Rising Music Star Mandi Crimmins On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry

An Interview With Elana Cohen

Elana Cohen
Authority Magazine

--

Don’t take it personal, even when it’s personal: I spent way too long caring what other people thought of me and my art that I didn’t check in with myself to see if I even liked me or my art. Put blinders on and do your thing.

As a part of our interview series with leaders, stars, and rising stars in the music industry, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mandi Crimmins.

Mandi Crimmins is the chaotically-relatable rockstar you’ve been searching for. This Los Angeles-based Berklee grad is known for her vulnerable raw lyrics and unhinged pop hooks that draw the listener in. Mandi suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and does not hide that, but instead uses it to connect and relate to listeners also struggling with mental illness. Her fierce authenticity has garnered her a cult following on social media, with the mental health community rallying behind every release.

Since moving to Los Angeles from her hometown in Massachusetts, Mandi has developed her sound into a raw gritty realness that’s an addiction to hear. This gained the attention of alt-rock band The Haunt, who has served as a main collaborator of Mandi’s since.

Mandi is making her official artist statement with her upcoming EP, BORDERLINE — a concept rock EP about mental health that takes listeners on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. The EP is an epic experience of introspection and high emotions bursting with raw-edged hyper-confessional lyrics. From chaotic, high-energy moments to darker, melancholy periods, the EP covers a range of emotions, but one thing remains constant — her totally unfiltered approach.

Mandi shares, “While I was in the process of writing the EP, I actually ended up getting diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Writing to me is therapeutic and usually whatever is weighing on my mind most comes out during the writing session. After I finished the EP, I realized that I had been writing about my diagnosis before I even had it. They all perfectly described what it feels like to be in my head.”

Her music speaks for itself with its raw, real power that meets songwriting prowess — you can’t help but be addicted. With her storytelling lyrics and vulnerability, Mandi confides, “I hope more than anything that my music inspires someone to get help if they’re struggling. I hope it makes people feel seen, validated, and strong.”

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit about your “origin story”. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a semi-small town in Massachusetts. I always felt different from everyone else, like I was this little alien amongst giants with dreams bigger than myself. I was always dying my hair crazy colors, and expressing myself so loudly. I had a rough childhood at times and always felt this desire to escape somewhere that felt safe. Usually I would do that inward, and that’s when my love for music really blossomed. I would sing all over town, in competitions, open mic nights etc. from around age 12 on. It wasn’t until high school that I discovered the amazing therapy that is songwriting. Once I began writing, I couldn’t stop. I realized I wanted to learn how to be the best writer I could be, so I applied and subsequently was accepted into Berklee College of Music.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was seven, I shattered my elbow and permanently damaged the nerves in my left arm and hand. After the accident, I couldn’t do any normal kid activities for a while, which was hard since I was a very active kid and loved sports. But a teacher at my school had heard me sing in our choir class not too long after the accident, and after that my parents started me in singing lessons. Without a doubt, had i not gotten in that bad accident i would never have started down this career path.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I currently live in the same building that I shot a music video in 2 years ago, before I had even moved to LA. We had no idea until we were signing the lease.

It has been said that sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I used to forget the lyrics to songs all the time, to the point where I printed out all of them and had them in a binder on stage with me. I learned how to roll with it when you forget a line or two, and how to fake it so no one even knows you’ve forgotten them (pro tip: just sing the first verse again they literally never notice)

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My family is very supportive and I couldn’t do any of this without them. My mom would drive me all around for singing events since I was twelve years old, so by the time I got to college I was already very comfortable on a stage. My family still sends me flowers on the days I have shows, even from the other side of the country.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My mom and nana have given me so many crucial pieces of life advice that i could write a novel on it. But my mom always tells me “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think” , which is a quote from a winnie the pooh book she read to me a lot as a child. My nana also used to tell us that when something hurtful/bad/difficult happens to you, you let yourself fall and cry about it, but then you pick yourself up again, and keep pushing forward. She would say to never let it keep you down on the ground — it’s okay to mourn and grieve whatever it is that’s happened, but then you get up again. She raised my mom on her own from the time she was four years old, so she was a very strong woman to say the least.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’ve been collaborating with Max and Nick from The Haunt for awhile now and the new music we’ve been writing is some of my best work to date. Cannot wait to finally share it with you all.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music, film, and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

This is definitely an important conversation. Diversity is KEY in the arts. First of all, representation matters and seeing yourself in one of your favorite artists, or movies, etc. is so validating. There’s no better feeling. Second, it helps us understand someone’s point of view that we aren’t able to. For me, I’m a queer neurodivergent artist so my stories matter so that cis het folk can get a glimpse into what it’s like to be someone like me. Third, it helps us grow as people!!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Don’t take it personal, even when it’s personal: I spent way too long caring what other people thought of me and my art that I didn’t check in with myself to see if I even liked me or my art. Put blinders on and do your thing.
  2. Be your authentic self: I’ll never forget the career tip Paula Cole gave my class at Berklee. She said “there are students here that are better singers or writers than you. There are students here that are not as good as you, and there’s a whole lot of students that are just as good as you are. But only you are able to be yourself. No one is able to be your exact self but you.” There are no comparisons — there’s only one you
  3. Have patience: we live in a viral world, so it can feel like when something isn’t an overnight success it’s not worth doing anymore. But if most of your favorite artists thought that, there wouldn’t be any. Good things take time, be patient and enjoy the journey
  4. Prioritize what matters: never sacrifice your well-being for anything. Put the important stuff first ALWAYS
  5. Enjoy the journey: try not to get stuck thinking about where you AREN’T in your career, and focus on how far you’ve come. I stop and do this whenever I feel exceptionally down on myself.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Honestly, I’m terrible at this and probably shouldn’t give advice, lol. I run myself into the ground and always have. I usually notice when my body starts to alert me to exhaustion, so maybe listen when your brain tells you to take a break and don’t just ignore it and have a Monster energy drink instead.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

END THE STIGMA AROUND MENTAL HEALTH. I will continue to scream that from the rooftops until it happens. The stigmas around mental health are so damaging to us as a society. It prevents people from receiving the help that they need. When I was first diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I didn’t want to tell anyone. That should never even be a thought in someone’s mind. All I try to do with my music is be as open and vulnerable about my struggles, like mental health, so that it may help people feel not so alone in this fight.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Amy Lee. No question

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Instagram, TIktok, and YouTube @mandicrimminsmusic! I also try to tweet from time to time @mandicrimmins on Twitter. And of course Spotify!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

--

--

Elana Cohen
Authority Magazine

Elana Cohen is a freelance writer based in Chicago. She covers entertainment and music