Mandy Rowden was born into a fundamentalist Baptist household and raised in East Texas where she was homeschooled throughout her adolescence. The Rowden family was restricted to a regimen of gospel and classical music and, as any respectful child does, she adhered to her parent’s beliefs while taking up classical violin and piano at a mere six years old. Rowden’s parents noticed her natural abilities, and as a result of her insatiable musical wanderlust, or perhaps fearlessness, Rowden rejected her family’s notion of what is acceptable and picked up a guitar in high school. With each strum her passion for the instrument grew exponentially; her worldview changed when she unlocked the long-forbidden door to rock music at twenty-one.
In addition to making music of her own, Rowden is dedicated to helping others discover the joy of songwriting, vocal performance and instrument study. That’s why she founded Girl Guitar: a comprehensive rock school for women, bringing music enthusiasts of every skill level into six-week workshops with a rollicking showcase at the end. The Austin-based program introduces beginners to the basics of their chosen craft and encourages intermediate and advanced musicians to further hone their skills, all while surrounded by a supportive female community. Now a decade old, Girl Guitar “has surpassed my wildest dreams,” says Rowden, with around 25 classes per week and quite a few repeat students. “Some of the women involved have been in the program since the beginning and are still going strong. We’ve had holidays together, been through babies being born, divorces, road trips, benders, you name it. It’s really beautiful.”
The second half of 2018 puts Mandy back on the road, touring When That Day Comes around the U.S.