Get to know beguiling new artist Mani Blü, and his debut single, Turn Off The Radio
The striking Melbourne-based artist kicks things off with a emotive piece of synth-pop.
Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Mani Blü has arrived, with a wonderfully striking visual aesthetic to go with an equally enrgrossing debut cut, Turn Off The Radio. With nods to the past (Bowie, Warhol) combined with a forward-thinking electronic-pop bed to lie on, Turn Off The Radio is arresting in its sparseness, and has us pretty eager to hear more.
We sent him Mani Blü a few questions to find out more, and you can check it out below:
You appear to be an artist that isn’t afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. How would you best describe yourself as an artist and person?
I have never really been afraid to show people who I am or my art, those two thing kind of exist simultaneously for me, I think that it gets difficult when people try to define what I do, I don’t really like that because it can at times feel too limiting as an artist. I am not really sure if I am afraid of people not understanding me, or if I’m afraid of people understanding me perfectly. Most people I have met in my life have always asked me to show more of myself as a person, I have always been quite an introvert at my core, I think it’s because I have never really felt like I have fit in anywhere, or with any community of people. In saying that, my art has provided me with a space to truly shine and express what I really want to convey.
When I am creating something new, I always make sure I have a visual indicator relating to it, because for me, art and music are fused together, there isn’t really a prominent bridge between them in my mind, so I really try my hardest to create an audio/visual experience.
Where does your musical inspiration stem from?
I was six when I had my first singing performance, I was in a space costume with galactic inspired makeup, acting as a star who had come from a distant planet, it was a total foreshadow of my life. When I started high school, I began performing in my schools musicals, as well as doing every drama and art subject. I created sets, acted, played with costume design and makeup, as well as creating Andy Warhol-inspired performance art videos. All of these elements in my life felt kind of separate from each other and I started to question whether I wanted to be a recording artist or go into theatre and art, but when I discovered Bowie, everything clicked and I collided them all together.
Congratulations on the release of your first single! Can you tell us about your writing process for Turn Off The Radio?
Thank you so much! This song was very inspired by David Bowie's album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spider from Mars, when I was 18, I was playing that album every single day, it is a record that really awakened a part of me that made me want to push boundaries in all of my creative endeavours and life in general.
I came up with one idea for the song and then left it for a few months, I discovered it again in my phone a few months later, and I sat outside my university's building planning to finish it, and the words flowed through my pen and I finished it in almost 40 minutes, it was probably the easiest song I’ve ever written, it really made me believe in the idea that creativity is a separate form of energy, that finds us, rather than us finding it, that’s how I experienced writing this song anyway. During the production process, I really wanted to make sure
this song remained authentic to itself, I didn’t really want it to be anything more than what it was, so there is this rawness to it that I believe makes it special.\
What’s your earliest memory of being inspired to become a professional artist?
Probably when I was about 3, I would always be dancing and singing to different kids shows like Hi-5, I have a faint memory of just wanting to be up there with them. When I was around five years old, I would beg my mum every single day to enrol me into dancing and singing lessons, It was all I wanted to do, I am not actually quite sure where that initial drive came from, because no one in my family are into music or performance like I am, but when I look back at that time, it was very instinctive, as if I was being called to do it.
If you could change three things about Australia, what would they be?
1. More spaces for creative kids to come together and bond over their mutual love of art, fashion and music. I would love to see that kind of power outside of social media.
2. The Australian music industry in general, we need to support more artists and give them greater opportunities. I think it should start by giving Australian artists more radio play, especially on major radio stations.
3. To put it simply, more acceptance of diverse people, of all minorities, hate is something I see happening daily on the streets.
Are you the type of writer who feels most motivated to create when the chips are down? Or are you equally as compelled to write music when you are feeling happy and content with life? Do you feel like songwriting is therapeutic?
I think that changes from time to time, I have really found out that creating any kind of music isn’t so black and white, it really takes the right frame of mind to write a song, and that headspace could be the wrong headspace for another song. But to answer your question, I tend to find that I feel more motivated when I am in a very calm space, crowded rooms with noise tend to stress me out, so I sometimes go and sit outside to write a few lines. My emotion doesn’t usually determine my motivation though. I believe songwriting is therapeutic when you need it to be, I find that it can be painful when your brain forces you to do it, but you do always feel better in the end.
Any shows coming up?
I am currently in the process of planning a show with my really good friend Joe, who co-produced Turn Off The Radio. We have been talking about a lot of different elements to make the show really exciting and theatrical. I really want to use this opportunity to express myself as authentically as I can, and I feel like on stage is the best time to do it.
What’s the rest of the year have in store?
In a couple of months I am going to be releasing my second single, as well as have a music video alongside it, It is very different to Turn Off The Radio, but I feel like it is really indicative of who I am now as an artist. I am also working with other producers to hopefully bring out an EP by the end of the year.
Where can we hear more of your music?
You can hear more of my music and different fashion posts on my social media and most online stores. I have new music coming out in about two months so I am super excited to share snippets on my social media very soon!