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Maryland-based independent artist Mannywellz wants to create his own genre with Soulfro.
Maybe that’s not accurate. In his own words, the “soulfro” sound is not so much a genre as his personal statement, his unique twist on American soul music with African sounds. It’s a concept born of his Nigerian roots; he was born in Nigeria and moved to the States when he was 9 years old. He’s since become an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and drummer, played in a few go-go bands, and joined House Studios, a media and production company that seeks to return the independent spirit to creative workers in an industry where marketing and artifice have long had undue influence over art.
Manny brought that independent spirit to Soulfro — which took him over two years to craft from scratch — writing, producing, and playing on the entire project. He also brought in other musicians to play on the album in the spirit of collaboration, as he wanted to ensure that the most accomplished and adept instrumentalists he knew would be given the opportunity to contribute. However, from the beats to the soulful harmonies on display throughout, Soulfro is all Manny’s vision.
From the poppy effervescence of first two singles, “Watermelon” and “Wrong Place,” which he released last year, to the driving “Hand Of God” interlude, Manny’s personality and faith shine through, creating a vibe that never strays too far away from catchy and endlessly listenable. He slips autobiographical stories of betrayal and crises of conscious into uptempo productions that skip and bounce along with African-inspired rhythms offsetting trap-influenced bass hits that blend to create a distinctive groove. It’s a sound all Mannywellz’ own — one that’s sure to catch on and propel his unique amalgam of cultural styles to the spotlight on both sides of the pond. Check out Soulfro below.