Mandy Lee, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School ’10: Singer and Actor
Mandy Lee has toured the country as the lead singer of MisterWives but she started making music in high school as she grew up in Queens. Since releasing two critically acclaimed albums, their debut Our Own House and second album Connect the Dots, MisterWives travelled the globe performing at music festivals and concerts.
Mandy first realized she loved songwriting at LaGuardia. “I bought a piano at a thrift store for $300 and I started writing and I auditioned for a class that was a singer-songwriter’s class by Mr. Apostle who’s the greatest man ever,” she says of her early songwriting days in high school. “It was a small class of only 12 kids and that’s where I fell in love with writing.”
Though she always knew she wanted to make music for a living, she initially thought of performing on Broadway before her songwriting class opened the door for her to connect singing, performing, and writing. Mandy credits her New York City public school experience with shaping who she is today, both because of the diverse range of people she met and the strong arts programs she was exposed to. “I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to grow up here until I had traveled the country.”
After forming MisterWives, the band worked out of drummer and co-producer Etienne Bowler’s parents’ basement for months where they could focus exclusively on songwriting, recording, and producing their first album; eventually, they moved to a house outside of Woodstock, New York and created their own makeshift studio.
Biggest Misconception about what she does: “That it’s glamorous. It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears and there’s a lot of changing in port-o-potties at festivals.”
Together with MisterWives band-members and fellow New Yorkers Etienne Bowler, William Hehir, Marc Campbell, Jesse Blum, and Mike Murphy, Mandy has performed on shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Good Morning America. MisterWives has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Tribune, Billboard, PopSugar, MTV, and Pigeons and Planes, in addition to landing at #1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artist Chart. Today, their hit song Reflections has almost 75 million streams on Spotify.
While she loves singing and songwriting, Mandy couldn’t imagine doing it without her MisterWives team. Her favorite thing about performing with MisterWives is being able to do what she loves most while travelling the world and connecting with people: “It’s the moment where all of the craziness goes out the window and that’s what it’s all about in this universal language that is music.”