Before she set out to London to pursue music full-time, the German-born singer with Greek roots built her foundation on her eclectic musical education ranging from playing classical music and jazz on piano from the age of five to beginning to write hip hop and pop songs as a teenager. Before the end of the year, I got to sit down with Irini Mando and discuss her love of music, her creative process and the shift from Pink Noise ( her debut EP) to her current Eden EP, which is out now!
How are you?
I’m very well, thank you! Got a bit of a cold, though – so ginger and steaming are for me if I wanna get back in the studio by next week.
Tell us a little about how you began in music?
I started singing and playing piano at the age of five, sang solo for the first time at age 9 and writing music at around 14. When I finished school, I moved to London to study to become a performer, studying singing, acting and dance full-time for over three years. I released the first few tracks when I was still studying and dropped my debut EP Pink Noise just after I graduated.
What sparked such a yearning to delve into music professionally?
I never really felt likeI had a choice – I just knew I’d be unhappy if I didn’t pursue music. Like all careers in entertainment, it’s a lifestyle job and nothing you can dip your toe in – you either dive or you don’t.
Do you think sight reading music is important in creating quality music?
I do believe in a strong music education, but it depends on the genre of music you’re working in and your job. A pop singer might not need to read music – but her backing vocalists probably do.
Personally, I am glad I am able to read and write music – this makes it easier for me to communicate with my collaborators, especially instrumentalists who come from a classical background.
Who was your greatest musical influence? And Why?
Oh boy – there are so many! Early on, I listened to a lot of RnB and Pop and eventually got introduced to Hip Hop and Dancehall as a teen. Hip hop culture in particular still resonates deeply with me.
I don’t think we ever stop being influenced, though. I strongly believe that your cultural environment plays a big role in who you are.
You mentioned that when you created the project, it was not something that you premeditated but simply ‘’ free-styled”? Did this method prove effective to you creatively?
I wouldn’t say it was a freestyle, except for the intro – I actually made the melody up on the spot and we only recorded it once in one take.
Overall, it was rather that I didn’t want to overthink the message, and instead just be expressive. To me, a song is like a photograph – it merely captures a feeling at a particular moment in time.
Creatively, I felt very free and maybe that’s why Eden made so much sense to me once we were in the final stage of it. I didn’t go in with a concept, but I came out with a project.
Who produced the EP and how long did it take to get the ideas down?
Buzzin was the Exec Producer on the record and JFlames produced Surfin Sky High. We were kind of just going with the flow, the overall time I gave the project was half a year.
What has been the ultimate shift from Pink Noise to Eden?
Pink Noise was my debut EP – you always take your time with that. For Eden, I just didn’t want to think. I just wanted to trust my instincts and create something that was true to how I felt in the moment. Personally, I feel Eden is closer to who I am today.
You mentioned you took a risk moving to London to pursue Music, how has it been for you thus far?
I wouldn’t call it a risk but rather there’s sacrifice involved when you’re packing your bags and relocating. However, I have grown up between two countries and always strove for an international career.
Today, London is my home in many ways. The cultural diversity, celebration of eccentricity and amount of possibilities are more than just perks – they’re my soul food!
Have you experienced any difficulties while in pursuit of music?
Nothing worth pursuing is easy, nothing easy is worth pursuing.
I was introduced to the program by WAC Arts, where I trained full-time for three years. I recorded my songs Hang and Pink Noise with the Amy Winehouse Foundation and Island Records picked Hang to be on the compilation when it launched September 2015.
What would be your advice to any young woman trying to breakthrough into the music industry?
Get a good lawyer.
What are your top 5 female musicians right now and why?
I really like both Alicia Keys’ and Solange’s albums that came out recently. Both are strong-minded, beautiful women who live in their truth and are not afraid to express themselves. I’m also really looking forward to Kehlani’s album.
Where can our readers find you? And do you have any gigs coming up?
You can find out more about me as well as all upcoming shows on my website: http://irini.online/
You can find the Eden EP here: http://hyperurl.co/
And my Vevo channel: hyperurl.co/0bcx6m
Take a listen to some of Irini Mando’s musical influences :