Daring; gifted; distracted; successful; fallen; rebounding. Take your pick. They all describe MINDY McCREADY.
It’s a story starter you’ve heard before: she started singing early in life (age 3 to be specific) and just knew it was her calling. The unusual part was the absolutely impossible, iron-bending career plan she designed, empowered by the unwavering focus and commitment to her vision.
First, the plan. 1) Graduate high school early & move to Nashville; 2) Get a record deal within a year; 3) Move her brothers to Nashville from hometown, Ft. Myers, FL; 4) Sell more records out of the box than any female star before her. Ambitious doesn’t do descriptive justice to the plan. The result? Four checks.
It’s fair to say that she took the same crash course approach to learning the craft as would suit her exceptional star power. Even in a cynical, world-class entertainment center like Nashville, she was clearly something special. She was a stunning beauty possessed of remarkable vocal talent, youth, intellect and personality. A combustible mix to be sure; and the stuff stars are made of.
She showed she knew that work was the thing. Mindy set about singing demos, charming the power structure and living out loud. She met songwriters, producers, keyboard players, lawyers, limo drivers, secretaries, publishing song pluggers and her competition (i.e.—other wannabes).
Her unabashed ambition and competitive streak which was fueled by the lead-pipe-cinch obvious attributes and street-smart strategy met the nexus. She connected with Nashville producer icon Norro Wilson. Norro introduced her to a member of a hot creative family in one David Malloy. The Malloy Boys were on a roll with Eddie Rabbit hits, an innovative publishing company and approach to making records and building stars. He was young, talented, successful creative and shared a strong mutual attraction with the star-in-the-making.
Once upon a moon this kind of kinetic connection makes beautiful music. In a cynical, world-class entertainment center like Nashville, beautiful music is defined more by record sales than melody. The CD, Ten Thousand Angels, was the most beautiful music imaginable to Nashville’s record company ears. It rocketed to two million units sold which was unprecedented at the time for a debut artist. In 1996 that was a benchmark-changing moment for the Nashville music business. The wheels under the success of any CD are the singles. This CD’s wheels included "Guys Do It All The Time," "Maybe He'll Notice Her Now," "A Girl's Gotta Do (What A Girl's Gotta Do)" and the title track.
She was the Queen of the Moment. In such heady moments wise decisions are hardly the show biz hallmark. What soon ensued was great news & bad news; exhilaration & heartbreak; opportunity & confusion; triumph & challenge.
Despite a dearth of live performance experience she opened live shows on the biggest stages imaginable: George Strait, Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. It is the quintessential “growing up in the spotlight” story. On this stage her focus and self-confidence served her well. Big sales success and fan-adulation along with good reviews announced her arrival as a force to be reckoned with.
In 1997 the second CD, If I Don’t Stay The Night, was rushed out. A much more stripped down visual appearance emphasized her desire to be taken more seriously for her clear and evident talent than for her stunning beauty. It was a clarion call to her soul for the role she had assumed finishing the raising of her younger brothers, T.J. and Josh, and the authority in the conduct of her career. The title track and singles tell the tale of its message: “What If I Do”, “The Other Side of The Kiss”, “Oh Romeo” and “You’ll Never Know”. Although it sold more than 500,000 copies, the preceding success made it feel like a failure.
As her personal and professional relationship with Malloy ended she seemed to find solace in the relationship with the big-screen “Superman” star, Dean Cain. The two collaborated on videos and seemed to be finding a happy life in their engagement. As Mindy would later recount, “There were a lot of external influences that came to bear. If it could have just been Dean and I; not Dean’s people, my people, then Dean and I, we would have made it work.” It didn’t.
By the time 1999 and the I'm Not So Tough CD was released, her relationship with RCA had turned sour. It failed to match the sales of the ’97 release and major changes were afoot. In 2002 she released a self-titled CD on Capitol Records which also failed to meet expectations and they parted company.
An ensuing relationship with Billy McKnight, who was an aspiring country singer, began to blossom. Initially she saw a person she could help lift up while she found her new path. It was a tempestuous relationship with dynamic ups and downs. She continued to believe that she could “stay the course” and help him realize his dream. The reality was a textbook abusive relationship: he beat her and then apologized; promising to never do it again, then he beat her and apologized; promising to never do it again.
Her life was spiraling downward. After more than she could take she charged him with attempted murder. In the midst of this drama she attempted suicide twice and was convicted of a scheme to fraudulently obtain prescription drugs and sentenced to probation. The bow on the package—in a positive and negative sense—was she became pregnant in the relationship with McKnight. Her son, Zander Ryan McCready, was born on March 25, 2006. He remains the light of her life.
In July of 2007, she was visiting her mother and they became embroiled in a dispute that resulted in the police being called. The result of this conflict was a violation of her probation terms which landed her in the Williamson County jail for five months.
On December 29, 2007, she was released from jail. She has since embarked on the redemption of her life and career. She recently completed a recovery program at the Pasadena Recovery center with Dr. Drew Pinskey at which she confronted some of her inner demons that had been holding her back. This is currently being documented on the VH1 television show Celebrity Rehab. She has also recently finished recording a new album which will be available soon featuring songs in which she has tapped her “inner songwriter” as a means to reflect and express the incredible journey she has traversed.
As she would tell you, “The best is yet to come. Thank you for continuing to believe in me and my music. You won’t be disappointed with how this comes out. I won’t let you!!!”