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Local musician uses music to inspire people to combat mental illness



Billings, Montana – A mother of two and aspiring musician felt it would be practically impossible to balance a music career with her existing obligations until she discovered a way to inspire people who are struggling with mental illness via her love of music.

Mandie Castro, better known by her stage as Aija, developed a love for music at the age of twelve and began pursuing a profession after giving birth to a child at the age of eighteen.

Mandie recently signed with Pennsylvania-based record company DI Records, and she claimed that after going through a mental struggle during her pregnancy and motherhood, she found her healing in music.

She was further motivated to create music to support those who are on the same path to overcoming mental illness.

“What I really want, I guess, from the listeners, is to listen and feel like they are being heard or they are being seen and they are not alone, you know, and I hope that when they listen to my music, they will feel that way and they will feel something really deep,” explained Mandie.

She added that “sunshine,” her most recent song, was written during one of her darkest periods.

She wants to inspire individuals who struggle to push past their despair by using this song.

“I was depressed for a really long period of time and it got to a point where I didn’t know when it even started. That’s really how ‘sunshine’ came to be. It has this feeling of hope, where there is this little glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, like, it’s hard to see but you know it’s there and you feel like you have to fight as hard as you can to get to it,” emphasized Mandie.

She wants her music to bring people comfort and support while they struggle with their worst moments.