Songwriter uses music in battle with mental illness

Published on June 5, 2014
Mandee Woods, singer/songwriter.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Out of the ashes of a long struggle with mental illness, local singer/songwriter, Mandee Woods, has finally found her way, through her music.

“A lot of my journey was a struggle," said Woods, 27, who readily admits to suffering with depression for many years. It was, she says, what held her back from pursuing her passion with any commitment, for the longest time.

Growing up in Ottawa, with both parents in the business, music was certainly in her, from a very early age. “We grew up in church; we were always involved in music,” said Woods who began songwriting at the tender age of 13.  

Although it was in her, she says she just couldn’t get it out because of the “baggage,” but things changed when she eventually started writing about her battles.

“It’s usually a personal experience,” says Woods about her songs which she categorizes as contemporary. “I write about life.”

In a better place than she has been for years, and with the launch of her first EP on the horizon, she says that she still suffers from a lack of self-confidence. I think you are your own worst critic.”

No release date set, as of yet, Woods has been working with, local producer, Roy Nichols, aka, drummer extraordinaire for April Wine, on the five-song collection. “Roy has really taken me under his wing. (There were) a lot of set-backs; people trying to push me in a direction I didn’t want to go; (I) had to put my foot down.”

“The EP is going to be pretty main stream; a lot of it could be played on the radio,” she says. Once released, she plans to “shop it around” in the hopes of being signed. Details of the release will be announced as soon as they are available.

In the meantime, the public will have the opportunity to preview those songs and more when Woods performs at Lift-Off on Saturday, July 12, opening line-up, at 4:30.  She will be joined on stage by Nichols, on drums, as well as Peter Nichols, on guitar, Mike Tessier, on bass and Julie Fortier, on piano.

Woods hopes to be an inspiration to others who suffer with mental illness. “Whatever place someone is, in their life, they want somebody to look up to, and say, ‘ok, I’m going through that too;’ just to have something that they can relate to, ‘oh look, she gets it.’”

With her future looking brighter, an upcoming EP, a performance on Cornwall’s biggest stage and some talk about touring in Europe, it would seem that we’ve not heard the last of Mandee Woods.