Popular Performer Reflects on Music, Stardom
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GREENSBURG, IN It’s 11 a.m., and we’re sitting at a small table in the middle of Roxie’s, a homey diner in the old part of a quaint Midwestern town. Across from me, inconspicuously slumped into a dark green vinyl booth, sipping green tea out of a coffee-stained mug, is a woman who’s quickly becoming a musical legend.

“It’s hard, all this tourin’,” Mandy Sailsman tells me. “I barely even know what town I’m in anymore. They all start to look the same. Gig after gig. Town after town. They’re all becoming a blur.”

A month ago, Mandy began her first national tour as a recognized artist. In the 12 shows since then, she says she’s learned a lot about music—and about people. “We’re all so similar,” she tells me, looking up from her plate of blueberry pancakes. I notice that her tired eyes are beginning to show the wear of the road. “We all have our own problems. But, really, we’re all going through so many of the same things. We just want to get away for a while and forget. We want to get lost in something—like music. We want to know that someone else knows how we’re feeling. And if I can spot that glimpse of relief in one person’s eye...if I can make someone smile and sing along...if someone gets lost in the music for just a minute or two...I’ve done my job. I’m here for them. I decided when I went on tour that my life is no longer my own.”

And I think back to her show last night. She was stunning in her baby blue pantsuit, perfectly transforming herself from Ella Fitzgerald to Courtney Love. And those who looked up from their drinks and their conversations to listen or to sing along or to cheer were truly thankful.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind career,” Mandy says as we part. She’s stepping daintily into her early-‘00s Ford Escort, ready to move on to the next town. Her popularity has skyrocketed in an extraordinary way since her friends filled her with Margaritas and coaxed her onto the stage to perform “Stand by your Man” just a year ago. “That’s when I knew what I had to do. I had to entertain.”

Mandy’s US tour of karaoke bars continues through the end of November. Check out her web site (www.karaokequeen.com) for her tour schedule, and go out of your way to catch her show—no matter how far you have to drive. Her flair and talent are well worth the trip.

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