To the untrained eye, Mandy Prater, Andra Liemandt, Jenny Mason, and Larissa Ness are a foursome distinctly attuned to overbrimming sippy cups, the tenor of an instrument, and the unparalleled vivaciousness of the marrow of Austin, Texas.  Howbeit, beneath the cotton muddied with fingerpaints and the blistered knuckles from timber drumsticks, the quarter are acknowledged as an all-female rock-pop fusion ensemble designated The Mrs.

Andra, the aforementioned founding member and leading drummer, “—began writing songs to connect with women like herself: mothers who want a full life and want it all: personal relationships, careers, marriages and friendships.  We want to experience a multitude of life experiences that aren’t often portrayed on mainstream radio.  Soon, my personal project turned into a movement when I formed The Mrs, to help women see themselves in a more positive light and change the negative self-talk that happens when they look in the mirror.”

As the sprouting brainchild culminated into a flourishing evergreen, Andra implemented her spiritedness for girlhood and its collective optimism into The Mrs itself, not to mention a spin-off venture entitled “The Kindness Campaign” (TKC).

In reference to their homepage, “[The Kindness Campaign] is a classroom focused initiative built on the premise that promoting a kinder pattern of behavior in our children will equip them with tools to navigate obstacles at home, at school and eventually in the workplace.  TKC’s goal is to arm elementary counselors, teachers and students with engaging resources to promote a kinder tomorrow.”  In junction with The Katelle Program, donations to the organization are currently accepted here.

Whilst enlisting prospects for The Mrs, it was without debate that Jenny, Andra’s confidante of fifteen years, would be a shoo-in for the troupe’s bassist.

Mandy and Larissa followed suit, a guitarist and pianist, respectively; a dynamic duo vocalizing into the “front lines” of the microphones.

“In New Orleans, [Mandy] played in a cover band until Hurricane Katrina hit. At that point, she and her soulmate packed up their instruments, cats, and belongings, and drove to Austin, where they knew they could continue performing and enjoying amazing music.”

Larissa, alternatively, has been professionally producing her discography as of her spright adolescence of sixteen, immersing herself into the quintessence of jazz, hip-hop, Latin, pop, and electronic originations and melodies.

Thus, upon the enkindling of a rousing inferno, the virtuoso musicians contacted myself, Alexandria Piette, as an Affinity Magazine staff writer, to limelight their multifaceted career pathways and their philanthropic philosophies.

 

Q. To commence, Affinity Magazine is indisputably elated to thank The Mrs and your team, and accredit you for partaking in the interview feature!  As a staff of girlhood from assorted backgrounds, we are humbled to institute this dialogue with a musical troupe centralizing on body positivity and the harmony (pun-intended) of ladies collectively and individually on a global spectrum.  With that established, can you give our readership the lowdown on each member of the ensemble?  Who are you, quirks and all?

We think of ourselves as four women who want to be part of the change in the way women see themselves.  We write songs to inspire the knowing in each woman that she is enough.

Here are a few of our quirks…

Andra – drinks her weight in iced green tea daily and has two clocks by her bed, neither of them set to the actual time—ask her why!

Larissa – can play keyboard with her toes & backwards! And, she says, “YAY!”—with great enthusiasm—about five hundred times a day.

Mandy – is trivial pursuit champion.  We like to tease her that she knows practically everything about pop culture and music trivia.

Jenny – is the band’s “mamabear”, and a total chatterbox after a cup of coffee!  Do you know the old commercials with [the] micromachine guy?  She talks at least that fast!

 

Q. As four women—Mandy, Andra, Jenny, and Larissa—there was, presumably, an occasion where the sweet-tempered ambition for music and social activism had a metamorphosis into your reality.  How did that transpire?  Who was it introduced by?  Was it spontaneous, or a time-honored proposition amongst yourselves?

Creating music with a mission is who we are. It really started with our first video.

We had this idea to create a video that was anything but typical, to show the meaning behind the song in a unique and powerful way, and the Magic Mirror idea was born.  We knew that people look at themselves in the mirror everyday, but we wanted to see what could happen if we got people to really see themselves with the same appreciation and compassion their loved ones do.

 

Q. Was the initializing idea amongst you to exclusively orchestrate music and it progressively became activism?  Or, was the aspiration to concentrate upon fulfilling motherhood, body positivity, and intersectional feminism from the get-go?

From the start, the mission of the band always was to give a voice to a different demographic of women, and change the way women see themselves.

 

Q. The epicenter of your artistry materializes within Austin of the The Lone Star State.  Is the bustling city lifestyle influential to your tunes?  Do you observe a solidified support system/fan-base at the “popular Austin clubs”, even with the controversy environing activism akin to feminism and “sisterhood”?

Totally!  You’ll hear a lot of Austin in our music, from our sound to our producers and everything in between.  Austin makes us who we are, several of us actually moved here because it has such a supportive and diverse music scene.

 

Q. A motif of vitality, although occasionally unfavorable, is “firsts”.  The Mrs undoubtedly endured a “first” with respect to your gigsset the scene!  Where was it located?  Did it stimulate a concrete fanaticism for performance and/or the advocacy for femme solidarity and self-love?  How did it ensuingly snowball into further concerts?

Our first show was at BlogHer and we played the song Enough, which is all about self-love. We bring that same message to every show.

 

Q. Although I have dabbled in musical instruments, I have yet to designate myself a bona fide songwriter comparable to yourselves.  As a result, I’m not privy to the creative innovation of the process, and am enchanted to hear what the day-to-day grind resembles.  For instance, how, conceptually and physically, was your single “The Beast” composed?  What about the debut EP, ENOUGH?

The way we write music is pretty unique, we all sit down together, brainstorm ideas and create the songs. We wrote our entire album, all 11 songs, in two weekends.

The Beast was actually the hardest song to write, we just couldn’t get into a groove. We changed instruments, changed spaces physically, and then, finally, one line connected, “Free the Beast!” We started chanting that, and everything else fell into place.

 

Q. Additionally, The Mrs combo has formulated a prospering mobile app and campaign entitled “The Mrs Magic Mirror” with the hashtag “#imEnough”.  Extraordinarily, the YouTube tutorial has been viewed on approximately 5.3 million occasions.  In essence, how would you characterize the movement?  What was the foundational inspiration for its development?

It started with our drummer, Andra, having a day when nothing seemed to go right. As she tucked her daughter in that night, her daughter looked at her and said, “[Y]ou’re the best mommy in the whole world.” It made Andra pause, and think about how mean she’d been to herself all day. The next day at rehearsal, she told the rest of us about her revelation, and we all had similar stories. We wrote the song Enough as a response to our inner voice and a reminder to be kind to ourselves.

 

Q. With regards to your press, The Mrs has been catapulted into the limelight on distinguished television and journalistic sources, including Good Morning America, Upworthy, Billboard Magazine, People Magazine, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, and numerous transnational radio and podcast series.  Was the substantial typhoon of public/media attention overwhelming and/or dumbfounding for you?  How has it impacted your occupational and personal motivations?

Sometimes we still pinch ourselves about the amazing opportunities we’ve gotten from media outlets. It’s been a fun and fascinating journey from the start, when Good Morning America called because right after our Magic Mirror video got one million views. We feel honored and excited to be able to share our message with new audiences each time we do an interview, and we hope our message really has impact on someone who needs to hear it.

 

Q. As mothers, how would you paint the mural of your musical professions’ impression on your parenting?  Because you are habitually expressing oftentimes exasperating and potent emotions throughout your tracks, would you argue that it has facilitated you with increased empathy and the capacity to maneuver through taxing childhood/teenaged circumstances?  Do you find that your optimistic mantras have equally as optimistic effects on your children?

We don’t separate our music from the rest of our lives. The moms among us definitely make us better musicians and songwriters, and we often find that we have our children in mind when we write. One thing we all feel strongly about is that our music can be a positive and powerful message to girls {and boys} of all ages. And yes, our kids are some of our biggest fans! They love both the music and how they see us following our dreams.

 

Q. Upon the curtain call, I have a run-of-the-mill, yet monumentally imperative ‘Q’ in dire necessity of an ‘A’: where can Affinity Magazine’s demographic follow you, The Mrs, on social media platforms?  Furthermore, where can they stream and/or download your discography?  Where can your album be pre-ordered?

Our favorite social platform is Facebook!  Like us here!

You can find more about us here and you can pre-order our album here.

 

Routinely, a heartfelt thank you is appropriate for The Mrs from the Affinity Magazine workforce and myself, exclusively, for extending the hand for an educational and uplifting discussion.  Moreover, our Herculean gratitude is to Hayley Brinkman, a correspondent of The Mrs, for administering the logistics of our captivating communication.

Together, we will glimpse at the “animal inside of [us] that is beautiful”, and learn to embrace it unconditionally in all its glories and downfalls.

The Mrs’ featured single “The Beast” and EP ENOUGH can be downloaded via the Apple Store or Amazon, and streamed for free and/or with a premium membership on Spotify.

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