Band of Sisters, Issues

Band of Sisters, Issues

Musical genius, David Mindel had a vision to create an album by women, for women, about women. Creating a community for strong women to relate to other women when facing hard times in life, giving them the strength to overcome their fears, whether it be addiction, being lonely or meeting Mr Right.
Band Of Sisters is a group of female solo artists of all ages; some who have worked with musical legends and sold millions of records, and some who will go on to sell millions of records. The album consists of sixteen new, painstakingly-crafted songs by fifteen inspiring women all openly speaking through their music about personal experiences and issues close to their hearts, in the hope to connect and save others who may be experiencing similar issues. Each song represents a different issue through personal experiences, giving the album an authentic, real life feel.
David Mindel, hugely respected British songwriter, composer, producer and musician, co-wrote and produced the album. He said: "Most of my favourite singers are female, so I called some of the wonderful singers I knew when I lived and worked in London, plus some I had admired and a few talented newcomers, and invited them to contribute to this album - and they all agreed. I suggested they pick a subject close to their hearts, and they did. And so Issues was born.”
David Mindel with Band of Sisters

The latest single from the album is called ‘Everywhere I Go,’ by Romeo’s Daughter’s lead singer Matty Leigh. Speaking of the new single, David Mindel said, “Who is the person you miss the most, a parent, friend, sibling, lover? Everyone has lost someone who can never be replaced, and 'Everywhere I Go', sung beautifully by Leigh Matty, is about that person, whoever it may be.”

‘Everywhere I Go’ is quite different to the kind of music Leigh sings with her own band, Romeo’s Daughter, who have had a very successful year, releasing their third album, ‘Rapture’ and touring extensively. Leigh said, “Romeo’s Daughter is a rock/pop band, but that didn’t matter as ‘Everywhere I Go’ is a lovely, emotive tune, and I hope that David thought I did it justice!”
Leigh became involved with the Band of Sisters project when David Mindel was searching for the right person so sing, ‘Everywhere I Go’, just as he imagined, as she explains, “David remembered me from our time working together on other projects years ago. He thought my voice would suit the song, so he emailed me the backing tracks and I recorded my part in the studio where I record all of my Romeo’s Daughter vocals. I then sent it back to David - it really was as simple as that!” She added, “It’s a great pleasure and honour to be asked by David to be involved in the Band of Sisters project. Not only are there wonderful singers involved, I have a huge respect for David and his song writing talents.” Single is out on December 23rd
FemaleFirst caught up with Bridie Rose, Mandy Bell and Lynda Hayes, three incredible, musical talents, sharing what their songs mean to them, their personal experiences through troubled times, and what their future holds.

Mandy Bell, shares her journey through loneliness with 'Someone Like Me.' It is a deeply emotional, beautifully constructed song about the fear of being lonely, and the deeper meaning.

How did David approach you for the album?

We were in contact online and he had this idea to do an album with all his favourite female singers that he’s met. He had the idea that everybody was going to be writing about a particular subject that was close to their heart, to do with being a woman and the circumstances that can come about from that. So he asked me if I would co-write a song with him for the album, so then we proceeded online with that. He explained what the project was about, which I thought was quite exciting, a project completely by Women, for Women. So yes, I was very, very keen to be involved.
Why do you think he chose you to be involved in the album?
I think he was looking for Women that he felt could express women’s issues on behalf of other women. I think he wanted to give a voice to women.
How does it feel to be part of such an inspirational album?
It’s amazing, absolutely amazing. We did the album launch at the BBC, the buzz was intense. It was incredible! We also performed a couple of gigs in the Kings Road in Chelsea and it was absolutely packed - it completely sold out weeks beforehand.David wanted everybody to speak about the song that they had written to give a little bit of background. I spoke a few words about my song and why I had written it, what it meant to me and a little bit about my history.
Does 'Someone Like Me' relate to your own personal experiences?
It does relate to my personal experiences because I am a single mum, and I have been for quite a long time now. It was a journey through loneliness and, for me, it was like exploring the nature of loneliness and what it really means. On the surface it’s when nobody is around, but I actually think that it is something a lot more than that, a lot deeper. You can be alone but not lonely.
You acted as the musical advisor for the album, what was it like working with David Mindel?
It was fantastic. He is musically very generous, and you don’t have to contend with any ego at all. He obviously loves women, and respects women’s ideas. He certainly respected my ideas. He wanted me to have as much musical input on the album as possible. He was very open to hearing other people’s ideas, which is a sign of somebody who can be very, very successful.
What kind of feedback have you had from your song? A lot of people must experience being lonely at some point.
I did get an email from a female fan after the shows, just so say “thank you so much”. The album is about articulating for women, and the email said that so much of what I had said resonated with her. I think this was because I was able to articulate it in a slightly more fundamental way, more profoundly.
Do you think the album will help a lot of people who feel lonely?
I think the whole album can, yes. It’s a brilliant idea and there are so many ideas around it. Almost all of it has been recorded online and through social networking. David took that further because he actually recorded it like that as well. He recorded the drums in America, the bass in America and the guitars in England. It was all different for each track. It was global input, really. It was fascinating that he could get a whole album together like that. I recorded my vocals guitars at home!.
What is the initial message of the song? What were you trying to achieve when you wrote it? 
It was a co-write, so it does include David’s ideas about loneliness, too. But for me, I think it is a forgotten subject for women because I think that so many women are fighting at the frontline. Women are left on their own with children when they’ve become single mums. The issues are all about making sure they get the right support, which is very important, of course. But beyond that, I think women are left to deal with the aftermath and the reality of being alone with themselves. People have also commented on Facebook about how much the songs have helped them with various issues, such as violence towards women.
You must be so proud that the album has helped so many people.
I remember on one occasion somebody had written that she was about to take her abusive partner to court. She heard the song on the album about domestic violence towards women (‘Cuts & Bruises’, sung by Kim Alvord) and said that the song had given her the strength to go into court and fight her corner, and to get the courage to go in there. Everybody was in tears when we read that because that’s what it’s all about: women reaching out to other women.
You’ve worked with some musical legends such as Cliff Richard and Gloria Gaynor - who has been your favourite?
There’s been so many! Everybody has got something different about them and I’ve always taken something different away. I performed a big concert with The Moody Blues, and I remember when I was a kid I used to sing along to Nights in White Satin and play it over and over again. I used to think it was the most amazing thing I had ever heard, but little did I know that a few years later I would be performing at a massive concert actually singing Nights in White Satin with The Moody Blues!  I just thought, “wait a minute, this can’t be real!”. And Gloria Gaynor, we used to dance at the school disco to I Will Survive, so I would never have thought in a million years that I would ever end up touring with her. It was like I was on another planet. I just couldn’t believe it! It was the same with Top of The Pops; I remember watching it every week when I was a kid and I never thought that I would actually be on it. I’ve appeared on that show two or three times now. It’s like, “hang on a minute, I’m actually on Top of The Pops!”. It’s like a constant row of surprises.
What achievement in your music career are you most proud of?
I’m proud of all of it because it has all been such an amazing journey and each thing is makes me think ,‘What am I doing? He or she’s a legend!’ But I’m actually most proud of the things I’ve done on my own.
What’s next for you?
Well I’m certainly 100% behind the Band of Sisters project, so wherever that goes I will be on board, as I know all the ‘Sisters,’ because we are all very much for it. I’ve made some fantastic friends, too.
Are you working on anything apart from Band of Sisters?
I’ve got my own material, my own songs that I’m recording, and I’m also involved in a writing project with Ray Russell. I’ve also got some live things planned for 2014. I’m gigging and recording all the time.

Bridie Rose, a fourteen year old non-professional singer, heard about the album through social networking. David loved the vulnerability in Bridie’s voice and believed she could capture the innocence of the song on the album about bullying, called 'When They Don't Make Me Cry’.

How is it being the only non-professional singer on the album?

I feel really lucky, actually. I was just lucky to get the opportunity to sing with such amazing people.
How did David Mindel approach you for the album?
My mum heard about it through Facebook, because David advertised it through a lot of social media sites, so she told me about it and sent David a demo of me singing. He came back and said he wanted me to sing 'When They Don't Make Me Cry’.
With being only fourteen, you must feel a lot of pressure.
Yes a little bit. But they were all really nice to me when I met them at the album launch at the BBC Club. They all thought it was brilliant that I was taking part in the album, so I felt really welcomed with them. They were really kind to me.
Did you write the song ‘When They Don’t Make Me Cry?’’
I didn’t write it, but I was thinking about the point of the song and channelling that. I spoke to David about it and we discussed that a lot.
Do you write any more songs?
No, I haven’t written any yet, but I’m giving it a go at the moment.
Who are your inspirations in the music industry today?
I listen to Tom Odell and Bastille.
Is the song ‘When They Don’t Make Me Cry’ about your own experiences?
Not my own, but I’m very aware of it. It sort of shocked me how people my age are still bullied at school, because schools do a lot to try and stop it, so I thought it would be a good idea to get that message across.
Many people can relate to your song, do you think it will help people in similar situations and discourage bullying?
I think it will because my head mistress had an anti-bullying week a couple of weeks ago, and they work with our school and show how to stop bullying. My teacher played the song in PSHE classes throughout the school to raise awareness, so I felt quite proud about that.
What’s next for you?
I’m not sure. I’m working on some songs with friends; we play things like violins and stuff. We’re just sort of experimenting with lots of different instruments.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Well, I’d obviously love to be in the music industry, that would be amazing. Maybe be writing my own songs, but it’s all in the future and I’m really just hoping to work on developing my music at the moment.

Check out Part 2 of the interview tomorrow!
Jessie O'Callaghan-FemaleFirst