Singer-songwriter Manika just released her summer single “Just Can’t Let You Go” featuring rapper Lil Twist, and the 17-year-old sensation isn’t stopping there! Although her music career is taking off, Manika still had time to chat with Kidzworld one on one - check out this exclusive Q&A!
KW: When did you first realize you wanted to be a singer?
- Manika: When I was little—like in preschool—I was very shy, but whenever I went on stage I just exploded. Ever since then I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Music has always been a part of me, music is my passion.
KW: Who are some musicians you look up to?
- Manika: There are so many different musicians I look up to for different reasons—from hip-hop to rock to pop. Some are Alanis Morissette, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Beyoncé, Lil Wayne.
KW: How would you describe your sound?
- Manika: It's really important to me that my sound is a combination of beats and melody. I love hearing strong, confident beats in music because I love to dance. At the same time, melody is really important to me because I love singing. I always have melodies flowing in my head—whether I'm just at home, at the mall, at a restaurant or wherever. I'm always humming along to the random melodies that form in my head. My friends always ask me, "What are you singing?" and I'll be like, "I don't know!"
KW: What is your new song “Just Can’t Let You Go” about?
- Manika: “Just Can’t Let You Go” is a song about passion. It’s when you have such a strong passion and love for someone or something that your heart just can’t let it go. Whether it’s a special boy, girl or that feeling you get when performing on stage or playing a sport. For me my passion is music. I just can’t let it go!
KW: What was it like recording with Lil Twist?
- Manika: I had so much fun recording with Lil Twist! He’s such a great guy and super talented. His thing to say in the studio was "swag". After every good take he'd be like, "swag"!
KW: Who would you most like to work with in the future musically?
- Manika: I would love to work with Pink, Alanis Morissette, or Beyoncé! That would be amazing!
KW: We hear you aren’t just a great singer, but also a writer, can you tell us about your book The Exciting Adventures of BOO?
- Manika: I've always been an all around creative person. Song writing and writing are great ways for me to express myself. My book "The Exciting Adventures of BOO" was first published when I was fifteen. It is a children's book with ten different stories. In each story the main character Boo learns a lesson—one of the ten most important lessons I learned as a kid. I also donated all the money from my books I personally sold to my local ASPCA Animal Shelter.
KW: Do you ever get stage fright?
- Manika: I get butterflies in my stomach before I perform. I love them! They let me know I'm ready to perform, that I'm ready to rock out on stage.
KW: You are also an actress, what kinds of parts do you like to play?
- Manika: I like playing an array of different roles. From the fun, comedic roles to the serious roles. It's always fun to play the role that either closely represents your own personality or the role that is completely opposite of yourself.
KW: What is your song writing process like? Where do you get inspiration from?
- Manika: I approach song writing three different ways. One way is where I write the initial melody and lyrics first and then take it in to the producer to collaborate. Another way is where the producer sends me his initial musical track ideas and then I write the lyrics and melody over his track. The third way is where we just jam out in the studio and see what we come up with. I get my inspiration from everyday life, things people my age are going through in life, good and bad experiences. It's always amazing seeing the song-writing process. A song just starts off as just an idea or a story you want to tell. It keeps building and building when you add the lyrics, the instruments, the vocals until you finally reach the finished song other people can enjoy.
Manika's Fave Things
- Song: "Hand In My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette & "Black And White" by Michael Jackson
- Book: I'm a huge fan of the Harry Potter series!
- Movie: Please don't make me choose! I'm such a movie-holic
- Food: Nutella & barbecue ribs! (not together though)
Check out Manika's feel-good summer single "Just Can't Let You Go", featuring Lil Twist: