I posted a pic on my facebook a few days before the G20 here in Toronto of cops hanging around “Hooters” and with in hours everyone was sending tag requests. I don’t remember how but Mena made a comment, and then I made a comment which turned into a mini-conversation and then a friend request. Which ended up being cool because I now have the chance to introduce to you a incredibly talented and gifted singer.
I was quite surprised at her voice, and even more surprised this young lady does not have a recording contract.
I think eventually your going to hear more of her…
We talked, here is what she had to say…
KEEF- You have a incredible voice, when did you first discover your gift and how did you start in music?
Mena- Thanks! Well it wasn't me who found out it was my dad who was a very well established musician in London during the late sixties and seventies. Anyways he noticed I had an ear for music at a very early age. At the age of five he threw me in the studio to sing back up vocals on a children’s song he was recording for a movie. Three years later I recorded the lead vocal on a song called "Magic All Around" which was another children’s song. I continued to sing for my dad and various choirs during my childhood but it wasn't really something I enjoyed. At the age of 13, I started listening to rock music and immediately became inspired by Janis Joplin upon hearing her for the first time. I swore to myself that I would never sing again unless I could sing like her or Robert Plant. It sounded horrible for the first 10 years and I did embarrass myself several times trying to attempt this genre of music. Anyways, I started singing in choir again in University, which is where I learned how to control my voice. That is where the Mena Hardy voice that everyone knows came together.
KEEF- May I ask who your father is, and what he has worked on, I am a very big fan of music from the 60’s and 70s.
Mena- My dad is Robert William Hardy. He is now a classical composer and his music is aired on 96.3fm I believe. He wrote a composition called the “Fifth Day Suite” which was launched to the Canadian market back in May at the Toronto Centre for the Arts by the Toronto Philharmonic.
KEEF- I visited your Myspace page and wanted to get a feel for your music and honest to god I thought, "She really sounds like Janis Joplin" I was going to ask you if she was A inspiration, I take it she is? Who else inspired you?
Mena - Joplin is a huge inspiration, she is to many, many girls. I also really got into Joe Cocker's early work and Freddy Mercury. I am also really inspired by Robert Plant. I love his voice and the sexuality behind it. I would love for my image to be a more modern version of his. Listening to this guy is not only listening to someone just singing. It's so much more. It's an entire experience. Take an experience like having sex for example. Endorphins are running through your brain and your body is experiencing this rush. When I sing, it's like I wanna make love to every member of the audience and not have to be half naked doing it. Ask any soul singer and they’ll know what I’m talking about!
KEEF- Well to be honest, listening to your music is definitely a breath of fresh air for me. I am sick of seeing numerous young girls in videos wearing provocative clothing and simulating sex acts. Then to top it off the music is god-awful... I don't want to shit on anyone’s game here, but that’s the way I feel.
From just listening to your music you sound light years away from such things.
It seems like a lot of these girls have sold their sold to the devil. If you were offered a lucrative contract, name some things that you would make you say "No way" or just turn it down completely.
Mena- I hear ya. Well my opinion is pretty strong on that. I feel that women own their sexuality and they can do with it what they want. Many forms of sexual bartering have existed since the beginning of time and will always exist, from actual prostitution to a wife bartering sex to her husband in exchange for cleaning the garage. Really if we eradicated it all we would be doing more harm than good. These sex pop icons you talk about are the same thing. However, I feel that if the music is bad the music is bad no matter how it's marketed. It just makes the girl and the industry look bad. As I said before some of these rock/pop sex icons I do like, like Robert Plant (as mentioned before), Madonna and even Lady Gaga. I really feel that their music could stand on their own without the sexual innuendo. However when it comes to entertaining it takes that extra mile to make it a show. To make it a product. Sex is just a great way of enhancing the experience.I don't think I would ever have to expose myself in order to make it. I really do feel my music stands on its own. However, if I brought that element into my performance it would really have to be on my own terms. It would be more of a message and have a meaning behind it. I really would love to help break the barrier of the sexual double standard. I would love to show girls that their sexuality is their own and that sexual frequency should not be a measure of their virtue. However, sexuality should not be all that they are about and completely define who they are.
KEEF- Describe your sound and what your music is about?
MENA -My current sound is a more modern version of catchy, balls to the wall seventies rock. When I write lyrics I try to write about topics that will catch everyone's attention. For example, the last song I wrote was inspired by behavior typical of low income small towns (think Trailer Park Boys). The song is humorous and catchy yet very real all at the same time. I love writing about such spicy topics.
KEEF - Where is Mena Hardy going to be in say... 2 years from now?
Mena - I never know where I'm gonna be in the future. I just let music take me where it does. I had no idea I would be moving to Toronto even just 6 months ago. All I can probably say is in the U.S. or on tour somewhere. My goal with music was always to make a living with it and travel so hopefully by then I will have achieved it.
KEEF- Name one good thing about Canadian music and one bad thing about Canadian Music...
MENA- One good thing about Canadian music is its quality. It's good. We produce great music I won't lie. Unfortunately, we lack on producing what is modern. We lack fresh new ideas in music. We kinda just stick to the same old same old.
KEEF - Who would you like to open for, and who would you like to open for you?
MENA - In the near future I would love to open for Nanette Workman. She is so close to home too. I could see myself opening for her in the near future. One far cry is opening up for Led Zeppelin. Maybe in another lifetime. lol.
KEEF - If you were to call your album after all your work put into your musical career, what would the album be called?
MENA - Well I'm recording an E.P. right now and I am bent on two titles. One is extremely risqué and might classify me as one of those useless pop sex icons we love listening to so much. lol.
I think for my debut I'm gonna call it "The Original Miss Mean and Hard". It reflects that modern rock steady persona i try to live up to while reminding people of what my name is.
KEEF - What is the strongest message that comes Mena Hardys music?
Mena - I don't think there are any underlying themes when you put all the music together as a whole. They all contain a strong message and opinion. They either reflect a zeitgeist of a moment in my life or just the zeitgeist of the moment. But I guess the strongest message I want to communicate is the one we discussed about my views of modern feminism and sexuality.
Keef- Good stuff Mena, who would you like to thank, and please provide us with some links, news… whatever you got.
Mena - I guess I would like to thank my dad. He's been the biggest musical inspiration in my life. I would also like to thank my mom too. They have supported my ridiculous fancy free artistic lifestyle for a few years now. Thanks for believing in me. I would also like to thank my sister and friends for just loving me and my music. If it wasn't for them and their support I would be working a real job.
Check out my website at www.myspace.com/allenbrightandhardy
Everyone can also email me at email@example.com.
In closing, this young lady has a bunch of talent. I think the recording industry is really missing a great opportunity here. Beautiful voice, and she took the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview, which I owe her a big thank you. Be on the look out people, Mena Hardy!!