By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Grafton – Roberta Mandella of South Grafton continues finding ways to express her creativity. She co-hosts Charter TV3’s entertainment talk show “WooTube” and sings with two bands, The Issues and The Mood Swings.
For 20 years, Mandella had worked as a mobile disc jockey and ultimately incorporated karaoke into her business. A longtime friend heard her singing karaoke at a club in 2008. She was invited to join his new band, then known as Mood Disorder.
“We had another band member who was a little more hardcore than us,” she noted. “When he left, we changed the name because we thought it was promoting heavy metal music rather than what we were actually doing.”
Now known as The Issues, the five-member band performs an eclectic mix of top-40 blues and rock cover songs. Mandella drew upon her experience as a deejay to help the band assemble its repertoire.
“Knowing how people respond to certain music and what works well on the dance floor has really helped us craft our song list,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 50s or 60s, classic rock, blues or top-40; we’ll add it to our collection if we think it’s something that people will have a good time hearing.”
Their repertoire includes cover songs of artists such as Cheap Trick. Guns N’ Roses, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Tom Petty, Pink and ZZ Top. The Issues have even performed the TV commercial jingle for McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish.
“We try not to take ourselves too seriously,” Mandella said with a laugh.
She stopped working as a deejay about a year after the band began performing. Among the venues where she and The Issues now perform regularly are JJ’s Sports Bar & Grill in Northborough, KasBar in Worcester and Wong Dynasty in Holden.
“I really like it when our friends are our fans and they want to come up on stage and sing with us,” she noted.
Her favorite memory performing with The Issues is playing at the Out to Lunch Concert Series at the Worcester Common Oval in 2013.
“There’s something about performing outdoors that I really enjoy,” she said. “I loved looking out and seeing lots of smiling faces and people dancing. And the sound system there was so amazing and clear.”
In 2011, Mandella was nominated as Best Female Singer for the Worcester Music Awards. Soon afterward, she submitted her videotaped audition into a contest in search of a co-host for Charter TV3’s “WooTube” with Dale LePage.
“It sounded like a fun adventure to me,” Mandella recalled. “I’m the type of person who says, ‘Why not give it a shot and see what happens?’”
“WooTube” premiered in 2012 with co-hosts LePage and Mandella. It airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 p.m. The show features performers’ music and comedy videos, and reports on entertainment events and venues. Charter TV3 airs in 59 communities throughout New England including Grafton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough.
“My co-host, Dale, is an absolute riot and the most genuine person I’ve ever met,” Mandella said. “We have the best time on the show, just being completely silly. People in our production team are also musicians and they’re a lot of fun as well.”
She has recently found another creative outlet: Roberta Mandella and The Mood Swings with whom she’s accompanied by Peter LaCanfora on bass and guitar, and Christopher Guzman on vocals and keyboard.
“I’m always looking to get into something new and different,” Mandella said.