By Danielle Agugliaro | May 26, 2017 | People
Austin Way caught up with The Mrs drummer to talk about what inspires her, what advice she has for women in their 30s and 40s, and what she loves most about Austin.
Since 2013, the Austin-based band, The Mrs, has been creating empowering and relatable rock music for women of all ages. Grabbing the nation's attention in 2014 with their song "Enough," which talks about women loving themselves the way they are, the band decided to further promote this message by planting a "Magic Mirror" at a busy mall in which it would talk back to women about how they should love, not just critique, what they see when they look at themselves. That video now has over five million views on YouTube and inspired the hashtag #imenough.
We caught up with the band's drummer Andra Liemandt to discuss the recent release of their first full album, the debut of their new music video for "Blink of an Eye," and the best parts about being in Austin.
Since the last time we talked with you a couple of years ago, how do you think you’ve evolved?
Andra Liemandt: Well since we talked last, we’ve done quite a lot. We created an entire new album and we’re still continuing our same mission which is to create powerful, purposeful music and to inspire our fans. We’ve just really been laser-focused on releasing this album and just enjoying that process so I would say if we’ve evolved in anything, we’ve been very focused on that.
The music video for your new single "Blink of an Eye" debuted on people.com last week. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and the inspiration for that song?
AL: Having people.com feature our music video and tell our story has been beyond a dream come true. The story that they told and the single that they launched was “Blink of an Eye” and it couldn’t be more fitting because it was all about pausing to celebrate that journey, being in the moment. The behind-the-scenes of writing that song was really about our own lives. Some of us were thinking about our children, some about being in the music business for so long and how times moves so fast. It’s fun, scary, and all things in between, so this song is a reflection of that and we’re doing it all together.
What's the most rewarding part about being with the band?
AL: There’s been a lot of rewards throughout this journey with music. We’re grateful every day we get to walk into rehearsal and be together. Those kind of pay-offs that happen later like the people.com, or getting to be on Home and Family, and performing around, those are the rewards every time we get to share our music.
AL: Every day is challenge! As a mom, a musician, and a business owner—every day I’m out there trying to make ends meet. Between meeting the needs of my children and the needs of the band, we’re a family, so every day I wake up and think, "this is a challenge". A hill we’re climbing as a band right now though is we’re seeking to do a tour, which is a challenge time-wise, and it’s hard to find the right fit. I know we’re going to find it though and that will be the secret sauce to getting our music out there.
What is the biggest message you’re trying to get out there with your band?
AL: It is purposeful music, it’s inspirational music, and it’s for women who can identify with the struggles we go through. It is the type of person who is trying to do it all and living a full life. We will go from a song like “The Band Plays On” about a struggle we saw with our friends to “This is Not a Lullaby”, which is everything you would want to tell your kids in a song. Our album is a fun way to listen to music about life’s evolution because as human nature we should all grow.
How have your children responded to your musical success?
AL: Well all of this started because of my kids and at one point actually they wanted to quit music and I wouldn't let them. Now, my kids being nine and 11, they just had a music recital this past Sunday and they love music; they have a passion for it. Their support for my music and my love for what I’m doing is beautiful. They come to the shows that they can and they’re some of my biggest fans. Last night my older daughter was cooking in the kitchen because she loves to cook and she was playing my music up loud. It’s not a forced thing, it’s something they love.
What inspires you on a personal level?
AL: My biggest inspiration has always been my kids, which seems kind of backwards I know. We have a song called “Dare Me” and it’s about taking on a life-risk and doing something that scares you, that’s really where I went and it started off with my kids helping me do that. Along the way also, it has been my kids who inspire me to continue my dream because as I look to them, I see them every day, I see them not having any fear.
What advice would you give to women in their 30s and 40s?
AL: Over the years, whether or not they’ve had kids, so many women have come up to us and say, “Oh I wish I could do what you’re doing, I’m not where I want to be in my life right now.” When they can answer that question of what interests them right now and what can they do to change that, then you can start. Just put one foot in front of the other and don’t look back. Do something every day that scares you. We want to encourage our friends, our family, our supporters, or anyone that’s listening to our music to go for it.
What’s the best part about being an Austin-based band?
AL: The best thing is having so many opportunities to play. This year we played SXSW and that opportunity actually doesn’t just happen, it was incredible. Austin has such access to music and I think their bar is really high when a musician steps on a stage, so we knew we had to deliver. We had an audience that had no idea who we were, not know our words, and rock out and rock hard to every single song we played. It makes me tear up. I was afraid to get on that stage, but when I felt as a musician that they accepted us, it was so rewarding it felt amazing. That is what Austin does for a musician.
What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time around Austin?
AL: I do make free time, I think it’s important, and most of my free time is spent with my kids or with my friends. I live downtown so anywhere I can walk, we’re walking. There’s Zilker Park and I eat a lot with my kids anywhere we can walk and eat. I do ACL at The Moody Theater, I was just there last night I saw The Head and the Heart, great band. Me and my kids go to the Austin Ballet or go to the theater because one of my daughters is really into acting. Also the Thinkery is such a fun place for the kids to hang out. There’s a lot of fun little nooks and crannies of Austin to find things to do.
Do you have any goals for yourselves as a band?
AL: Our goal is definitely to tour, but we have a lot of other goals mixed in. The Kindness Campaign that’s going into schools right now, I’m a part of that too. The Mrs does a lot of philanthropy, so we’ll be touring next year with that. We’ll be going into middle schools next to help with anti-bullying. So our goals are mainly to get our music out there, connect with the fans, and help with the Kindness Campaign.
Photography courtesy of Laura Craddick