Back in 2018, I was lucky enough to meet up with and interview a musical artist who ended up becoming a good friend – Manny Mack. Now twenty years old, Manny grew up in New Jersey and has been writing since the age of twelve. He enjoys creating Hip Hop, RnB and Rap music.
During the interview, we got to talking about his music, interests, and life in general. To this day, my favorite part of the interview was Manny’s vibes, he’s an extremely chill and funny guy who lets his creative energies flow through any room he’s in, which made him very easy to talk to.
Please excuse my amateur interviewing skills, I promise they’ve improved since then!)
Bri: Why did you start writing?
Manny: I just felt inspired, hearing all these guys do their thing over beats and just listening to music in general. It was kind of just interesting to me and I wanted to see if I could do it, so yeah. The first song I ever wrote over was Eenie Meanie by Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston.
Bri: When all is said and done, what is your end goal?
Manny: I just want to have a big hand in the music industry. I just want to be able to say I did this and I did that and a whole different aspect of doing things. I want to be different.
Bri: Does your family support your music?
Manny: Heavily.One of my favorite questions from the entire interview.
Later on in the interview, Manny goes on to explain how both of his parents are hearing impaired but still support his music passion. When I asked him how he shares his music with them, he simply said: “they just feel it.”
B: How do you define success?
M: Hm, that’s a good question…Being able to look back and see where you came from and see a whole new you.
B: That’s a great answer *laughs* So if it wasn’t for music what would you be doing? Like what are some of your other interests?
M: I like designing clothes. I have my own PTC shirt on, Push The Culture, with Tweety Bird which is referring to one of my songs.
B: Speaking of your songs, let’s get back to the music. What are your songs typically about?
M: So I have a lot of songs, some I haven’t even put out. The songs I did put out I’m trying to make a statement with. As a friend of mine called it, it’s a “humble public service announcement”. I’m just trying to let people know like I do this and I’m trying to get in on it. I’m trying to show you all what I can do and what big things you could see me do.
B: Have you performed anywhere yet?
*Please note the list has been updated since then, stay tuned for our then & now interview!
M: Yes, I’ve performed at IUP for their NAACP Image Awards, I’ve done some open mic nights here on campus, and I also opened for Jay Critch at Ali Baba.
B: How do you make musical connections with other artists?
M: For me, I’ll be real honest with you; it just happens. Sometimes I’ll just be going somewhere and I’ll meet someone or I’ll just be vibing, listening to music and I’ll talk with someone and we’ll have that connection. For example, I went to an LSU frat party where this guy Nate and I were just listening to music and I let him know I could rap. He told me he does the same so we just went back and forth on like eight different random songs that played at the party and it’s just stuff like that. It’s just random for me but it happens and the connection is crazy.
B: So who do you want listening to your music? Who’s your target audience?
M: College kids period. Like that’s what I’m doing right now. Me putting my music out is me living my life right now. I’m always referencing little things and my little doings in college, you feel me? So it’s just for the college kids.
B: What’s one thing you want people who listen to your music to know?
M: I’m serious, I’m not f*cking around, like at all.This is something you should probably know about Manny.
B: So what do you like about music the most?
M: I feel like music is the most powerful component in someone’s life. You feel it whether you like it or not.
B: What’s one thing you don’t like about music or the music industry?
M: I don’t like how fake it is. That’s probably why I’ll never sign anywhere and continue as an independent artist.
One part of the interview that hit close to home was when I asked Manny this question:
B: What advice would you give someone that’s starting where you were when you were twelve?
M: Don’t stop because I did and now I’m picking up stuff late. I feel like if I would’ve kept up with it, things would’ve probably would’ve gone a lot different.
The reason this made me stop for a second during the interview is that I could directly identify to his advice and saw parallelism between him with his music and me with my blogging. I feel as if I would’ve continued to write through multiple times I took breaks from my blog instead, things would be a lot different. The important thing I gained from this interview, as Manny had learned from his time off, is to push through the tough times as it will get you so much farther than just stopping completely.
B: Do you have any songs you wrote specifically for one person in your life?
M: I wrote a track on my mixtape, Legendary, for my grandmother. I reference her but I never met her once in my life. She died the year I was born which is the crazy thing. I said ‘never met my grandma/ but her name was Mary/ and even though we far/ I can feel her near me’. So yeah, Legendary is for my grandma.
B: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since you’ve started making music?
M: I’m gonna be real, doing my homework.
B: What’s your major?
M: Sign Language Interpreting, it’s very demanding. It’s because both of my parents are deaf actually.
B: So do you just play your music on a speaker and they touch the speaker?
M: They just feel it.
B: How would you say society impacts your music?
M: It gives me a swagger and a taste, Like when you listen to the tape you’ll see some songs I just like being swaggy and sometimes I like being hard and just with that, I think it impacts my music just like my flow and the selection I choose.
B: How would you say wanting to be a musical artist impacted your life? Like for me when I started my blog, it impacted me because I used to be more reserved and shy but then after so many people made me aware they were reading what I wrote and listening to what I was saying like I just started being more vocal in real life as I am on my site.
M: Yeah, I think it was a thing I found purpose with. Growing up I always wanted to be like a construction worker. I wanted to do this and that and there was just so much I wanted to do. Many people would call me a man of many traits. I just wanted to do a lot of things and I didn’t know what to do to like to improve life and then I found music. I was like “that’s it, that is it”.
B: That’s cool. How do you record? Like do you go to studios or have you made a DIY studio?
M: Yeah I go to studios but I also have recording equipment.
B: So have you recorded in a dorm room?
M: Not yet but I want to. It’s in the works.
B: Yeah that would be pretty dope. So have you had the best day of your life yet?
M: Not yet, I don’t think I’ve had the worst yet either.
B: What’s one outside element you would say impacts your music?
M: One major impact is my parents, they will never hear what I’m saying in my music. They will never hear my flow ever but they’ll always feel what I’m putting out and I want them to feel my music.
B: So do you have a favorite song of your own?
M: My own favorite song? Like my song?! Oh, I like the song Safe a lot but now I’m starting to like Kokamoe Freestyle it has a James Brown feature. I got James Brown talking sh*t for me in the beginning and then I just rip the whole track. It’s just me flexing, I’m just having fun with it.
B: Is there one song your most proud of? Like “yeah, I did that”.
M: Yeah, that’s the 24 Freestyle. That’s the first track I ever put out and also the first song I wrote when I was fifteen. It’s the first song I ever recorded my freshman year of college and I did it all in the first take. I was like I said that? It’s crazy and then I had Mel laughing in the background at the end. Easy. And it sounds great, you have to listen to that too.
B: What’s one element of your work you enjoy the most? Like is it the sound, being able to get out your emotion, or just like hearing it all come together?
M: So I love watching people dance. I can dance but I can’t really like dance so I love watching people dance. With me, music is just like my flow. It’s just me dancing on the beat and that’s just how I do it. I can do it with ease. I can do it eight of nine different ways. I just love flowing on the beat.
B: What does being an artist mean to you?
M: It means that I can paint a picture in someone’s mind of anything that I’m writing. Anything that I say; they can relate to, they can feel it, they can picture it and be like, ‘damn, I understand what he’s saying’.
B: What’s some advice you would give your younger self?
M: Read a book because when I was in high school, well I don’t know if I mentioned this but sign language was my first language so I knew English but like my English was broken. Cause you know, sign language is like broken English so I spoke differently growing up.
This interview was such a fun opportunity and it was awesome getting to know an artist in my community. Luckily Manny and I have been able to stay in contact despite both of our transitions out of Bloomsburg. The last time I spoke with Manny, he mentioned having something in the works so stay tuned!
Want to check out Manny’s music? Follow his links below:
Instagram: Real Manny Mack
SoundCloud: Manny Mack2020
Interested in a collab? I’m always looking for music and creative artists, fitness connoisseurs, and anyone doing something that deserves a spotlight to interview. Contact me to set something up!
Cheers to the up and coming artists of 2020,