MA: He’ll be like “Take it again. Just do your thing.” You know (both laughing) he really keeps me on track because he knows me well enough to do that. He knows how to push me. It’s like “Nah, that wasn’t good enough. Let’s keep going. I know you can do better than that.” And that’s fun. It’s fun to have a friend to work with that can push you to greater things, and that goes for music and musicianship and writing.
Smitty: I totally agree. And I think that’s important when you’ve got that kind of a connection with a producer and you’re friends, you have such a great rapport, and you know each other. It’s like in any sporting event when you have a team and they all know each other and they know what to look for. I think that’s a beautiful combination.
MA: Yeah, we even each other out with different things, you know, we know how to work together, and I think that’s a really important thing and for me it is unbelievable to be able to work with friends, and on each of my albums now it’s all about getting our friends in from the string arrangements on “Far Away” and doing my other albums, we used my friend Julie Rogers, who I’ve known since I came to L.A. basically and, Ty Stevens, who usually writes with me and plays on the record; we’ve been friends since I moved to L.A. and I think that it’s really…..it’s fun to have people that you vibe with and who came up the ranks with you and you just have a rapport with, instead of just calling some guy you don’t know and say “Hey, can you play on my record?” (Both laughing)
Smitty: Yeah, it makes it a lot more fun, that’s for sure.
MA: Yeah. Goof off more. (chuckle)
Smitty: Yeah, exactly. Now, I want to ask you about the soprano because I could tell that you’ve really come into your own with the soprano sax.
MA: Thank you.
Smitty: You’re loving that, aren’t you?
MA: You know, I’ve always loved soprano saxophone and I got my first one when I was 18 and it’s just always been this beautiful, different instrument for me. So many people think “Oh, it’s just another saxophone,” but, boy, to me it’s a whole different instrument than alto saxophone, which you hear me play a lot of, and it’s funny, I feel like sometimes you can go more places on soprano. I mean, I did “Flirt” on soprano and it was this kind of rockish, fun, rocking tune, but then you can use soprano to do like this human voice and just, be this beautiful, beautiful instrument and I love that aspect of it. I think on this record I get to show that, maybe a little more than some of the other records, maybe the scope of what the soprano can do in my mind, and I just love the instrument. I just want to use it as much as possible. (Both laughing)
Smitty: Well, you have just had such a “life less ordinary” (both laughing) in terms of what you’ve done over the past year, not to mention the prior couple of years. Last year I think you spent more time on a ship than you ever have in your life (laughing).
MA: Well, I’d never been on a ship before last year and that was pretty fun to go on the cruise. I had a blast.
Smitty: Yeah. And you’re performing at the Oscars!
MA: I am. That’s just unbelievable.
Smitty: Well, tell me, when you first heard that you got the gig, what was the reaction? Come on! (Laughing)
MA: I was just blown away to hear that we might play for the Governors Ball. I thought “Wow, really? Huh, this is gonna be cool!” (Both laughing) So as it developed and we got hired to play and now we’re playing. I’m just excited. I’m thinking “What am I gonna wear?” (Both laughing) That’s the important thing, right Smitty?
MA: No, so I think we’re just gonna have a great time. I’m incredibly honored to even be thought of and there’s not many people that get to play the Governors Ball and get to be a part of the Oscars, and so I’m just gonna soak it in and have a good time.
Smitty: Yeah. You know, Mindi, you could write your memoirs right now and be totally exciting to the world.
MA: You know, I feel like I’ve lived 20 people’s lives and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s like I’ve gotten to do all these cool things, whether it’s, you know, touring with the Backstreet Boys or being out with Duran Duran or recording my own records and…..
Smitty: Josh Groban.
MA: Getting to be on the big screen for Panasonic (NY Times Square) or getting to play the Oscars. It’s like “Wow, I could stop now and be, you know, pretty happy,” but I don’t wanna stop, I think it’s awesome, I just want to keep going and see where this takes me, you just never know.
Smitty: That’s right. Well, you’re having a fun time, I can tell, and rightly so, and we as fans are having a great time along with you.
MA: I’m glad. I think that it should be a party for everyone and it’s fun to see the same faces at gigs and people coming out to different events and all the familiar faces and it is a team event. You know, for me it’s that…. it’s about the audience and me and the band connecting, and it wouldn’t be the same without that kind of interaction, so we’re having a blast and it won’t stop here. (Both laughing)
Smitty: Well, that’s nice to know, wow. Well, Mindi, I tell you, I always get excited when there’s new records that you’re putting out there and I’m just stoked over this one and just wish you well with it and I know there’s gonna be some great things happening this year in connection with this record and the tour and all those things, and you’re to be congratulated for a wonderful, strong CD.