Some women sit around waiting for Mr. Right to ring the doorbell. Not Eleni Mandell.
“I wasn’t waiting — I was hunting,” says the honey-throated California folksinger. “But instead of going for pheasant, I was like ‘I’ll take the squirrel.’ But even the squirrels turned me down — they were like, ‘I want to party! I don’t want to have kids!’”
So as her 40th birthday approached, she made a bold move. She quit the dating scene, found an accredited sperm donor, and nine months later gave birth to twins, Rex and Della, now nearly 2. Then she penned an entire album about the experience, “I Can See the Future,” her eighth, which she’ll tout in town this week.
The record is packed with gently strummed, droll-witted observations in janglers such as “The Future,” “Bun in the Oven,” “Never Have to Fall in Love Again,” and “I’m Lucky,” in which Mandell trills, “I don’t know who I am/But I know I can begin again.”
“I don’t expect to be single forever, but now is not the easiest time to date,” she says, phoning from her Los Angeles kitchen while her kids bawl for breakfast in the background.
“But I have to say, when people gasp that I’m a single mother of twins and ask, ‘How on earth do you do it?’ I say ‘Well, it’s got to be easier than having a husband, because all my married friends are complaining!’”
Initially, Mandell says of her decision, “I felt pretty special. For about five minutes.”
Now, she feels like part of an artistic movement that includes several recent single-motherhood and/or artificial-insemination-themed films, such as “The Switch,” “The Babymakers” and “Friends With Kids.”
Her agency-approved donor? A violin-playing astrophysicist who likes classic rock. “Someone who I probably would never meet in my real life,” she says. “And you have to purchase every level of information on the person — it’s very weird and science-fiction-y.”
The 42-year-old studied her pregnancy with a certain clinical detachment. Even as she was being wheeled from the operating room after an emergency C-section, she says, “I looked around and said, ‘That was so interesting!’ I just found all of it really interesting and joyful.” She’s already written her first children’s book and composed several nursery rhymes to accompany it.
The singer also has tracked a new EP with The Living Sisters, her side project with Inara George and Becky Sharp. Just as she starts to discuss it, Della interrupts with an ear-piercing scream. “Ah, the intense twos,” mom says, sighing, “She doesn’t even want what she does want. She’s just a storm of emotion. Hey! Maybe those could be new song titles!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Café Du Nord, 2170 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Tickets: $12 to $14
Contact: (415) 861-5016; www.ticketweb.com