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For more than a year now, singer/songwriters Mandie and Ruby have charmed Fullerton crowds with their sweet, earthy sounds. Now, Ruby Reginaldo's guitar and Mandie Bee's cute, catchy vocals have to impress the judges and crowds at the OC Music Awards showcase. We recently caught up with Bee to talk about what the band have in store.
OC Weekly: Congratulations on being a finalist for the OC Music Awards. How are you preparing for the nominee show?
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Mandie Bee: Thanks! Many people who've seen us live know that we're just a duo. For the showcase, we wanted to expand the sound just a little more. Our friends Elliot Koenig and Ruben Puebla are backing us with bass and drums. With them, we've been able to do things with our songs that we couldn't do before. We had our first show with them in January at the Copper Door. I dig that place.
How do you feel about your chances of nabbing the award for Best Live Acoustic?
I do think we stand a chance. Whoever decided to add us to the series must have heard something worth showcasing since all we have on our music page are rough demos. I feel we service a different sort of sound that is still easily accessible to the listener and not too offbeat. No matter what happens, we are just happy to have the opportunity to participate.
What's in store for the next year for Mandie and Ruby?
We are writing more original songs together, and there are plans to have a professional recording. I want to make a stop-motion-animation music video, too.
Your Facebook page says the duo began as a "necessity to fulfill the musical needs of both members." How did you start playing together?
Ruby and I met nearly 10 years ago playing in a third-wave ska band. We wrote three songs in a day just for the band, and we both realized how easy it was to work and write together. That type of musical partner can be really hard to find. The band split up, and we stayed in touch over the years. In October 2010, we got together and started writing a few songs. I had a few of my own that we started with, and we did a few covers that we both liked. Then we just started to play out with a good response. Ruby went to school for culinary arts and is working in that field, and I am successfully working in the fashion industry. If we didn't have an outlet to play music, our heads might explode.
What would you say best describes your musical tastes?
Ruby and I have a love for bebop jazz, the blues, old reggae and folky acoustic artists. I think those genres are apparent in our music. I mostly do the singing and lyrics writing, and she works on the different parts of the song in a way that complements my voice and melodies.
You say in your profile that you "need to sing" and that "speaking doesn't explain what I'm trying to say nearly as effectively as it could." How does it impact your songwriting, and what emotions come out when you take the stage?
I can't lie when I'm writing lyrics, and no one can stop me otherwise. Since my instrument is internal, I have to have an emotional connection with it. Otherwise, I'm just singing meaningless words and notes. Singing gives my thoughts and emotions a way out, rather than be bottled up. I'm not a diva; I just want to be heard and share my stories. I'm really lucky to have Ruby believing in what I write about and sharing the same feelings.
This column appeared in print as "Sweet Stuff."