There are so many remarkable qualities about Seattle artist Mindie Lind. Bluesy, folk-filled and soulful, Lind’s voice is husky and delicate. When she’s not busy cranking out tunes or working her day job, Lind also finds time to write, and appear on the radio as an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Which brings us to another way in which Lind is unique. Lind was born with a number of physical differences, including having only six fingers and no legs. Lind has not only embraced her role as champion for people with disabilities, and Crip Culture, she’s embraced the role disability has played in her own life as well.
When describing her everyday life, Lind says it’s “an act of creativity to get around places and opinions that don’t suit your body.” She often opts for a skateboard instead of a wheelchair because she says it gives her more freedom. Perhaps it’s this marvelous attitude, on top of her major talent, that has gotten her some serious recognition. In 2014, she opened for Lena Dunham’s book tour when it came through Seattle. More recently, she was featured on an episode of Lena Dunham’s podcast Women of the Hour, where she casually mentioned going into a Seattle recreational cannabis store. This past November, her music and story was also featured on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls site and BuzzFeed. Wondering when you can see this powerhouse next? Mindie Lind will be playing at Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, in Leavenworth on January 29 and 30. Even though Lind’s schedule is undoubtedly pretty packed with work, art and life, she enthusiastically sat down with CULTURE to chat about music and life.
“It’s crazy to go places where it’s not part of the culture, because here it is. I like that about Seattle. I feel really spoiled, and I prefer it.”
When and how did you get started in music?
Mindie Lind: Well I was singing my whole life, in choir and church choir. And then I played in marching band for 10 years, French horn. But I didn’t start making my own music until I started hanging out with a lot of street musicians and buskers. They mostly played traditional songs, which interacted with the gospel music I was raised with, so I started singing along. So I started teaching myself to play piano, and as a result, wrote some songs. So that was five years ago.
Where are you from?
I was born in Connecticut, and I was adopted into a Southern Baptist family. And we moved all around, but from about eight years old, I grew up in Georgia. The town I was mostly raised in is called Snellville. There’s a water tower that says, “Everybody’s somebody in Snellville.” It’s about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta.
What artists have influenced your work?
For me right now, I can’t get enough of this band from New Orleans called The Deslondes. They do this really great job of blending country, gospel and soul in a way that I find really natural, and like, the goal. Dean Johnson, he’s a local guy, I’m really inspired by his simplicity. The Moondoggies and Roger Miller, I’m really inspired by all those songwriter types. But then there’s the other stuff I listen to just as much, like Nas, Missy Elliot and Kendrick Lamar. I really love how that genre, hip-hop, really wears their oppression on their sleeve, and they’re really soaked in style at the same time. And I want to be inspired by that bravery and that courage, and that boldness for myself. Especially pertaining to Crip Culture. I definitely think it could use some of that.
“. . . I really like that you can go to any show in Seattle and yell “Where the weed at?!” and two minutes later, you’ll be getting high.”
Has the cannabis culture of the PNW impacted your art? If so how?
In that me and my friends are always getting stoned and writing songs. [Laughs]. That calm, I like. I mean, I can get high and sit on the couch, which I still do, but I really like to try and be more productive. And I really like that you can go to any show in Seattle and yell “Where the weed at?!” and two minutes later you’ll be getting high. I am a music publicist for my day job, and I recently went to a conference in Nashville Tennessee and tried that trick. It didn’t work as well. I’ve never been to so many shows where people didn’t smoke weed! It’s crazy to go places where it’s not part of the culture, because here it is. I like that about Seattle. I feel really spoiled, and I prefer it.
Do you have favorite music to enjoy while under the influence of cannabis?
The Black Angels Phospene Dream is like the best, it’s so good, and I could listen to it over and over again. Any of those albums you can listen to over and over again and still learn something from. So Nas’ Illmatic is that for me, all of Kendrick Lamar’s albums. Any albums from The Growlers, I could always listen to. But that’s me cruising around, but generally though, because I listen to so much music for my job, when I’m home and I’m high, I really try to spend my time working on my own music. So I like getting obsessed on the same melody and singing it over and over again. And that’s why I really like smoking weed and working on my music, because that’s what I do.