Singer Eleni Mandell has spent the past month on the road - traveling from Fall River Massachusetts to Eugene, Oregon... Philadelphia to Nashville.
But unlike most other touring musicians, she's done so with her kids - three-year-old twins - in tow.
Rex and Della play a big role in Mandell's life, and in her music.
You can hear their influence on songs like "Put My Baby to Bed" off her new album "Let's Fly a Kite."
The Los Feliz-based singer and single mom is back home for a brief stay, and a show tonight at McCabe's in Santa Monica.
How do you tour with two toddlers?
“It's funny, people ask me that a lot and I always think it's really not that hard. You get somebody to watch them when I need to go up on stage, but I think partly it's really a mindset. I have to do it this way and because of that I just make it work and it's a lot of fun.”
You've had an interesting journey to get here. Where were you emotionally when you wrote the song, 'I'm Lucky.'
“Well, I was actually very depressed and I was sort of trying to convince myself, "Oh no, this is really great, going out, me." And I remember distinctly being out during that time and thinking if this is all there is, this is just not enough for me. I want to have a family and making those songs on that last record were actually, came from a pretty dark place.”
You're single, you really wanted to have a family and you decided you were going to become a mother with or without a dad in the picture. Can you talk a little about that?
“Yeah, I actually think since my early 30's thought if I have to do it on my own, I will and in some ways I wonder now if that was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I knew another woman who had children on her own and I didn't like that idea at all. I thought it was sad, really, but when it came down to it having kids was more important to me than anything so I decided to look at sperm banks and that's what I did. I used an anonymous donor and I think it's great. I could be a spokesperson for how great it is.”
You're about to head out on tour again, have you thought about what happens when they're older? Maybe it's harder to take your kids with you?
“I really can't just imagine, even before I had kids how will I keep doing this and I just sort of put one foot in front of the other. I will say that them getting older is both easier and harder because they have opinions now about what they want to do. They don't necessarily want to get in the car for ten hours.”