I first met Johnny Manna at a pizza place just outside of Hopewell Junction in upstate New York, with little knowledge or inclination of his musical ability and composure. Even as the ensuing day and night passed, I had no idea I was sat in the presence of genuine, exciting talent.
Fast forward to a few weeks after returning back to England, and whilst perusing through social media I stumbled upon the video for Manna’s track ‘Here Lies Hope.’
What a fool I felt for not recognising the depth of man I was so casually sipping horrible tequila with.
Emotional Indie-Rock is a well-trodden path and one that needs careful navigation, which is a feat Manna has managed to pull off. It takes a lot to lay yourself bare, and after hearing ‘Here Lies Hope’ I needed more.
I wanted to find out where this musical insight came from, “I was in my 3rd year of elementary school and heard ‘Good Riddance’ by Green Day on the radio, I immediately took an interest in the sound,” Manna told me.
“I was somewhere around 10 years old when I had my first acoustic guitar which most likely only had 4 out of 6 strings that I started taking interest in writing my own songs. At the time most of them were just 2 note songs on the same out of tune string mixed with mismatched melodies but I was still thoroughly proud of my creations at the time and definitely had a strong desire for improvement and to keep going.”
His most recent single ‘Cabin’ is an exceptional ballad of mistakes and expectations. Featuring the wonderfully talented Dillon Joseph, the pair makes musical conversation that the whole world can relate to.
I became swallowed by this track, immersed in every detail. Simple, effective guitar, laid over simple, effective drums. A theme of less is more which set the musical backing track for hauntingly frank lyricism.
Manna’s voice perfectly compliments every piece of music he produces, but adding in the beautifully soft tones of Dillon Joseph took this song to another place. The pair manages to produce something real whilst performing together, which is a talent that simply can’t be taught.
I quickly realised that I needed this song, for one reason or another. That is what Johnny Manna does, he writes songs that you don’t think you need, right up to the point that you hear them.
So what’s next for Manna?
“I am always doing my best to write and continue with ideas as inspiration strikes. As of now though there is nothing concrete in the works for soon. But, having just recently put out my single Cabin, and a Split consisting of 2 singles over the summer I definitely am planning on starting the groundwork for a more substantial release hopefully sometime early 2018,” he told me.
Keep doing what you’re doing Johnny, cause you’re doing it well.
You can check out Johnny Manna’s stuff here: https://www.facebook.com/johnnymannamusic/
By Joe Parker – @parkersssss
Photos from Jess Ascone and Dillon Eckes