Becca Mancari’s debut Good Woman is an ode to memories and the patience to harvest their yield.
Good Woman is your debut full length record, trailing the successful single release of "Summertime Mama." What was the purpose behind the time between the single and an album release?
You know the old Nashville, "the power of one good song." I recorded "Summertime Mama" about two years ago, and it did a lot of work in those two years. I waited to release a full length because I was looking for the right producer and truly the right focus. I'm very happy I took my time and did something I'm proud of!
You've had a long, interesting journey leading up to this point in your life. You worked as a janitor in Florida, hopped trains and rode the rails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and explored spirituality in India. How did those radical existences impact your creativity and help lead you to the songs written on Good Woman?
Ever since I was a young girl I knew I would never be from "somewhere." My dad had a pretty strong desire for movement so he instilled that in his children. I mean my first trip out of the country was at 14 to Lima, Peru. It opened my eyes to a big, beautiful, and bright world. Some of my travels were painful ones like driving heartbroken through the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, leaving my first heartbreak behind.
Movement has always been my truest method of writing, see and soaking in the sounds of crowded city streets in Bangalore, India to living in the cement heat of South Florida taking out garbage bags as a janitor spending hours in quietness writing songs. Those memories are some of my sweetest because my songs come from experience.
Your most influential time musically came in Virginia and Nashville. What was it about those places and the music from their respective regions that was so impactful?
I moved to Virginia when I was 18. I went there to go to college, but little did I know I would find the music of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There was this wonderful and rich underbelly of musicians that lived in my town. I still laugh thinking back about being a young 20-something drinking moonshine and playing around campfires with old timers who taught me.
I had my first band in Virginia called "Sunshine and Happiness" and it was this communal kind of porch music, with traditional instruments but always with this movement toward the space and at its core rock and roll. There's something about mountain towns that bring out the ghosts and the beautiful rich underbelly of life.
Living in Nashville, a place rich in musical expression, how do you think your music is different from other songwriters in the city? How is your time in Nashville signified in your songwriting and sound?
It's funny cause a lot of my friends have said to me "I'm not really sure how to describe your music." I think that it's probably a lack of traditional musical training. I play by ear, and something that I hear a lot from folks is that my songs don't always have traditional verses or choruses. I also have this wonderful steel player who sounds like he's playing synth at times. It's very atmospheric and I love to make the listener feel lost or dreamlike when they listen to the music.
Nashville, has taught me to be yourself, write from your gut, trust yourself, and tell
your own true. Don't try and copy someone else. Learn from them and move deeply into your dark and light places.
Some of the songs on Good Woman have been played and performed by you for a while now. How have these songs changed over time? Did you have any direction or expectations for the production of the album?
They've kind of taken on new life forms with different band members coming into the equation. I love how my band is always trying to be more creative and dig deeper. "Arizona Fire" just keeps getting more and more tight when we play it live
and it's my favorite to play live right now.
When I came to production, I knew after one meeting with Kyle Ryan that I wanted him to produce Good Woman. I just felt like we were on the same page, we did not want this to be a throwback record or for it to have the "Nashville Sound." We just wanted to create together. Also a fun side note: the record is done completely by my live touring band!
You've played with a new band called Bermuda Triangle featuring Brittany Howard and Jess Lafser. What's special about this project? How did the group come to be? What's to come of Bermuda Triangle?
Oh man... the Triangle. It's just been this wonderful at times funny thing. We just really enjoy spending time together. They are my best friends and it was almost inevitable that we would play together someday. All I can say to folks is come to the shows, there's something very special about three women who can stand next to each other and watch each other shine.