Manditori (pronounced “mandatory”), MANDI Sagal and TORI Occhino, are two incredible musical talents that create a colorful and powerful sound beyond their years. Performing together since they were young girls, they have grown into a talented singing and songwriting duo. Manditori made their move from Wisconsin to Nashville in January of 2013 and are making their mark at Nashville venues and writing rooms working to earn their chance to break into the country music industry.
“Chemistry is one of the magical necessary qualities of a successful musical group,” says vocal coach and producer KimFranca. “Manditori has it!”
“They have this old-school country music Andrews Sisters vibe put to country music,” says singer songwriter Paul Wilmet. “Let me first say that I’m not easily impressed, and would describe myself as a harsh critic, mainly because I am surrounded by some of the greatest talent in the world in Nashville. When I heard Manditori the first time when they were 16, I admit I was caught a little by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that sound. Their voices blend so well and they have a unique chemistry between them. That comes from their years of friendship, and years of growing as musicians together. And now since their move to Nashville, the musical progression I have heard and seen is amazing.”
Occhino says that unique sound and chemistry comes from both familiarity with each other and a lot of hard work. “We are searching for a unique sound with our harmonies,” she says. “One of our goals is to sound different in the industry so we stand apart from others. We don’t want to be like everyone else in the market.”
Best friends since third grade, they began performing first in church, then weddings, area fairs and events, and also local sporting events including the Green Bay Packers. At the young age of 18 years old, the duo moved to Nashville with an unmatched determination to do what it takes to become successful performers and songwriters.
“We are working really hard at learning the craft of songwriting while also developing our individual and combined artistry,” Sagal says.
Manditori performs and writes as much as possible, thankful for those they have met along the way. Their fans will agree that their songs are edgy, catchy, and upbeat with tight harmonies.
“The only time I feel 100 percent whole and completely happy is when I am performing,” lead vocalist Sagal says. And Tori is the perfect partner. “When I hear Tori’s voice in harmony, I feel complete,” Sagal says.
They realize the difficulty of breaking into the business. They spend every possible opportunity making new connections, improving their sound, and working on new songs.
Their matching rings they wear remind them, “Be true to your dreams.” The decisions they make, their direction, and their determination are driven by these words.
They started out as little girls with a common love for music and entertaining. They have matured into two very driven, dedicated, passionate women, who won’t stop until they reach their goal.
“I love their story of two friends singing together since they were kids,” says Franca. “They bring to life their great original songs with heart. As a vocal coach, I find them delightful to work with because they can understand and then demonstrate new techniques easily. They keep showing me how much more they have inside and how they want to continually grow as a duo. I am excited to continue working with Manditori and watch the smiles in the audience grow and grow!”
And smiles are exactly what this duo is surrounded by when their voices become one.
Tori (left) and Mandi (right) before their
first musical performance as a pair at age 10.
HOW ARE THEY ALIKE? HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
Love making lists and crossing things off
Born on a holiday: Mandi/Thanksgiving and Tori/Easter
Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Matching rings say “Be True to Your Dreams”
Family dogs died on the same day: 11/16/11
Each owned by cats: Mandi by Chloe, Nala, & Gus and Tori by Mia & Raja
Sleep with baby blankets made by Mandi’s Grandma
2012 high school grads
Favorite charities: Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary
Martin guitar Taylor guitar
Naturally straight hair Naturally curly hair
Involved in school musicals Involved in dance
Picky eater Appreciates all food, except cauliflower
First born child Last born child
Late to bed/late to rise Early to bed/early to rise
Blue eyes Hazel eyes
No sister One sister
Ice cream: Blue Moon Ice cream: Cookie Dough
Size 6 shoe Size 7.5 shoe
No tattoos Inked