Hailing from Long Beach,CA the Rock-Pop-Americana group, Manuel The Band, was founded by songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Manuel Grajeda. The band consists of Brandon Charlesworth (Drums), George Madrid (Pedal Steel), Richard Fernandez (Trombone), Kevin Nowacki (Bass), and Matt Kalin (Saxophone). Described as “a breath of fresh air” by Julie Montante of Coachella Valley Weekly, Manuel The Band has fused an unorthodox range of instruments not normally seen in the pop-music genre. The band has made an impression on the SoCal music scene with a unique sound deriving from influences like John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band and Gram Parsons. Manuel The Band’s energetic live show has brought them to perform on many stages. Tuning into their latest single, “Strong Independent Woman”.
This band is so cool. Before looking at anything involving the band I always listen to the song first and their sound is so warm and inviting. The bands connection sounds dedicated and effortless showing how well they work together. And not just the traditional sense of a band but all the bells (brass) and whistles (saxophone & trombone). The lead vocals in this song has a sound similar to a Adam Levine or even Sam Smith. His voice is easy on the ears and it’s mesmerizing. And of course I had to check them out and they are definitely a SoCal swag band. And the cover art is so simple almost like an emblem and it will be remembered because of that. Overall, this band has something and if you want to keep up with them, check them out @ManuelTheBand.
Listen to "Strong Independant Woman" here, and learn more about Manuel The Band in our interview Below!
Hey fellas. Can you tell us a little about the creation behind your new song "Strong Independent Woman"?
This song was probably one of the coolest collaborations we've done as a band. It's a really "inclusive" song, meaning we've had a bunch of people come and play and put their own spin on it or add different feels and instrumentation to it when we do it live. The song started off as an acoustic piece written at the end of a relationship. It really show cases a cool mixture of our unique dimensions, juxtaposing horns with pedal steel. You never see that combo! So to be able to work out some amazingly unique parts with those instruments that work so great together was really awesome. George's pedal steel line is so ambient and beautiful. It tells a story of its own. Matt and Richard have these awesome horn lines that compliment the lyrics, adding a sort of "umph" to the story. When Brandon and Kevin drop the drums and bass it's as if the story really begins. It's super cool.
We've also had the pleasure of performing and recording this song live with Jam in the Van, where our buddy, and amazing musician, Thomas DaVinci takes on the second verse. At the time I had finished up the first verse and I thought it'd be really cool to put a different spin on it. So I sent it to our Thomas and asked if he'd be down to write a second verse. Man, he brought the fire! He came back with the coolest second verse mixed with hip-hop and this R&B feel. It's a really cool rendition of the song and gives it a whole different story. You can find that version here.
How do you maintain the strength within your band?
You know, we're a really bonded band. We've traveled together, spent nights cooped up in the smallest hotel rooms together. Recorded together. Laughed, cried, been totally pissed off together. We've seen each other in our best and worst states and come out stronger and more united every time. I think we're lucky that, from the start, we already had good chemistry and a good bond, but when you spend so much time together you either work and become stronger, or you don't. We've had our hardships, like any band, where things seemed like "oh shit, how are we gonna pull through this one?" But we always do and we do it as a cohesive unit. I (Manuel) am a total history nerd and love to make the connection with the Greek phalanx: It only worked if the guys worked together and looked out for the guy next to him. It was strong and formidable. Totally nerding out here, but I think we work in a similar way. We look out for each other and we decide on things together. We're a family and bonded by our love for what we do.
What inspired the song Strong Independent Woman?
Ahh yes. The song inspiration. Well, it's a relationship song. Shocking, I know. The song is really about being with someone who deserves more than what I had to give at the time. I don't care to write generically, and this song is no different. This person was, well, IS a very special person and what we had was truly beautiful. Beautiful, but not solidified. I, at the time, was making very different choices about where I was going in life and what I wanted to do/ pursue. I just don't think I was right "there" as a relationship needs. So, when things didn't work out this song became a reflection of just how strong and amazing this woman was/is and where my head was at during that time.
What do you hope listeners get from this new single?
I was having this conversation the other day with a friend. I always have a struggle with this one. For me writing lyrics and making melodies is a therapy for me. It helps me get out what's on my chest. If people get anything out of the song, I hope it's an inspiration to find a way to do the same.
What can we all hope to see from the band this year?
Yes! We have such a cool year planned with so many big things coming up. We will be dropping two more singles after this one and an EP by summer. We're in the talks about a music festival or two and possibly a tour. So, keep a look out- we might be heading your way!
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