I’ve always loved the creativity that The Twilight Saga has inspired, and singer/songwriter/performer Mandala at Twilight is the perfect example! We have two Mandala at Twilight prize packages to give away, each featuring a CD and a t-shirt. But first, let’s get to know Mandala a bit better.
Q: How did you find the Twilight books?
Mandala: I had just finished Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter series, and was looking for a new book series to read. A few friends of mine had been talking about Twilight, so I went to my local bookstore to take a look. I got Twilight in paperback and had planned to wait for New Moon to come out in paperback before I bought it. That was a silly notion, but I did wait. Needless to say, I did not wait for the other two and got them as soon as they came out.
Q: What appealed to you about the series?
Mandala: There was just something about the books that drew me in. I have to say, the first few pages were difficult for me because I was unsure if I could get into books about high schoolers. I was so long out of high school that I worried I would not be able to relate, but something pulled me in and I could not put the books down. It is hard to pin-point, but I think it is the universal nature of the story. Many people get so mad at Jacob for kissing Bella in Eclipse, but that seemed like a very real moment to me. I mean, who has not done something really stupid when in love? This was exactly the kind of thing a teen boy would do when is at wits end. The books are full of these real moments.
Q: What inspired you to create Twilight-themed music? How would you describe your music?
Mandala: I started writing songs about Twilight because I was going through a rough time. The books were a wonderful distraction for real life, and turning my energy toward writing down my thoughts was a therapeutic way of dealing with the darker emotions I was feeling.
The music I created was edgier than other music I had written. It was electronic, but much more industrial than pop. I was feeling a lot of intense emotions. I had been fascinated with vampire lore and legend for years, and for me, there was always an association with more aggressive music. This edgy sound, mixed with vocals that were sometimes angsty and sometime sultry just seemed like the perfect fit.
About the time I started reading New Moon, my mother began having some major health problems. The book was an escape for me. This was also the time I started writing Twilight-inspired songs. I remember sitting in the waiting room at the hospital composing “Run.” Looking back on it now, I find it intriguing that, as I was confronted with my mother’s mortality, I was escaping into books that dealt with the desire to live forever.
“Welcome” is a perfect example of all my favorite vampire books and movies rolled into one. The Volturi are the Twilight inspiration for this song because they are most like traditional vampires from other stories. It was also inspired by Anne Rice’s vampires and the Bella Lugosi version of Dracula. All of these characters are regal and eloquent, but under the surface they are pure monsters.
As my mother’s illness wore on, and I watched her slip into a deep depression, I wrote “Ghost.” I was moved by how the movie depicted the months passing in New Moon. I saw my mother in Bella Swan. What I love so much about that song is that every single word is about my mom, and still, every word is about Bella. I think it is one of the best songs I have ever written.
Also, it was around this time that I met the man who is now my husband. I tend to identify with Edward more than Bella. “Dusk to Dawn,” though written for the great man in my life, seemed to me to be the exact same feelings Edward had for Bella. However, “Without You,” which is also about my husband, is more along the lines of Bella’s feelings.
A few years after my introduction to the book series, my mom passed away, and a couple of the songs on the album reflect the emotional roller coaster that resulted from it. I think the songs are perfect for the album because, though not directly about Twilight, they deal with love and loss, and mortality versus immortality.
Writing was a mix of two very different things for me: escaping from reality and being able to relate what I was going through with what I was reading in the books. The beauty of it, is that I can write songs about the characters, or I can write about myself and my life, and still the songs fit perfectly into the context of what happens in the books.
Q: Have you always had an interest in music?
Mandala: I think my parents knew I would grow up to be a musician when, at two years old, I played the maracas to my step-dad’s Rolling Stones album. However, I think it took me until the age of four to start having day-dreams about being a Rock & Roll star. I began taking piano lessons in the third grade. Growing up in a family of musicians, it was a dream that was encouraged. About nine years ago I began performing with a band, and a few years after that I began performing as a solo musician in addition to being in the band. I was really fortunate to perform as Mandala at Twilight at a midnight book release party for Breaking Dawn. That was one fantastic show!
Q: What do you have coming up next? Can fans see you perform live anywhere?
Mandala: I recently went back to school for Audio Production, so I am not performing much these days. When I do have shows, I have them listed on my show calendar on my website. I am always willing to travel outside of the Washington DC area (where I’m based) if requested to do a show. The contact information is on my website as well.
Right now I am focused on writing songs and improving my techniques in the studio. I did just make a music video for “Soundtrack to Your Demise,” the title track for my Mandala at Twilight album, and it can be seen it here: http://www.youtube.com/mandalasongs
Mandala at Twilight’s album and singles can be purchased on Amazon and iTunes.
Now for the giveaway…
As I mentioned, we have two prize packs to giveaway:
- Mandala at Twilight’s “The Soundtrack to Your Demise” and a Mandala at Twilight t-shirt
- Mandala at Twilight sampler CD including 6 tracks from “The Soundtrack to Your Demise” and a Mandala at Twilight t-shirt
Want to enter? Just leave a comment on this blog post! Contest runs until Monday (December 5) at noon ET, then we’ll choose two winners at random. Good luck!