BWW Interview: Lindsay Mendez Talks 'This Time' and Birdland Concert
Lindsay Mendez has taken New York by storm over the past two years. She has received critical acclaim for her role as Rose in DOGFIGHT, and is currently starring in WICKED at the Gershwin Theater. That's just her day job, as Mendez recently released the album THIS TIME with her music partner Marco Paguia.
On the album, the duo manages to make iconic and popular songs their own. They put their own unique jazzy spin on popular tunes like Alica Key's "No One," tackling the tracks their own unique interpreation of the music. With Mendez's soulful voice and Paguia's masterful piano skills, this is music you want to have on repeat. Actually, this is music you want to hear live.
Fortunately, the pair are schedueled celebrate the release of their CD at Birdland, where they will sing some tunes off of the album. You definately don't want to miss it. Lindsay took some time to talk about THIS TIME, the upcoming concert, and her musical inspirations.
When did you find the time to make this album?
Well, Marco and I have been cultivating the music for the past couple of years. We've had the band since 2010, and we've always known that we wanted to make an album and kind of needed to make an album to take the next step in our journey as a band. So, we fit in the time. I wanted to record it before I went into Wicked. I knew I was going into Wicked for a while, so we recorded in February.
The sound on your album is very different from music on the Broadway stage. It's very much your own. Was that important for you?
Yeah, definitely. I feel like I love what I do, and I love Broadway. I've had the oppourtunity to make a few cast albums to really kind of have a Broadway sound out there in the world, and I really have a strong love for jazz, pop, and other types of music. That was kind of the point of creating the band, to express myself in a different way than I do 8 times a week, you know, in traditional Broadway style. Kind of creating a fresh sound for myself was something I was really interested in, and it's just really exciting to get to perform that type of music.
On the album, you put your own jazzy spin on so many iconic songs. Do you have a favorite to perform when you do live concerts?
Oooh. Gee, I love all of them. I love the Regina Specktor song "Us." I really like that one. I like performing [the song]. It's so exciting. I'd say I really love doing "Sittin' in the Middle," which is this song Marco and I do just the two of us. There's a lot of interplay between us, and my favourite part of having the band is kind of creating the sound [with] Marco, hearing what he's doing, and playing back and forth. It's such a big moment for me in our set whenever we get to do it.
What has it been like working with Marco as a musical partner?
As soon as we met I thought he was incredible. We did start a really cool connection as artists, but also as friends, and now I feel like we are like siblings. He is such a wonderful artist, and so creative, and always can bring fresh, new ideas. Everything he plays just comes out of him. He never has any music in front of him, and every time he plays a song it's completely different which is really...I don't know how he does it. He's just very inspiring to me. I think we inspire eachother, and I think that's why artists collaborate. You get so excited about someone else's work and talent, and you want to create with them. That's how our relationship is, in a nutshell. So, having this band and having the album with him, it's a huge honor for me to get to have my name next to his.
If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Oooh...I...Maybe...geez..maybe Joni Mitchell? I love her to death. I'm like her biggest fan, so that would be really cool.
Would you want to puruse more of a career in just music, or would you like to continue working on stage?
You know, in my dream world they go hand in hand because I love to do both. I think the great thing about having a band is [that] I can [perform] when I have off-time from shows. The reality is shows open and shows close, contracts end, and there's time where you can have a few months off. [Then], maybe the band can go off to Europe and tour or something like that. That's always been my dream for the band, and I think Marco's too. He's also a Broadway music director, so he's got a crazy scheduele too. We hope that we can kind of fit it in and do both things because we both have a passion for both Broadway and straight ahead music.