Q&A with Mandy Slate
Updated: May 20
Mandy Slate is an indie pop artist using her creativity to you in your feels. Her latest single “Machine” is a song about trying to seem steely and unfazed after a breakup, a theme matched by vibey guitar runs and slick beats under Mandy’s pristine vocals. It’s an icy cool intersection of R&B and indie pop, and an exciting sample of her upcoming EP 101.
When did you start making music?
Songwriting is something I’ve done my entire life, but I used to only do it if I was really bored. Singing was my main passion. I started taking writing more seriously my freshman year of college, because I was too self conscious to sing in the dorms and I was getting really antsy without a creative outlet. So I bought a little notebook and started writing pages of poems and essays every day. Eventually I bought a microphone and started lying to people and saying I was a songwriter until it became a true fact. I released my first song in late 2021. Making music has improved my life in pretty much every way. It’s like a time capsule and a therapy device.
Who, or what, has most influenced your music and artistic style?
I’m like a sponge. Everything I see and hear makes its way into my music. But I think I’m the most creative after I have heart-to-heart conversations with friends and strangers. My goal when I write a song is to create something that people can use to understand themselves better, so I like to write about feelings and experiences that I share with other people. Some of my biggest musical influences are Ariana Grande, Drake, ABBA, Lianne La Havas, Willow, and a million others. I also love video game soundtracks (like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon) and TV show soundtracks (Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite).
What’s the story behind your new single, “Machine”?
I have a bad habit of acting tough when my emotions get big. “Machine” is me making fun of that. I was going through a breakup and acting unfazed by it, but it wasn’t very convincing. The lyrics in the song reflect that tension between my head and my heart. The chorus is all about how cold and logical I am, but then in the rest of the song I admit to things like stalking my ex on Spotify (which I only did once. or twice. or five times). That’s not something you do if you’re actually unbothered. The machine concept is something I’d been toying with for a while because I’m obsessed with AI-related sci-fi like Westworld, so I was excited when I was finally able to pin it down in a way that felt honest.
What can we expect from your upcoming EP 101?
101 is an introduction to my creative world. Before I started making music, romantic relationships took up most of my free time, so 101 is a four-track reflection on things I’ve felt and lessons I’ve learned. I wanted to keep it upbeat and fun to listen to, so a lot of it is very tongue-in-cheek, but I tried my hardest to keep it honest and close to my heart at the same time. I would probably call the style of the EP dark bubblegum pop. The EP starts with “Loveblind,” which is about being stubborn and obsessed, and it ends with “Like I Do,” which is about letting go and moving on.
What are you listening to currently?
I’ve had “Absolutely” by Dijon on repeat all year. I’ve also been loving Chloë Bailey’s new album, “In Pieces” recently and revisiting “Collapsed in Sunbeams” by Arlo Parks, which I was obsessed with all of 2022.
Listen to Mandy Slate's single "Machine" now.