started off as a straight MC. You could not get me to sing a lick,
of her early days as a performer. With a little encouragement and
coercion from music producers, The Angel and Shock G of Digital
Underground, this reluctant songbird learned to enjoy incorporating
her beautifully fluid voice into her rhymes.But do not be mistaken,
Mystic is first and foremost a B-girl and an MC. Every song is like
a page from her diary. Her uncensored lyrics are deeply personal
and uncommonly honest.
The socially conscious 28 year-old tells tales
of love, injustice, pain, joy and sorrow with the raw emotion of
a blues singer coupled with the street savvy of a seasoned rap artist.
On her debut album, Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom, Mystic
tells intimate stories culled from her own life. Fatherless
Child is the story of her relationship with the addict father
she never got to know until her twenties. It was then she began
to mend her relationship with him. He enrolled in a treatment center
in 1997 and was able to stay drug-free and enjoy two good years
with his daughter. However, his addiction to heroin once again took
hold, and he died of an overdose in 1999.
She insists softly with a smile, You cant
tell me any different, he could hear me when I recorded it, and
he can hear me every time I sing it. After the overwhelming
response from fans, Mystic realized, Wow, there are so many
of us out here. She goes on to say, I think there are
some people who are really in need of my music,and I say that most
humbly. The tracks on her album touch upon every human emotion.
The Life, Mystics biggest commercial hit, is an
uplifting song about the triumph of the human spirit. Neptunes
Jewels is a story of love and heartbreak. Once a Week
promotes female sexual assertiveness. And Forever and a Day
is a touching ode to friendship. And she is not afraid to tackle
hard social issues like police harassment, drug abuse, street violence
and rape. Although Mystic owns her strong political views, she resists
being categorized by them, because they are just one part of her
not a political poster-child, she contends, I tried
to make a human album. I dont want to preach to anybody.
Mystics social awareness and political beliefs
are rooted in her childhood. Born Mandolyn Wind Ludlum, Mystic was
raised by her mother, a young single-parent and political activist.
Her mother encouraged her to be aware of the world, and often took
Mystic, or Mandy as she was then called, to political rallies, demonstrations
and debates... Ronald Reagan, Guatemala, Nicaragua. I just
knew about everything, she says of her early years.
Like her music, Mystic is impossible to categorize.
She is as complex and as varied as her songs. She can be funny.
She can be serious. And music is not her only interest. Her other
goals include compiling a book of poetry and opening a restaurant.
A former cultural arts teacher, she is currently
working on a childrens book, and has an ambition to open a
childrens community arts center.
Mystic reveals, There are a lot of things I want to do that
have nothing to do with making records. However, making records
is Mystics guiding passion, and earned her a 2002 Grammy nomination.
The nomination was a trip, she recalls. Although her
song W, which appears on Cuts for Luck and Scars for
Freedom, did not win its category, she was thrilled and grateful
for the recognition.
The album, whose modest success is attributed to
a word-of-mouth promotion, has been picked up by Dreamworks for
re-release by the end of the year. Additional tracks including a
collaboration with Mos Def and another with ?uestlove of the Roots,
will appear on the re-released version of the album. She also hopes
to include a collaboration with India Arie, whom she toured with
last year. She is excited and hopes for sweeter success the second
time around. Looking ahead, Mystic is currently writing songs for
her next album.