By Brittany Plothow
Photography By Nate Bonney
Mindy Gledhill wants you to wear fancy socks. “What you wear affects how you feel,” says the Provo-based musician who is known for her quirky clothing and musical style. “Just start with one little thing. Wear some fancy socks. It’s amazing how fancy socks change the way that you feel.”
Gledhill has been releasing music for about a decade now, something that didn’t come easily or fall into her lap. She wrote her first song at 13 and would often hide in the closet of her childhood home to record music onto a small tape recorder in the dark. “I just remember loving the feeling of hearing my voice through a microphone. I think I knew from a young age that I loved singing and loved hearing my voice and feeling the vibrations of sound waves through an amplified source.”
From there, Gledhill knew she wanted to be a singer. During high school she tried out for plays and musicals at Provo High School and didn’t make the cut. She also was cut from chamber choir, and she didn’t make it into the dance company either. “I decided I wasn’t going to let those experiences mean that I couldn’t pursue a path in music. I decided I would let those experiences energize me and so I came at it even harder.”
She also auditioned unsuccessfully for Miss Provo, BYU Young Ambassadors, BYU Women’s Chorus, and Lagoon’s performing company. “I think it was building my musical muscles, so to speak, and giving myself the confidence to get up in front of a panel of judges and go, ‘well, I’ve done this before.'”
After all of this, Gledhill successfully auditioned for BYU’s Media Music major – now the Commercial Music program. “It was the first thing I got into.” In order to be successfully admitted into the School of Music, Gledhill had to pass a written test in three chances or less. After failing the first two attempts, she passed the third time – by a single point.
After four years of unsuccessful auditions, Gledhill’s career started rolling. She landed a recording contract with Excel Entertainment her first year in the music program. After releasing an album with Excel and learning the trade, she branched out on her own. “I said, ‘I think I can do this on my own, independently.'” She then released the album Feather in the Wind on her own.
Gledhill’s music has branched out from the Provo music scene and made its way into the mainstream. Her songs have been featured on the television show Bones, in commercials, and she’s surprisingly really popular in Korea. “I’ve had a number one hit in Korea in front of Britney Spears, Rhianna, and Beyonce. And I was like, ‘how is this happening?!’ It was so random and cool!”
Her music is known for being upbeat, quirky, and positive – all adjectives that describe Gledhill herself. However, if she had to choose her theme song, it would be the delicate and loving “All About Your Heart.” The story behind the song is personal and powerful. “I wrote it when I was going through some really tough times and when I go through tough times I write music to work my way through those emotions. So, I was writing that song and I just felt ugly, both inside and out, and I just needed to deal with those feelings. But I kind of got stuck on the song, so I put it aside for a while and I couldn’t finish writing it. And then a friend of mine, Stephanie Nielson (of the Nie Nie Dialogues blog), I hear she was in a plane crash with her husband Christian […] I was going through some tough times and she had really extended a lot of kindness towards me so I think when all this happened I was just really inspired to finish writing the song. Their experience inspired that.”
Being the mom of three young boys is enough to keep anyone busy, and yet Gledhill is also busy building and creating her own music empire. One of the original founding members of Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series, Gledhill is now owner of a co-working studio office space in downtown Provo for creative types and musicians. She calls the building The Forge Collective, and Mindy has given part of the space to local business The Mighty Baker. Just south of the Provo Library, the 7,000 sq-foot building was once a metal foundry and, most recently, a call center. She also recently purchased a vintage tour bus, completely remodeled it, and is starring in a documentary about the bus and its journey.
When Gledhill was looking for a place to purchase, she was looking at the building and its red door when a girl walked right past her, playing Gledhill’s song “Anchor” on her phone. “I was like, ‘if that’s not a sign that this is the building I’ve been looking for!’ And I stopped her and said, ‘you’re listening to my music right now!’ She freaked out a little!” Gledhill took the sign and ran with it. The Forge Collective is now open and Gledhill managed to fill it with some of Provo’s most creative and artistic tenants.
Gledhill is working towards bigger plans for her musical career and supporting other artists along the way. She believes in the sense of community that Provo’s music scene is famous for, which is the inspiration behind The Forge Collective.
Oh, and as for the question of who, dead or alive, she would have dinner with? Freddy Mercury and David Bowie. Which is a perfectly quirky answer from a quirky musician.
Make sure to follow Mindy on Instagram @mindygledhill. Also, check out her new band, Hive Riot. Their album drops January 22th, 2016. The album release show will take place on February 20, 2016 and is part of Velour’s 10th Anniversary Celebration. The show will also feature Coral Bones. Their music video for “Sherlock” is below.
Check out the gallery of exclusive photos of Mindy Gledhill from photographer Nate Bonney.