Singer Mindy Smith, daughter of a pastor, sings and plays along the long lines of Americana. She recently released her first Yuletide recording, the five-song EP Snowed In, on TVX/Giant Leap Records. She took some questions over email.
Seattle Star: Where did you grow up and where have you lived since? How did Christmases growing up compare and contrast with Christmases in other places? What are your favorite and least favorite Christmas memories? How did growing up in a religious family influence the Yuletide
Mindy Smith: I grew up in Long Island, but I have lived in Cincinnati, Ohio; Knoxville, TN; and Nashville. Each new place offered new friends and new surroundings, but I also have had family close by.
The two worst memories that stand out are when I was 16 and very sick, and the other when we had to move because the boiler in the house backed up and we had to replace everything. I have too many favorite memories of Christmas to pick just one.
Seattle Star: What were the main inspirations for your two new songs on the EP, “Tomorrow Is Christmas Day” and “Snowed In”? How do the two songs compare and contrast?
Mindy Smith: Growing up we always had a sense of exactly what Christmas means, we took the time to appreciate Christ’s birth. We would go caroling and had a live nativity at church. We kept a good balance between our faith and the other joys that the season brings.
“Snowed In” is just about taking the time to relax and enjoy everything around you. “Tomorrow is Christmas Day” is just a light-hearted tune about what the Christmas season means to some people.
Seattle Star: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I heard just a touch of auto-tune on “Tomorrow Is Christmas Day.” What are your stances regarding auto-tune and other technical effects?
Mindy Smith: Sometimes to capture an emotional moment it can be a useful tool. But it can also be abused. I avoid using it at all costs and just sing.
Seattle Star: Who worked with you on the “Snowed In” project and how did they contribute? Which had worked with you before?
Mindy Smith: The players on the album are all stellar musicians. I have worked with most of them many times. Lex Price, Eddie Bayers, Michael Rhodes, Brent Mason, John Hobbs, Andrea Zonn… Steve Buckingham, the producer, and Ed Seay, the engineer. A great group of people to work with.
Seattle Star: How did you choose the three traditional songs and how did you go about decided how to perform them? Were there any other songs you considered but left off the record? If so, which, and why?
Mindy Smith: I had the songs in mind and knew that I wanted to them because I feel good singing them. All of the arrangements were created in the studio and then we went live to record them as a band
Seattle Star: You performed several verses to “Auld Lang Syne” which aren’t often heard. What lead to this choice? What is your personal relationship to this song?
Mindy Smith: It is a beautiful Scottish traditional song. People take for granted what a new year can bring.
Seattle Star: What are your plans for the immediate future?
Mindy Smith: I am looking forward to my upcoming show at the Ryman on December 14th!