I don’t live there anymore, BUT, living in Nashville sometimes can feel like friends, people, human connection is in constant orbit. A familiarity and sometimes even a closeness with people you don’t get to see often. The reason is because it is a music town and that results in being gone A LOT then once home you want to isolate, and everyone does this on repeat forever on a different schedule (at least this is how it used to be). I consider Becca one of those special people, that even though you haven’t had a chance to spend a ton of time and hang together, there is a peripheral understanding and appreciation and connection with that person and their creations. This was particularly funny when we realized we lived about 20 yards from each other one day when I saw her driving her van by my house one day. “Hey what are you doing around here?!” “I live right there!” Then I was gone a lot, then she was gone a lot and then the pandemic hit and the hangs were hard to bring into fruition. Fast forward until now and in one week we will be starting a 5 week full U.S. co-headline tour together and couldn’t be more excited. The excitement really began for me after we Facetimed one day back in the spring and it clicked that we are so much on same page on so many levels and with the chaos and stress of attempting a tour at this moment in time, it is essential to cultivate a sense of “family” with people on the road, and this is destined to be that. It is nice to find people in this world cut from similar cloths, fighting the same fights and to be able to travel and do our essential, favorite thing in the world in unison.
Last year, Becca put out a beautiful, honest, very cool record called “The Greatest Part” on Captured Tracks label, produced by her pal Zac Farro (drummer of Paramore and frontman of Half Noise). It really resonated with me because I could tell this was a reinvention, and I was amidst my own. It seemed like we were both simultaneously embracing different and important overlooked parts of yourselves. Parallels. The songs, sounds, production, vibe, grooves, and exploration on the record are all really nice, and unique and interesting and as the kids say, FIRE. In addition to her own solo music project she has also been apart of other projects including Bermuda Triangle with one of her closes friends, Brittany Howard and collaborations with other incredible musicians and songwriters Julien Baker, Hayley Williams and more. That’s a very brief history, I suggest exploring and getting to know her and her music better yourself….
REALLY NICE: There is so much to say, it’s hard to say anything at all. So, how are you right now in this moment as you are answering this? What’s on your mind?
Becca Mancari : I am totally focused right now on getting on the road. I don’t know about you, but I need to play live music to feel fully sane. It’s been really hard to not tour for almost two years, and I am just trying to stay positive for my band and I right now. I know that they all need to be playing music as well, and though it was nice to have some time at home I think it’s incredibly important to be able to share the music in a live setting.
RN: The challenges of the past year are super obvious but I bet there are also some positive outcomes, realizations or perspectives that have come from this time that may otherwise wouldn’t have. What are some of those for you? And how do you think it will influence things moving forward?
BM: Oh, yes there was a huge shift for me during my time at home. I started therapy for the first time in my life, which is pretty shocking that I have made it this far without it… I think I realized that most of my life I have just been surviving, and when I finally had the time to really face myself I knew I needed to do some real healing. It also made me evaluate why I am doing what I am doing with my life, and it just affirmed my desire to make music that matters, and not make music that I think is “cool” it’s really not about that for me anymore.
RN: OK, so TOUR. The first for all of us in a long time. I am super excited to share the road together for 5 weeks, it almost feels like going to war, but family style. What can people expect? What are you most excited for? What has you a little nervous?
BM: It’s been really hard to believe that it’s happening.. if I am being honest! The last time I went out was March 2020, and I was on my way to opening up for Brittany Howard, and we got all the way to Oklahoma City, and I will never forget my manager calling me and telling me to turn around… BUT I do have hope for this tour. As artists we have to band together to make live music happen, and that means we have to work together. I think that’s what I am most excited for on this tour, is that we are all really in this together, and I want to celebrate all the work it took to make this tour happen. I want to give people a night off from their worries and let them just feel like they are in another world. I know we all could use that right now.
RN: What is your favorite duo or trio color combination?
BM: I am pretty into neon green and bright blue right now.
RN: In a world where people easily can create their own stories or ideas of people based on pretty much nothing and of which we have zero control. Where snap judgments happen daily. And our realities of others are product of social media. What are something straight from the source that you would want all people to know about Becca Mancari the artist and the human?
BM: I want people to know that I am a full on person like them…. with all the ups and downs, and joys and sorrows. I want them to feel like I am just doing the best I can to create something personal but shared, and so they feel understood in some small way. I want people to feel accepted and loved by me and more importantly by themselves.
RN: Do you remember the first CD you ever bought as a kid?
BM: This is embarrassing but I am pretty sure it was the Titanic soundtrack… don’t @ me Ron!
RN: From my perspective, your latest record, “The Greatest Part”, is a part of and coincides with a personal and creative reinvention for you. A really awesome one that resonates self-embrace, acceptance and really just doing what you want to do regardless of expectation. Like taking ownership of you really are. I guess from my own experience with constant breakdown, rebuild, it can be terrifying and often takes a lot of courage – did you get freaked out at times with taking a new direction and letting it all out in a new way? What was your driving force? And what differences do you feel/see between current and previous versions of yourself?
BM: It was weird, I think when I was making this record I was like ‘I have nothing else to lose’! I was in such a “broken” space that I was not really afraid. It was the most fun and free experience in the studio. I was just in this really creative headspace, and the songs felt like they were truly being given to me. I look back on that time as one of the most beautiful, and life giving experiences. I learned how to say yes during the process, instead of always second guessing myself. And Zac Farro, who produced the record with me, just decided to have fun, to work as long as we could with just the two of us, and I feel like you can really tell it’s just two people having fun. It feels really pure to me.
RN: If you had to have a one sentence mission statement for what you do what would it be?
BM: Stay True
RN: What are some of your frustrations with the music industry and what do you hope to see change moving forward?
BM: Oh, god this question…. I mean I think I could write a book on what frustrates me with the music industry. In short I am tired of how artists are being taken advantage of by executives behind computers getting rich off of the backs of real artists… It’s time for artists to get some power back! Also, PAY US A LIVING WAGE.
RN: What do you think aliens would think of humans?
BM: Most of y’all got it all wrong, but also kind of cool that you have art to help save your world.
RN: Being of Part Italian, part Puerto Rican heritage, what are some of your favorite traditions from those cultures growing up? Did your family also call Tomato Sauce “gravy?” or maybe that’s just a Jersey italian thing haha.
BM: So, my family did not say gravy, haha! But we did eat a lot of cold pizza with just the tomato sauce, it’s such a good memory of going to “Little Italy” in Philly! I grew up about two hours from Philly, so I have so many memories of the Italian market there. My mom is from Puerto Rico, and my best friends growing up were also half Puerto Rican, so I have so many good memories of our mom’s making red rice and beans and plantains. I guess for me it’s all about the food!
RN: What are some comforts you resort to during times of difficulty or stress?
BM: Healthy ones? 😉 Yoga, for sure!
RN: I don’t know if others are like this – but food is a huge part of tour for me – over the years we kind of find your favorite spots and look forward to going to them. For example, there is this Jamaica-Italian place in Asheville called Nine Mile (and it’s my favorite place on earth and we have goooot to go). Is there any essential food stops you are looking forward to this tour?
BM: So, the first food stop for me on this tour is literally my childhood spot in this tiny town I grew up in, Liverpool, PA. It’s called Chris’s Pizza and it’s the real deal Italian sub with homemade bread, I crave it so hard! And then I always go to Bagelsmith in Brooklyn, we got to get them Bagels, RON!
RN: OK, free space to vent, share new discoveries, words of wisdom, promote, etc
BM: I think the main thing I am learning is that we don’t really have control over anything. The only thing I can do is to try and be a more loving and kind person in this world, and to hopefully make a tiny ripple in the universe for some good. I think that’s all we can do with the time we are given.