Mandy Groves, left, released a video on September 12 for her single "Blow," which she wrote and produced with her frequent collaborator, Shinu, right.
Denver’s Mandy Groves didn’t realize when she was shooting the video for her latest single, “Blow,” inside Lakewood’s Roller City West last month that she was tapping into another world.
“I’ve gotten multiple requests to perform in other states at roller skating rinks and also to give permission for them to play the music video during their skate sessions,” Groves says. “I’ve gotten a lot of comments about how happy they are to see roller skating making a comeback and that it is still popular and trendy. I didn’t know it ever wasn’t.”
The video, which debuted on September 12, tells the story of Grove and her friends sneaking into a closed roller rink, presumably at night, and setting up two people for some romantic hijinks.
“Both of my music videos so far have a story to them,” she says. “I really do like putting a narrative together and doing filmmaking. I think it’s fun. The planning and putting everything together is stressful, but when the end product happens, I love it.”
Groves cast a close friend she considers a sister and the friend’s boyfriend in the roles of the would-be lovers. The two have since become engaged.
“At first we wanted it to be just this glamorous, awesome skating-rink video,” she says. “It turned into this cute thing. I didn’t want to be the leading love interest. I wanted it to be a different kind of story, where I was with my girls and we were playing matchmaker.”
The video hit a snag in production early on — the first shot, actually — when Groves dislocated her knee during a choreography scene. All of the shots in and around the rink happened after her injury.
“I was wearing rubber-soled shoes on the rink,” she says. “When I went to turn, the lower half of my leg stayed there. … It’s pretty serious, but somehow I recovered quickly.”
Though much of her current musical output is hip-hop- and R&B-influenced, “Blow,” takes a decidedly house-influenced turn, a musical direction she hopes to continue with Shinu, her frequent collaborator and fellow Denverite.
“That’s the kind of music I listen to,” she says. “It was cool to make a track that represents my music tastes. What I’ve made in the past, I do like it. I love it because it’s what came out of me, but it’s not what I would put on a playlist.”
The duo hopes to drop another single by October.
“The next single we're working on right now is very dance,” she says. “I think we’ve even stepped it up. It’s a higher BPM. It’s kind of deep house.”
Groves, already an accomplished commercial actor, started recording and releasing music last year, including the EP Blame in May.
Her turn to music appears to be going well, as she is both performing at the 5280 Urban Music Awards on Sunday and nominated for four awards: Best Club Track; Best R&B Artist; Best Complete Project, for her debut EP Phases; and Rookie of the Year.
“I don’t live and breathe acting,” she says. “I don’t wake up and write a script. But I’d say I do live and breathe music. I’m constantly writing and constantly singing. I’d say music takes the forefront in my life, but it’s not my main job.”
Groves performs from 8 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 20, at the fall opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Tickets are $25 and available at Eventbrite. On Sunday, September 22, she will perform a short set at the 5280 Urban Music Awards at the Gothic Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8. Tickets are $20 in advance and available at axs.com. For more information, visit Mandy Groves's website.
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