Jessica Manning owns her story
Not a day goes by that we don’t tirelessly dig through the vast ocean of musicians to pick for you only the finest and the freshest rising stars from around the world. Our choice this time is a young jewel who’s definitely got something going on and, as you’ll read for yourselves, now is the perfect time to get familiar with her beautiful music. Meet Jessica Manning:
Hey, Jessica, you’ve got an amazing album coming up – how did the crowdfunding campaign go?
The Kickstarter campaign for this album went really well! Even better than I expected. The support we saw was incredible and I’m so excited and grateful to be able to make this record!
You probably got your beautiful voice from your father who was a singer. Did you get any additional music lessons or did he teach you all you know about singing?
Thank you! Yes, I do believe that music lives in my blood, not only was my father a singer growing up, but I also have a very musical family in general. My grandmother was an unbelievable pianist with perfect pitch, and my grandfather almost pursued a career as an opera singer. I never really took vocal lessons aside from a short stint in high school where I worked with a vocal coach. I just grew up with music in my home at all times in some form or another. Eventually, I think it just becomes ingrained in you.
Have a look at Jessica’s Kickstarter campaign video:
You say Stockholm is where your love for music was born. Your dad was a musician and traveled all around, touring, when you were little – what was so special about Scandinavia?
Yes, I was born in Stockholm and lived there until I was 6 years old. I had a unique opportunity to hang out behind the scenes at a young age and watch as my dad lived his passion each day. I went back to visit Sweden for the first time since I moved to the US this past fall and I feel like a small piece of who I am clicked back into place. There is something really magical about Sweden, it’s difficult to put into words. There’s a sense of calm and an appreciation for life and the people you surround yourself with. It just feels amazing to be in a place where people truly value time spent with one another.
This is not your first experience with recording – your success on YouTube lead to a collection of acoustic songs. Can you tell us a bit about it? What’s different now?
I started my YouTube channel many years ago simply to have a place to put the songs I had learned or written myself. I recorded videos from my bedroom and posted one after another on my YouTube channel. I shared them on Facebook from time-to-time so my friends could see what I had been working on. I went to college in New York for a year and one day I was scrolling through Facebook. An old friend from childhood had posted a video of a song called “All Attached” by Justin Young, a great songwriter and Colbie Caillat’s former guitarist. I had never heard of him before but I really loved the song so I recorded a cover and put it on YouTube, as I always had. A few months later I received a comment from Justin himself, who had seen the cover and really enjoyed my version. We began emailing back and forth and he ended up inviting me to play a couple songs with him opening for Trevor Hall on tour later that summer. Eventually, he offered to record a handful of my original songs in LA for my self-titled Debut EP.
My music in the past was mostly written on acoustic guitar. What’s changed the most is that I’ve started writing on keyboard and co-writing with Zachary Brose on many of my new songs. My musical influences have shifted to the sounds of musicians such as James Blake, Frank Ocean, and Made In Heights. There are more keyboards, synths, and electronic drum elements that create a completely different mood from my previous record. I feel like my music now is far more mature and it’s definitely grown up with me.
Your album is called “What If I Run”. Why? How do you come up with the names for your songs?
“What If I Run” is the title of one of the songs on the record. I don’t want to share too much about the meaning of the song because I’d like for it to mean whatever listeners want it to mean for them. However, I think everyone can relate to the feeling of wanting to throw everything away because it’s easier than picking up the pieces. The question “What if I Run”? is one that we ask ourselves all the time. But what if we don’t run? What incredible things might happen then?
Usually, my song titles are a lyric from the song itself.
“Work really hard. Love the act of creating. Own your story.”
What instruments will we be hearing in your album?
Keyboards, synths, guitars, acoustic & electronic drums, bass. There may be some other surprising instruments that make it onto the record. The possibilities are endless.
How did you pick the musicians to record the songs with?
I work with an incredible group of musicians who play in my backing band. They will all be playing on the record in some capacity. They all have such a great understanding of my sound and what I’m trying to achieve. I’m very lucky to work with them.
Listen to Jessica Manning’s Cover of “Let It Go”, by James Bay:
What part of your music is the fruit of collaboration and how much of it did you write completely on your own? How do the people you play with influence your style?
Initially, I write most of the songs myself or with the help of Zachary Brose finding interesting parts and laying the groundwork. Once the song is completed or close, the band helps us flesh it out and add layers. Previously, I wrote all of my songs completely on my own, but I have found that collaboration has been a huge part of helping me pin down my own sound, not to mention, it’s a lot of fun!
What inspired you to create “What If I Run”?
I have been wanting to make a full-length record for many years and I finally had the courage to try a crowd funding campaign. It also took me some time to create music that’s truly representative of who I am.
Tell us about how it went for you on Kickstarter and what did you learn? Do you have any tips for aspiring young musicians?
IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The Kickstarter campaign received a lot of attention and got some great momentum early on. We saw tons of support from friends, family, strangers, and other musicians who wanted to help out. It’s so humbling to see the community of people that gather around you when they truly believe in what you are doing. I found that personal outreach to individual people was very effective for this campaign.
My advice for aspiring young musicians is to fall in love with the process, not the results. Being a musician is very hard work and often times things take much longer than you expect them to. Enjoy the time it takes to get to the reward. You have to be willing to work really hard at honing your craft and picking yourself up off the ground to try again. There are no short cuts and overnight success is a fallacy.
Work really hard. Love the act of creating. Own your story.
Well said! Jessica Manning from Stockholm, Sweden. Follow Jessica at drooble.com/jessica.manning