A Conversation with Mindy Smith (continued)
PM: Let's talk about the nuclear family. How many sisters and brothers do you have?
MS: I have an older sister, a younger sister, and a younger brother.
PM: And what are they up to?
MS: Oh, they have their own families and careers. My sister Kim actually owns a law firm in D.C., she runs her own law firm there. My brother, Don, is in the process of relocating in his job, in his career. He's making a career change, he's going to move to Indiana, I guess. And he's in the ministry. And my other sister, Shannon, is a full-time mom. She's the mother of a four-year-old and two-year-old triplets.
PM: Wow. And were the siblings tight growing up, was it that kind of a family?
MS: We were really close. And also because, I would say, we were relatively close in age as well, we fought a lot like close sisters and brothers do, and we played--there were times we got along great. But we have a great open communication, we communicate very well. We're really supportive of each other. And we don't meddle in each other's lives. We can still be supportive and help each other out and not... A lot of families get into meddling.
PM: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I come from a very enmeshed group of kids. Not meddlesome, but yeah, very enmeshed. But you say you found support in your nuclear family.
MS: Absolutely. They have been supportive in every aspect of my life. We are the people that we turn to when nobody else will do. We've always come through for each other. So I'm a very, very blessed individual, especially since I've been adopted into that family. I have been fortunate just to know my siblings and to have them be a part of my life. And now it seems like an even bigger deal because a lot of people don't talk to or communicate with their families.
PM: Right. Well, it's a beautiful thing. Was it your adopted mom or your blood mom who died of breast cancer?
MS: My adopted mother passed away.
PM: What was her name?
MS: Sharron, that's with two Rs, like the Rose of Sharron.
PM: Right. And how old were you when she passed on?
MS: I was nineteen when Mom died. She died in '91. I believe I was nineteen. It's still sort of a blur. I've never really gotten past it all, obviously. The record is dedicated to her.
MS: But, yeah, it was '91 when she died.
PM: My mom died in '93. I don't think I ever got over it.
MS: Well, I don't think you have to. I don't think it's a requirement, if you lose somebody, to get over it. I think a lot of people who haven't lost somebody don't understand that. They don't understand that it's okay for somebody to grieve as long as they need to grieve, if it's not interfering with their life.
MS: Or if it's not completely running your life after, what, ten or fifteen years--but even if it is, you're entitled to that grief, I think.
PM: Yeah. I think I like carrying it with me. I think sometime every week I say, "Oh, I got to call Bessie and tell her that." And then, "No, I don't think you can do that..."
MS: Yeah, I miss her a lot, especially now, because my mom, if you don't know, I mean, she was a singer, and she would be really on board and excited about everything that's happening. And it becomes--it does become a void, but a new void because everything is going so well. Many people say, "Well, she's with you." It's not the same. [laughs] I don't think it's the same.
PM: No, I agree with you.
MS: And I think that's fine. It doesn't have to be that she's with you. I mean, I know she's whispering in God's ear. I need all the help I can get, but it's still not the same.
PM: Right. But your brothers and sisters must be really excited about what's happening.
MS: Oh, they're just so excited. I don't even--none of us really know how to behave right now.
PM: So when did your musical pursuit really begin, though, in earnest, songwriting and guitar playing and all that?
MS: When I moved to Knoxville, really. I didn't play the guitar at the time, but I had kind of been in a band in Cincinnati. And it was nice for what it was, but it didn't last. It was [laughs] a very short adventure, I would say. It was like maybe two, three months worth of work, and it just kind of caved.
PM: So how did you end up in Cincinnati, and what kind of a band was that?
MS: I went to Cincinnati after my mom died, just to get away from it.
MS: Had to. I had to get out of there, out of New York. And I don't know, but I always wind up where I need to be, so...
PM: And you had some friends in Cincinnati or something?
MS: Well, a couple of my friends were going to school out there, a school called CBC, Cincinnati Bible College. And so I went. I followed them out there just to get out of New York. But then I knew I had friends who knew me and knew my mom, and could sort of help me if I needed somebody to talk to. It was a unique situation that I had there.
PM: So do you come out of some kind of a ministry background?
MS: I do. My dad's a minister. And these friends were at a bible school.
PM: And so all the Jesus references in the record--and they're very deeply and holistically expressed--you come by them honestly. That's the way you grew up.
MS: Oh, sure, absolutely. I've always had to battle with it, my spirituality. I've always sort of gone, well--[laughs] I'm a tough cookie to crack with it all. I've always been very committed to my spirituality, but at the same time I'm torn, like everybody else.
MS: Nobody wants to be held accountable to anything. And I'm one of those people, I don't like to be held accountable, either, but sometimes I realize that that's just the way it is.
PM: Well, you're a rebel in the true sense of the word, that's my perception of you. But on the other hand, you're deep into a beautiful and truly perceived kind of Jesus bag. When I hear you sing about spirit, it just really seems to me to be coming from a non-cliche and a really experienced place.
MS: Thank you. It's true, I guess.
PM: I like the way you do it. It's like if I hear Julie Miller sing about Jesus, or Buddy sing about Jesus, I get that that's a real experience they're singing about.
MS: Well, I don't know any better. [laughs] I wish I could say I set out to do that, but I just don't know any better. continue