“What’re you smiling at?” snarled an angry, man on a New York subway.
“What aren’t you smiling at?” Dre Mazzenga hit back, her happiness steady and, I’m pretty sure, constant.
A tenaciously cheerful girl, Mazzenga’s no stranger to the music scene having released her debut EP ‘Do Me Right’ in 2014. Three years and more than 60,000 streams later, the promise of a new single from That Girl Dre approaches with the mysteriously titled ‘Follow’.
Best described as footsteps across a forest floor of crisp, fallen leaves laid over a distorted piano ballad, reminiscent of a wedding, opens the track. Dramatic yet elegant, spicy vocals cut through the melody, stinging the air on the cool Autumn day I can’t help but imagine, altering the song. An emulsion of an almost eerie beginning slams into an amplified breathlessness; seduction and a level of desperation define the sound. For such a happy-go-lucky girl, Dre impressively portrays a mass of emotions in ‘Follow’.
“It’s the story of ‘I do love you but now is the wrong time’, states Mazzenga. “I feel like those words are the kiss of death for so many women, myself included. It just hurts so bad because you love someone so much and want it to be right now’. I tried to write the song from that place of chasing a love that’s just out of reach.” She explained when she spoke to me about this single; her voice coarse from fiercely rehearsing.
Mazzenga has poured her heart into ‘Follow’ to ensure you’ll feel comfort and not isolation in her lyrics. A metaphor for her personality, she’s a warm and affable person; it’s hard not to feel you’ve found a friend to confide in.
Once a resident of a sleepy cul-de-sac in the New York suburbs, Mazzenga found herself feeling the same as many young girls do; a yearning ache to get to the city. Once in Brooklyn, she met Tracy Sampedro – the future drummer of Dre’s namesake band and one of her biggest motivators. Always filling notepads with songs she’d written, she found herself in a common conundrum for many budding artists; musically talented but far too shy – Sampedro helped to change that, encouraging Dre to live ‘outside of her own brain’.
A car accident and a back injury later though, she found herself swapping her stand up piano for a keyboard she could play in bed, “as I was popping Advil and recovering from my injury!” she laughed, ever the easy-going, devil-may-care attitude.
“Everything I had done before was suddenly so difficult, and it really made me re-examine my life, like why do I live in New York City, do I have to live here, do I have to do the work I’m doing, and the answer to most of these things was no, I don’t have to. So, I thought ‘screw it, I’m moving to Austin’.”
“It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and well I’m supposed to get up at 8, and I’m supposed to drink this coffee and I’m supposed to, supposed to, supposed to and before you know it your life has passed. I think it’s important that each of us finds who we are and then be willing to unleash it. Don’t be bashful about it, don’t apologize for it. I want to spread that everywhere.”
Her sharp, mellifluous vocals and emotional lyrics are already enough to add ‘Follow’ to my playlist. But, it’s Dre’s benevolent personality that sealed the deal on this soon-to-be household name. Each aspect of That Girl Dre works harmoniously together, and they will continue to with the future singles on the horizon. Get excited, and stay that way.
Catch That Girl Dre live:
Friday, August 18th 2017 at Antone’s (Austin TX), 8pm
Portion of proceeds to benefit SIMS Foundation
Ticket link: smarturl.it/toodamnhot
Dre Mazzenga – Vocals, Keyboard, Producer, Music, Lyrics
Jet Jaguar – Bass, Vocals, Producer, Music, Lyrics
Tracy Sampedro – Drums, Producer, Music, Lyrics
Dalton Jackson – Guitar
Follow – That Girl Dre
Author: Megan Matthews