Nigerian-American crooner Mannywellz availed himself for an interview with The Sauce. At a time where his home country Nigeria has been going through turmoil, the young talent had lots to share.
On-time, Mannywellz quickly hopped onto the zoom call, and immediately, our conversation began. It was about 10 am in Washington D.C., and the first thing one would pick up on was his calm personality which beautifully mirrored the overall vibe on his new EP “Mirage”.
With the pandemic at hand, Mannywellz reveled he has an in-house studio in the basement. Coming from a musical family; his cousin raps in Nigeria, his sister is in a choir, and he started performing with his father when he was only 9 years old. You could tell that music is his life; in his bloodline.
Jovial and open, Mannywellz immediately dove deep into the kind of music he creates. Terming it as “Afro-fusion” his music is a fusion of R&B, Afrobeat, and Soul. He said, “My music is meant to make people feel good. Music for the soul.”
The 7- song EP “Mirage” covers beauty, pain, heartbreak, and experiences in love. Mannywellz explains that he sings not only about his experiences, but that he also pulls inspiration from other peoples experiences. He went on to say that his lyrics come from heartbreak, everyday life, conversations, great relationships, and different experiences in life.
“Mirage” boasts of Mannywellz’ dynamism as a singer, songwriter, and producer featuring Nigerian R&B phenomenon Tems on ‘Peace Sign’, Nigerian-American rapper Wale in ‘A Million’ and Nigerian-American sister- duo VanJess- on ‘Floating’, an ode to Nigeria.
Nigerian-born, Mannywellz spoke about a complicated upbringing in the United States. He opened up about being a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects children brought to the U.S, that currently holds an unlawful presence under the Trump administration.
DACA allowed children to legally work as adults, get an ID, pay tuition, pay taxes, travel within the US, and even gain an education. “DACA recipients need and want more”. He continued to explain how he cannot travel outside the US today as he shared his heartbreak on what was happening in Nigeria’s youth facing police brutality.
Speaking about the #ENDSARS movement in Nigeria trying to put a stop to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad that is associated with police brutality, rape, torture, and murder. “It’s sad, people meant to protect are the ones killing us. It’s not a Nigeria problem anymore, it’s a world problem.”
The conversation moved on to artists Mannywellz would like to someday collaborate with. “Asa!” was the first artist name that came to his mind. Asa performed last year in Kenya in 2019 for The Koroga Festival and it was such a delight to watch her live. He also mentioned Wizkid, Burnaboy, and Drake so I had to put him on to some amazing Kenyan R&B singers like Xenia Manasseh and Karun Mungai.
Mannywellz talked about discovering new R&B sounds from East Africa and shares how he can’t wait to start performing for his fans again. Opening up about a memorable touring experience with Jidenna, he said “It was amazing! I had fun! I connected with my fans and I even gained new ones!”
Mannywellz hopes that people can find themselves through his music. That his audience finds it as a form of healing from heartbreaks and any type of situation that comes left. He wants his fans to get to a place where they love themselves so fully and truly. That was the main message from his new EP “Mirage”.
Watch “Floating” by Mannywellz featuring Nigerian-American sister duo VanJess from his new EP “Mirage”.