PORTSIDE

Pursuing musical dreams is Manditori for BP grads

Meyer Theatre concert to benefit Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary

Ta'Leah Van Sistine

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Mandi-Color Tori-ColorFor those who have heard “no” in response to their dreams, or have been ridiculed for their passions through the rejections and criticism, it is essential that you do not let others steal your mounting hope. In a world where it can be difficult to pursue a selective career, some would say that coming from a small town would lessen that chance even more.

Mandi Sagal and Tori Occhino, 2012 graduates from Bay Port, have defied the outstanding odds. They moved to Nashville in order to chase their dreams of becoming singers and songwriters.

Through 11 years of friendship and singing together, the two have created the type of partnership that is rare to see in the music industry. They now tour select cities and venues through their “Life is Manditori Tour,” which promotes awareness for animal abandonment.

Portside interviewed Manditori via Facetime on advice for those who have big dreams as they do, and on their goals for the future:

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians or teens who have big dreams in general?

A: “Definitely to just go for it. For people who have a dream, just do it. As scary as it was, we moved 12 hours away, with no jobs, but it is starting to pay off slowly. It is definitely worth it!”

Q: The Life is Manditori Tour helps raise money for the Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary. What inspired you both to participate in this event?

A: “We love animals! We had this idea because last year we had our first Life is Manditori Show, and it ended up raising $15,000, so after that we said we could do this nationwide, and raise more money for other animal shelters.”

Q: What are your favorite covers to perform?

A: “We do quite a bit. One of the ones we love right now is “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry, and “Somebody to Love” by Queen. For the Life is Manditori tour we perform a lot of covers, and we try to pick songs that are meaningful, and that people would not expect to come from an animal’s eyes.”

Q: How did you both get to where you are today?

Mandi: “It started in third grade, … and from then on we became best friends. We realized that we both had a love for music. We started singing at church, and then we made a wedding business. A lot of festivals, pretty much anywhere we could play. Then it came to the question: ‘Do we go to Nashville? Or do we stay here and keep doing the things we have been doing?’ And it was actually our moms who sat us down. At that time we were already registered to go to UWGB I was going to be a psychologist, and she [Tori] was going for music therapy. Both of our moms said, ‘Yeah we don’t think that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.’ They said they would make it happen, and for us to just do it, this it what you’re supposed to be doing.

Tori: “They said now was the time, not three years from now, so we aren’t looking back like, ‘Aw man I wish we would have at least gone on that journey.’”

Q: At this point, what are your goals concerning your music career in the future?

A: “We definitely want to be on country radio, and we want to be touring. Whether we are opening for someone or eventually headlining. The goal is to be stadium and arena big. We want to be at the point that we don’t have to work our everyday jobs, and instead focus just on music.”

Q: What do you enjoy most about singing, and performing?

A: “The interaction with people. And there are moments on stage when everyone has the same emotion as us, it’s like all of us [the crowd, and the performers] are one.”

For skeptics who do not believe in the enduring chase of one’s passion, Sagal and Occhino are examples to disprove those doubts. Through hard work and strong character, the two have shown that dreams are not unattainable entities. Dreams, whether they are to be a singer, writer, actor, doctor, or artist, are never far-fetched, and are perhaps much closer than they appear. It may take time, but it is that everlasting hope, and confidence that strengthens the distance between dream, and reality to being us just that. much. closer.

Tickets for the Manditori concert at the Meyer Theatre are now available on their website. The concert will take place on Nov. 12 at 7 pm.

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