A Portrait of Photographer Carlos Quinteros Jr

A Portrait of Photographer Carlos Quinteros Jr

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Written by Barbara Sueko McGuire
Photos by Carlos Quinteros Jr.
Portraits of Carlos by Mitchiko Khem

Carlos Quinteros is comfortable sitting back and letting his photography do the talking. Which isn’t a problem because his images have a lot to say. There’s a simplistic intimacy to his work–a sense that there’s more than meets the eye, that you’re being welcomed into a sacred, but accessible, space.

Lucky for us, Carlos’s artistic compass knows where to find these special places and how to capture these unique moments. Whether he’s shooting editorial, sports, portraits or travel, you can tell that Carlos feels at home behind the camera, and that when he’s at home, he’s at his creative best.

The Southern California native recently, and, he admits, a little awkwardly, agreed to let us switch perspectives and turn the focus on him. Read on to get a glimpse at what it’s like to look at the world through Carlos’s lens.

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Talk to me about when you first got interested in taking photographs. What or who sparked your interest?

I first got into photography back in college. Took a darkroom course and instantly fell in love with not just photography, but film and the process of developing and producing a physical copy of an image. I’d spend full days in the darkroom and come out smelling like chemicals.

What were your early days as a photographer like? How did you learn the craft?

I learned how to properly expose images taking a course in college. I would photograph close friends while out on adventures and sneak my camera into shows. It was a challenge photographing a concert from the pit with all the movement of the crowd, but I loved that. Some of my favorite photographs were shot under those conditions.

Film or digital, and why? What kind of camera do you use?

Film, film, film. I shoot film because that was the medium I learned with and always enjoyed the process. Kodak Portra is my go to.

I know you enjoying shooting soccer and I feel like your images give an emotional texture to sports photography that is unique. What inspired you to explore this dimension?

I’ve been a huge fan of the sport since I was a kid. My dad would take me to LA Galaxy games when I was 6, and once photography came into my life I felt like that was a natural step. Being up close to the action and photographing these athletes I admire is amazing. Not something I’d shoot as a career, but more for pleasure. I want to capture raw moments in the game, things you would only see if you were there.

Who are some of your favorite photographers and why?

Getting into photography I learned about Lauren Dukoff. She inspired me in a way no other photographer has done before. Her raw and candid moments with artists really caught my eye.

What do you think a great photograph accomplishes?

Emotions. Good or bad.

Where do you dream of photography taking you?

Art shows and publishing my own book would be the dream goal. Commercial is okay, but in the end, more refined work is what I’d like to do.

Do you ever get the photographer’s equivalent of writer’s block? If so, how to do get creatively inspired?

Definitely do. I feel like most if not every artist does at some point. Once I’m in a hole I try not to look for inspiration. I let inspiration come to me–music, other photos, colors, etc.

What do you think of selfies?

I love a good self-portrait, I don’t like the word “selfies” though.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s three things you’d want with you?

My camera, a soccer ball and a good beer.

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Thank you to Carlos for sharing your captivating work with Popover.

A Life of Creativity with Ashley Tibbits

A Life of Creativity with Ashley Tibbits

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Written by Barbara Sueko McGuire
Photos by Emily Alben

Ashley Tibbits is a writer, stylist and all around creative woman. Barbara Sueko McGuire recently sat down with the LA local to talk about what inspires her, how to pursue creativity, and what it means to be a domestic goddess.

It’s hard not to watch Ashley Tibbit’s hands when she talks. Her petite digits aren’t distracting—rather, they animate her language and speak to the passion behind her words. Ashley is a woman who says what she means and means what she says. She’s one of the easiest humans to have a conversation with, and when she’s discussing her creative pursuits, or helping you suss out your own, it’s as if her fingers are conducting the dialogue.

The Wisconsin native first moved to Southern California in 2007 to pursue a career as an art critic, and has called Silver Lake home ever since. While her life’s direction may have altered course, her love for all things beautiful and creative has never been stronger.

“I’m continually fascinated by Los Angeles: how full and vibrant it is and how it somehow still allows for quiet moments. The jacarandas in spring, the year-long bougainvilleas, the massive agave plants and just this kind of landscape that was nothing like where I grew up,” she explained. “But the main thing that keeps me here is the creativity I’ve found; I meet people daily that are pursuing their dreams and there’s undeniable and palpable magic in that.”

So read on as Ashley’s words—and hands—orchestrate a symphony about her unique niche in this world, and discover why she, herself, is a very real part of the magic.

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You excel at a variety of creative pursuits, from being a fashion writer and editor to working as a freelance stylist. What draws you to each different outlet?

I joke that “if you can’t do, write” like they say about teaching—also horribly untrue. I’m able to see that writing isn’t something that’s as easy for some people as it is for me, and I don’t mean to be too self-deprecating about that, but to some degree I’ve always been a “jack of all trades, master of none.”

I think I’m pretty clear now that writing is what I do best, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love to style when I get the chance. When I tried to switch to full-time styling I realized it was never the same passion I had for writing. It’s such a hard industry and you have to love it 100 percent. For me, that part of my heart was just reserved for writing so I couldn’t push that out of the way. Now if I’m blessed to be offered a cool styling job—even if the money is terrible—I’ll take it because I really do like being artistic in that way. But only when I get some creative freedom! The alternative is no fun.

You also describe yourself as a “domestic goddess.” Can you talk a little bit about how you came up with the moniker and what it means to you?

Yes! It’s very tongue-in-cheek to call myself that. If you actually visited my apartment you know I’m no Martha Stewart. My ex is a very talented cook and got me excited about doing things like shopping the farmer’s market, cooking, setting a nice table, etc. When we split up, those types of things were too tied to him for me to enjoy anymore. Then one day I decided I deserved to do beautiful things for myself—for no other reason than to make myself happy and that I could make my own memories and experiences.

So now I like to do things like always have flowers around, visit the farmer’s market a few times a week and I love to geek out cooking breakfast or making a cocktail. My mom, bless her, raised us on a lot of convenience foods, so it’s a new world for me to be playing with recipes the way I do now! And the produce in a place like LA makes it so easy.

How do you keep your personal life and your work life balanced and organized in a way that actually let’s you turn “off?”

I wish I could say I do, but it’s a constant struggle. I’m not wealthy and no one else supports me, so I kind of have to say “yes” to a lot. I’m not in the position to just follow all my creative pursuits 100 percent of the time, but I do love a lot of work that I get to do at the moment and I feel really lucky about that.

There are days I feel like I am totally brain-dead and that I’ve used all the words in the English vocabulary and I have no energy left for things like laundry or cleaning the apartment. That’s the tricky part. I spend a lot of time working and when I’m not working I’m unwinding from work (read: sleeping). That makes it hard to keep up with chores and do personal creative projects. I think moving forward I need to be better about saying no when it means keeping me more sane and happy. That’s something I might always battle with!

What’s some advice you’d give to budding creatives looking to break from their 9-5 and pursue something they’re more passionate about?

Number one, I’d say don’t necessarily hate on your 9-5 unless it makes you totally miserable. There’s no shame in paying your bills with something that’s not your dream job—as long as you’re following your passion in your other time. I hope to one day support myself completely by writing, but until that happens there’s no sense in torturing myself for not being able to!

Be patient and kind with yourself; we’re not all given a trust fund and surrounded by “yes” people. Figure out what brings you the most joy and do what you have to do to make time for it, even if it’s before or after your 9-5 and even if you can’t figure out if it will ever make you money. Believe me, if you don’t you’ll feel you’re missing out.

You’re exceptionally good at connecting with people—seeing what they’re really about—and then using that knowledge for good, whether it be introducing them to someone in their industry or suggesting an online resource that could be inspiring. Is this something that comes naturally to you or is it a skill you had to cultivate?

I’m blessed to be in an amazing group of creative women that I can call friends. When I pitch someone as a subject, it’s probably because I’m already admiring them from afar. Very rarely has meeting these women been disappointing and very often we end up being friends! I’m drawn to women who are creative and hard working and they tend to have like-minded friends so it’s a domino effect. LA makes it so easy to connect. From what I hear that’s what’s cool about our city versus New York. For me, it’s never competitive, and that’s great because I’m not from a competitive city. It’s very organic to say, “Oh you do this cool thing? You need to meet so-and-so.” And others do the same for me.

It seems like you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the uniquely cool market. Is there an author, coffee shop, fashion trend or band we should be paying attention to? For instance, what do you think might be the next avocado toast?

Hahaha! I hope avocado toast is a forever thing. In fashion, I’ve been noticing a huge shift towards sustainable brands that create in small runs, use deadstock or reclaimed fabric and manufacture locally. Paying a bit more, but investing in pieces that are more conscious and well-made to last you longer and stay in your closet more than a season. I love brands like Reformation or the recently-launched YSTR for that.

Of course “mom” jeans are having a moment, but I refuse to call them that! I was told by a vintage denim vendor that there’s going to be a shift away from 501’s. I have a pair of Lee’s from Fair Season which are a bit higher rise and more slim-fitting than that style, so they have less of an ‘80s mom vibe.

I’m super snobby about writers. I’ll watch any horrible reality show but I can’t be in book clubs because I’m so picky. That said, one of my favorite contemporary writers is Tao Lin. His last novel “Tai Pei” is an incredibly accurate portrait of detached youth. The writing style is so modern and the story is sad and funny and very relatable.

How do you stay inspired? Who or what keeps you on your creative toes?

I make sure to make time to get inspired. That might mean taking a stroll around Echo Park during lotus season or going to a matinee showing of some indie movie or doing candlelit yoga in my living room while Lemonade is playing. I think honestly it’s about disconnecting in some way for me.

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A Day in the Life of a Creative Director

A Day in the Life of a Creative Director

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Written by Asia David
Photos of Asia by Aja Hitomi
All other photos by Asia David

Asia David is the Creative Director of BUNCH Magazine, a beautiful publication that has built a healthy following by curating stories about and for the daring creative. Asia is a true creative mind and she gave us a little glimpse into what it takes to craft a brand.

I often get the question of what exactly it is I do or the assumption that my everyday life is all fun with no real work. While snapchat and instagram help play into that idea, my life is a juggling act of maintaining the overall BUNCH brand, self-care and actually having a life. While what I get to do as work is awesome, it’s not always a walk in the park. Some days I work solely from my couch, glued to the computer screen in my pj’s while other days I’m running all over the city without taking one look at an email. Because we’re such a small team at BUNCH, everyone has their hands, arms, and feet in every area of the publication, which make for really fun yet unpredictable days.

As the Creative Director of BUNCH Magazine, my primary role is to maintain our brand while brainstorming and executing new ways to evolve our brand. I make sure every visual component that comes through and/or is created by our magazine shares our brand story and aesthetic. From coming up with event ideas, producing concepts for and executing photo shoots, laying out the entire issue with the help of my graphic design intern, and managing our art contributors, I’m often doing many tasks at once.

Mornings
I’m an early riser and like to start my day off around 5am. Really, this means I lie in bed for another hour and then set my intentions for the day. I mediate, visualize, make tea, and write down all my tasks for the day. After that, I do some reading — right now I’m into You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I make sure to take time for myself before the craziness of the day starts (and people start waking up), so I can check in with myself and get my mind right. After reading, I try to start or get one project done before I go to the gym for an hour. I always try to make it to the gym exactly at 8am so I can stick to a strict morning schedule. Also, if I don’t get to the gym early, all the treadmills will be taken.

The gym is a good time for me to get all my social media, youtubing and blog reading out of the way. After a good hour, I shower, make breakfast then jump into my workday around 9:30/10am. This is the time where my day is up for grabs depending on the most urgent task or where we are with the magazine. Anything goes from conference calls, heading to my first meeting, a photoshoot, or setting up somewhere to work for the day. I try to work outside as much as possible since it’s my job to stay inspired and creative.

Midday
Today, I went to a coffee shop and made it my mission to create the master moodboard for our next issue. I spent a few hours researching words, collecting imagery, colors and thinking of cool concepts we could try around the theme. After that, I took a lunch meeting with a friend at Urth Cafe, to explore ideas for an upcoming editorial I wanted her to shoot. When lunch was done, I noticed that it was such a nice day and decided to work from one of my favorite areas, Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach. I caught up on emails, looked through editorial submissions, reached out to a few artists that want to work on the next issue with, and then went back to creating the master moodboard. I reviewed the images from the morning and created a visual story with the strongest concepts and visuals relating to our new theme.

Afternoon
It’s now afternoon and I’m ready to head home. I use the time driving sitting in traffic to listen to an audio book (Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is amazing one), podcasts, or zone out to music. Once home, I make dinner, and finish any lingering projects or start on one for the next day. This is the time where I get to research what’s happening in art/design, tackle website maintenance, or create social media graphics needed for the upcoming week.

Nighttime
I must admit I need a better night routine for winding down and separating from all things digital. My day usually ends by scrolling through social media and falling asleep to whatever series I’m addicted to at the moment. Right now, I’m watching the entire Desperate Housewives series and no, I’m not ashamed. Even though my to-do list is what seems to be miles long, I make it a daily mission to get 3 large things done a day. If I learned something new about my craft, got a head start on an upcoming issue (like the moodboard), and some brand maintenance, I feel pretty good about my day.

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The Interior Startup Growing Detroit’s Design Scene

The Interior Startup Growing Detroit’s Design Scene

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Written by: Heather Nash
Photos by: Heather Nash Photography

Nestled in a neighborhood northeast of downtown Detroit is the home of Rachel Nelson, one half of the interior design duo, RL Concetti. With an emphasis on commercial and residential design, Rachel and her business partner Lauren DeLaurentiis are a rapidly growing design team intent on inspiring and instilling their bold, dramatic and playful style upon the up and coming Detroit design scene.

Popping over to Rachel’s two-story cape cod home for coffee & pastries, I was given the complete tour of her unique, eclectic space, designed by herself with the help of Lauren. The dining room showcases a beautiful granite topped tulip table surrounded by several Panton chairs, while the wall behind it boasts colorful, geometric wallpaper; a true statement and testament to Rachel’s aesthetic. Her gold ceilinged office features a plush antique sofa, reupholstered in a blue crushed velvet. A carefully placed mid-century modern globe light fixture hangs over the sofa, completing the space and giving it a polished, opulent finish. Two friendly American Bulldog rescues curiously trail behind Rachel as she shows me around, eventually finding themselves ushered outside to bask in the unseasonably warm spring morning.

We spent the majority of our time getting to know one another and discussing the pair’s background and goals for the future. RL Concetti formed about a year ago and Lauren speaks to their excitement about being a part of the ongoing revival happening in the Detroit area. They define their style as a mix of contemporary pieces with classic silhouettes, vintage with new, and a unique incorporation of unexpected pops of color, layers and textures. Referring back to Rachel’s gold ceiling color choice in her office, they highlighted the challenge that it presented, a design risk turned into a successful element that could be utilized again for a future client. They spoke of their dream of doing large scale design work for a new restaurant, a goal that could be closer to a reality given the commercial boom happening throughout the area. Until then, no project is too small for Rachel & Lauren as they continue to earn rave reviews from each client they work with.

Lastly, I joined the two at their newly acquired office space, still a work in progress, in an old Albert Kahn factory building located a few blocks from the Detroit River. Lauren and Rachel shared their large concept board, filled with fabric & paint swatches, room layouts and inspirational images that they update and use with each client. We then spent a bit of time exploring one of the building’s cavernous industrial floors, filled with covered vehicles gathering dust, each having been brought up in a giant freight elevator and stored over the years. The building is currently undergoing extensive renovations and will include work/live space in the future.

As we parted ways, I couldn’t help but share in the pair’s excitement about their future as a growing, successful small start up firm. The ups and downs and long days are intensely familiar to me as a small business owner. Not to mention the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with depending on a steady stream of clients who value the goods or services that you provide and will happily pay you your worth. Work/life balance tends to be extremely skewed towards work when it’s your business. Long hours are a given and the personal life component is often overlooked. But those inconveniences are often outshined by the thrill of freedom, creativity and the ability to steer your own course for the future and I wish Lauren and Rachel the best as they continue to create beautiful, lasting design in our little corner of Michigan.

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The creativity of movement with MashUp

The creativity of movement with MashUp

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Written by Barbara Sueko McGuire
Photos by Kelly Mustapha

Not everyone is lucky enough to find their life’s passion at age four, but for Sarah Rodenhouse, dance has always been a way for her to use her body to express emotions she’s unable to find words for. She’s trained in just about every style, from ballet and jazz to contemporary and tap, and has taken classes around the world, from Bangkok and Florence to Cape Town and Bali. These are just the first few lines of her impressive dance resume.

“I genuinely think I have a hard time functioning unless both my body and mind are being physically and creatively stimulated, and I haven’t found anything else that does that for me in the way dance has,” she explained.

We were able to still Sarah momentarily, and sat down with her to talk about movement, what it’s like being the co-director of the dance company MashUp, and how she keeps artistically stimulated and fulfilled.

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When did you first know you wanted to be a dancer?

I can’t really pin-point an exact moment when I knew I wanted to be a dancer, but a few Christmases ago my borderline hoarder mother gave me a framed self portrait that I drew when I was in third grade. At the bottom of the picture it says “My Future,” and I had to fill in what I wanted to be.

“When I am grown up, I am going to be a professional dancer. I would like to be this because I like to dance, and I get a lot of exercise, and it’s fun.” As simple as it sounds, it still holds true today.

What inspired you to create MashUp, the dance company you started with your friend Victoria Brown in 2010?

I think part of the reason I started MashUp with Victoria is because I was young and naive, but the other major part is because I felt like the industry and the auditions I was going to were not fulfilling the type of dance I really wanted to be doing.

In the beginning, MashUp was an outlet for Victoria and I to do what we really love and on our terms. But then I think we started to realize that there were just so many great dancers in LA that were craving this kind of outlet as well, and that we did have something special. The process of starting up the company and becoming a non-profit was stressful (still is sometimes) and really trial by fire, but also fun. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we went for it and have somehow made it this far.

I have had to wear every different hat you could possibly imagine, probably hats you didn’t even know existed. I’ve been everything including dancer, choreographer, director, grant writer, marketing manager, event planner, graphic designer, bookkeeper, costume washer, props handler—I could go on for days. No job has ever been too small. I’ve just done whatever I needed to do to keep the company running, and I have to say it has been an incredible learning experience that I wouldn’t ever change. I always thought that being in the dance industry meant being just a dancer, but there really is so much more and I’m so happy to have learned and acquired so many new skills through this process.


Tell me a little bit more about MashUp—what are you guys all about?

MashUp is an all female non-profit contemporary dance company based in LA. We try to bring the art of dance to life through artistically innovative works and a unique movement vocabulary. MashUp aims to engage diverse communities in the invaluable experience of dance through performances, after school programming, and participation with the Los Angeles dance community.

We hope to share the gift of dance and use it to empower young minds and bodies with a special importance placed on motivating young girls and women to be strong, confident, and articulate females. Our movement quality is based on a strong technical or ballet foundation with elements of jazz, modern, and hip hop infused to create an athletic and interesting aesthetic.

As a company, we have performed in eight cities around the U.S. and Canada, and have self-produced a total of five evening-length shows. MashUp usually performs at different venues, theaters and events around Los Angeles, but will soon be able to hold small performances in our new space in the “Frogtown” area of LA. We have also partnered with both LA’s Best and The Girl Scouts to provide after school classes and workshops.

You’re in the process of launching your own dance class for non-dancers. What inspired that and what is the class like?

THIS CLASS! I am so stoked about Moved LA. As much as I have loved working with professional dancers for over a decade, I also have some pretty amazing non-dancer friends that I always wished I could work with. They are creative, fun, and fearless. This is really what inspired me to start Moved LA. I can understand and totally dig their creative work, and I wanted to do the same for them with dance. I wanted to show my friends and others like them why I’m so passionate about movement and why it is so therapeutic for me.

Unlike other dance classes where you have to learn and regurgitate choreography, Moved LA uses exercises and imagery to help everyone come up with their own unique way of moving in order to genuinely express themselves. It may sound a little scary, but once you get going and just let the music and movement take over, it’s so much fun and so rewarding in lots of different ways. I’m hoping to do some private parties with groups of friends or team building with some smaller businesses until we launch a big class open to the public later this summer/fall.


What do you think makes dancing such an incredible form of creative expression?

For me, it’s literally that unspoken thing. As humans we all have a connection to our body. It’s the thing that gets us up and down and from Point A to Point B. Everything we do revolves around using our bodies in some way. So it makes sense that it is an innate form of expression. When certain emotions come up, we usually feel them in our bodies first before we express them in words. I can tell you what a song sounds like, but if I show you with my body it makes a bigger impact.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a dancer and how did you overcome that?

In dance, there are lots of outside obstacles. You are constantly being judged on a daily basis and the competition is pretty intense. But I’d have to say that the biggest challenge has been standing in my own way, and this is a challenge that I think I am still overcoming. As I get older I’ve realized that just because I don’t have certain jobs listed on my resume doesn’t mean I’m not a good dancer and it doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot over the past 11 years that I’ve been pursuing this.

One thing I’m proud of is that I’ve really stayed true to myself through the process and have surrounded myself with really good people who support me no matter what my dance career looks like. I’m finally becoming more comfortable with who I am as a dancer and a choreographer, and have grown to like the quirks that used to make me feel like I wasn’t a good dancer.

What’s coming up next?

I’m so excited for the rest of this season as we talk about female exploration and the gender equality movement. We’ve asked our dancers and some of the most influential women in our industry to delve into this topic so we can create what I think will be our most important work to date. MashUp has actually launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project so that we can more fully develop the conversation.

We want to analyze the complexity of a woman’s role in modern society and use our space and dancers to their fullest potential to present a thought-provoking performance, which we’re calling “Intrinsic Motivation.” It’s going to be a reflection of our research on the topic and the dialogue that we’re creating in our community, and will be our first performance in our new space. I just cannot wait to share what we’ve been working on! The sky is the limit with this show as our dancers express a woman’s versatility including grace, strength, and emotional connection, and as we have free reign over our space to really make the vision come to life.

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Besides dancing, what are some of your other interests?

Anything visually stimulating interests me. Aside from looking at art, I’ve always had a thing for finding fun vintage clothing and decorating. I not so secretly kind of want to be a party/event planner. I love getting crafty by creating a magical ambiance in a space. I’m kind of a DIY gal at heart, and even got to showcase my mad skills earlier this year at a friends wedding in Brooklyn. I planned, created, and decorated the entire reception space, even created all of the bouquets, boutonnieres and decor for the church (with help from some awesome bridesmaids!). Oh, and I also love beer.

Mindy Jones from the Basement to the Big Stage

Mindy Jones from the Basement to the Big Stage

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Written by: Barbara Sueko McGuire
Photos by: Lou Noble

From her first performance in the basement of a Ramada Inn in Silverlake, to this past September when she sang for the Pope, President, and Congress at the National Mall in Washington DC, the background to singer Mindy Jones’ career has certainly changed. But her positive attitude hasn’t. The ever humble, forever grateful music artist has been at it for the past ten years, and even with accolades like being the lead vocalist for Moby boosting her resume, she’s never let any taste of fame turn her into a diva.

But that doesn’t mean she can’t sing like one. Mindy’s voice is a powerhouse of passion, natural talent and hard work. While her easy smile and infectious laugh beguile the hard work it’s taken to get her where she is today, it’s been no Sunday stroll. Mindy shared with Popover what it’s like to make music in today’s digital world, and why it’s so fun.

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Do you remember when you first realized you could sing?

As a child, my Mom sang everywhere we went, all the time. If I was running late, she would sing at the bottom of the stairs “Are you ready?” from the song by Barbara Mason until I sang back “Yes, I’m ready!” and came down. Or crossing the street, she would sing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles so I wouldn’t feel so dorky holding my Mom’s hand.

So, as you can see, I grew up with music everywhere. I didn’t even know other people couldn’t sing until I was about 11 years old when I joined the church choir and my best friend at the time couldn’t because she was completely tone deaf. I was shocked, so for practice, I would sing a note and she would try to sing it back to me, and would completely miss the mark. It was the first time I realized I had a gift.

What do you love most about singing?

EVERYTHING! I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way it makes other people feel. I love it’s healing power. I love that I can’t go a day without it.

What made you decide to pursue singing as a creative career?

I’ve been in countless bands and sang on countless friends records, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I realized I had an edge—I could sing a lot of different styles of music like Gospel, Soul, Country, Indie, Choral, etc. So I decided to try to be a session singer. I started asking around and started getting referred to do commercial, cartoon and movie trailer work, and other “paid for hire” jobs around LA. And I fell in love with it! Being able to walk in a room and sound like Adele one day and Rihanna the next, after only hearing the song one time through, is kind of thrilling! Almost like playing a game.

How did you connect with Moby? What’s it like making music with him?

I met Moby for the first time at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in 2011. We had a mutual friend and he saw my band at the time, DA & The Jones, play at a bar. Well, not even in the bar, more like on the front porch. There were probably three people there, including Moby, but he must have seen something he liked, cause he asked us to be in a choir on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” the following week! As you can imagine, my answer was “YAAAAAASSSSSSS!”

The day of the dress rehearsal, he looked up at me out of ten people and said, “Mindy, will you do a solo at the end?” and the rest is history. I started singing lead for him that year and have recorded on his last album and will be the only featured vocalist on the next one coming out in 2016! I am grateful everyday for meeting him and getting the immense honor to work with him. I respect him so much as an artist, an animal rights activist and a friend.

You are also a singer and songwriter of your own right, can you tell us about the music you make?

I make whatever comes to me at the moment! I taught myself the program Ableton last summer from YouTube videos and now I write and produce everything myself. I didn’t want to always depend on others to make my music for me, so I took it into my own hands and it was the best decision I ever made.

Of course I still work with other producers and songwriters, like my duo project ADLT VDEO with the crazy talented Luke Top, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to “rely” on it anymore. It was a long and hard learning curve, but I’m pretty good at it now, and am proud to say I self-produced my latest EP “Under the Covers.” I guess if I had to describe it, it could be referred to as Electro-Soul-Pop? I just made that up.

When you’re writing new songs, what’s that process like?

It’s different every time and that what keeps it exciting! Like every musician, I’m sure, my “Voice Memos” are out of control. I get the weirdest inspirations right before I fall asleep or when I’m driving or when I’m listening to an old tune that inspires me somehow, and then I’ll sit down with all of them at the end of the day or week and piece all the ideas together.

With ADLT VDEO, Luke and I write together from scratch. Maybe he’ll come up with a cool synth melody, and I’ll start writing the first words that come to mind, and then we just build and build up the track till it’s rad. In co-writes, one of us will usually come into the session with a starting point, maybe a chorus idea or a full verse, and then we bounce ideas around until a song come out. There are so many different ways to create and I love them all!

What or who would you say inspires you creatively?

The planet earth! I know that sounds hippie or something, but it’s true. Anything from the wind through the trees to crickets against wind chimes to people on the streets to getting my heart broken to listening to other music to losing my puppy two weeks ago (at least a really good song came out of that!) to everyday life!
There’s a song in everything.

You recently had a song on “Blindspot.” How did that come to pass and what was it like hearing your song on a national hit TV show?

It was crazy awesome! I met the creator/writer of the show, Martin Gero, at a party one night and the next thing I knew, he put my song on his show! This is NOT the usual way synching a song on TV happens for me, I have an agent for that, but I guess it does really happen! I watched the show at his house that Monday night with the cast and writers ‘live tweeting’ alongside me. It was incredible and surreal. I had to re-watch it when I got home because I was so distracted with emotions.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment thus far? Have you had an “OMG is this my life?” moment?

I have them almost every day. I’m not even kidding. I fully realize how fortunate I am and think about it a lot. Twenty-five year old Mindy would never have even DREAMED of this life. But if I had to pick…

Singing for Pope Francis?! Or playing to Will Ferrell and his kids in his backyard supporting gun control?! Or singing alongside Duran Duran, Karen O and Donovan at the David Lynch Foundation’s 10-year anniversary!!? All just this year!

What is one of the biggest challenges of pursuing a career in the music industry?

Supporting myself. The music industry has changed dramatically in the recent years. It’s no secret that streaming has completely changed the game and is making it increasingly harder to earn a living as a musician. I do a lot of different work to fill in the gaps, but it’s a constant hustle. I keep going strong because I absolutely love what I do, and to be honest, I’m not really that good at anything else.

Any advice to people looking to break into the music industry?

Don’t give up! It’s hard, but can be done with the right attitude, talent and drive. Be open to anything, but be smart. Oh, and connections, connections, connections!

What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?

I love swimming, building things (currently staining shelves I made), and watching movies. I’ve recently been trying to enjoy LA more. I live in an incredible city with a million and one things to do every day and night. So more art shows, museums, galleries, concerts, and exploring new restaurants, but mostly, hanging out with my friends. They’re pretty amazing.

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