Singer, Amanda “Mandi” Alter is the newest member of Moonshine, a modern country band based in Southeastern Connecticut. The band’s key players are: David Robushi, Lead Vocals, Mandi Alter, Co-Lead Vocals, Deena Robushi, Backing Vocals, Michael Galgano, Lead Guitar, Darren Stec, Keyboard & Guitar, Bradley Clark, Bass Guitar and Ray DeNardo, Drums. Moonshine performs cover songs by artists like Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town and many more. The band was established in 2015, but Mandi joined in October 2018.
I had the opportunity to chat with Mandi during a break in sets at one of Moonshine’s shows. The following interview was obtained at the Comix Roadhouse Mohegan Sun. Mandi sipped tea, surprisingly composed, even though it was her first interview and she had just finished an hour long set. She tried not to strain her voice as she responded to my barrage of questions, speaking clearly into my recorder amidst the roar of the crowd cheering on the woman seductively riding the bull behind us, background music blaring from the speakers and the joyful yells of Saturday night patrons.
Mandi has a passion for music; in particular, country, rock, pop and show tunes. As a teenager, she started going to karaoke. Later, she began making recordings on a karaoke app called Smule. Soon after, she was approached on a social media platform called Bandmix to join Moonshine by founder and lead singer, David Robushi. Bandmix is a forum where musicians seek to connect and collaborate. “This is actually my first time singing country music,” Mandi admits. A quick study, she showcases her natural ability effortlessly and projects an ease that many performers only cultivate after years of training. “I’ve never taken lessons. I can’t afford them,” Mandi confesses laughing. In response to whether she believes that talent is born or learned, she says, “It’s a little of both. Growing up, I had a pipsqueak voice. I always admired the powerhouses like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Adele. I just kept practicing and trying. Eventually, over the years, I built up my vocal muscles. I have miles to go, but I’ve come a long way from where I started.
Mandi has quite an eclectic background. She has performed in various local theater productions like, Little Shop of Horrors and Xanadu. Aside from music and acting, she also enjoys other forms of expression like drawing and writing. Mandi lights up when she talks about what inspires her, “I was always the quiet, shy one. On stage I feel like I can let go and be someone else.” A firm believer in facing her fears head on, she confronts pre-stage jitters by repeating the mantra, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Like many struggling artists, music is not her primary gig. When asked if she’d like to one day pursue her passion full-time, Mandi responds, “Hell yeah! I’d love to do it full-time. If I could get out of my 9 to 5 office job, I’d be very happy. If you like something enough, you’re going to keep doing it everyday.” Mandi’s musical idol obsession is Jason Mraz. “I’ve been obsessed with him since I was sixteen years old,” she exclaims with a girlish glee. She clarifies that it’s not a stalker obsession (well, maybe a little), but more of an appreciation for his talent and style. “I got a chance to meet him in NYC at his musical production of Waitress. I would love to do an acoustic style like his.”
Even though she doesn’t recognize it, Mandi has a natural delivery and free-flowing execution of the songs as if she’s a veteran performer. In response to my compliment on her showmanship she humbly comments, “Thank you so much. That makes me so happy! I have no idea how I look. I just go up there and have fun.”
Meet Mandi and join in all the fun that is Moonshine on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 9pm at Joey C’s Boathouse in Stratford, CT.
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