joyful odd-couple experience with a deeper thought that might apply to her career these days. I think I'm being made to have to reach out and make something happen.
You can always count on the universe. Publicity photo by Fairlight Hubbard. See the official music video of "Closer" from Mindy Smith: