James Manning’s music tells the stories of our lives through song. He’s his own man – songwriter, performer, business entrepreneur, family guy. A native of Orange County California , Manning has been described as a visionary storyteller with an infectious spirit and a warm touch. He has developed a contemporary sound that fuses an eclectic collaboration of pop and rock leaning songs that are fun, catchy and heartfelt.
Manning’s musical influences will remind one of the catchy hooks of Bryan Adams to the zany fun of Zack Brown to one of the greatest storytellers of our time the great Neil Diamond. In his own words: “I love music and performing! I am in a peaceful place when I am on stage. My songwriting helps me to get out the creative messages of what’s inside of me. I love to find that emotional connection and message in a song and bring that out of me for my fans when performing. I really want to make a difference in the world and believe that songwriting and performing is one of the outlets where I can do that through my music.”
Manning has opened for platinum artists including Leon Russell, Loverboy and Grammy award winning LeAnn Womack. His frequent appearances in such Southern California venues as House of Blues, The Coach House, Saban Theatre and the world famous Whiskey On Sunset have earned Manning a growing, loyal and passionate following.
Manning prides himself in being an artist that loves to collaborate with artists regardless of genre. He has been blessed to have worked with many great musicians such as venerable artists / producers Frank Wright and Bruce Walker.
Most recently, Manning had the opportunity to work with acclaimed singer/song writer and producer Brett Boyett. Their creative endeavors will bring about James Manning’s new EP “Unforgettable” to be released in 2016. Manning described his inner thoughts on writing two of the songs on his project. “I wrote the title song ‘Unforgettable’ about a time in my life when I was very busy but when true love came knocking it was absolutely unforgettable. ‘To Get My Heart’ is about a person’s deep desire and pursuit to get the one they know they love to connect with their hearts and fall in love.”
Look for Manning to be playing out supporting the new EP “Unforgettable”.
Learn more about Manning in the following All Accessinterview:
As a native of Orange County, California, do you think your upbringing there influenced your pop-country sound and really you as an artist?
Yes – I grew up in the mountains of Orange County California “Silverado Canyon” listening to John Denver, Eagles, The Outlaws, Waylon Jennings, Loggins and Messina, Fleetwood Mac. All good heartfelt music.
Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Yes – there was always a message inside me that its something I needed to do to fulfill my life and what I desired in life and this message was very alive inside me.
It’s funny that you recently performed with Lee Ann Womack since I just interviewed her daughter, Aubrie Sellers who is also a very talented country singer. What was it like performing with Lee Ann? How did that performance come together?
My Manager worked with LeAnn’s management and made it happen. It was great performing with LeAnn! She is a great person and I have so much respect for her as an artist and her music career.
I’ve read descriptions of you as being a visionary storyteller. Can you talk about your songwriting style? What do you think are the most important elements of storytelling?
Following what you feel inside and being patient with a song when its not coming out right away. Sometimes great songs take time to write and find all the lyrics that fit the message in the song.
Let’s talk about your forthcoming EP, “Unforgettable” to be released this year. What was the recording process like of it? How do you think you have grown as musician on this project? Since “Another Round”, how do you think you have changed?
I have grown a ton because of the collaboration of writing with the talented producer/songwriter Brett Boyettand recording these songs in Nashville with the top studio musicians in the music business. The songs are all really good and the journey has been so amazing and rewarding.
The EP’s lead single, “To Get To My Heart” is incredibly personal. Can you talk about writing it and where it came from?
That was one of those songs that just came out really fast and I had it written in like an hour. The song was about a time and a relationship I had with a girl I fell in love with and a lot of the message in the song is about those experiences.
You’ve worked with some remarkable artists and producers in the past. What experience was particularly memorable and rewarding to you?
They’re all special in their own way. Performing with Leon Russell was really cool, LeAnn Womack was so great cause its in my music wheel house and Loverboy was a blast from the past and lots of fun!
Over the year, what musicians have continued to inspire you? What would you love to work with in the future?
Gary Allen is somebody I really love and respect. Zac Brown is somebody too who I have always just admired and I love Bryan Adams and I have followed him for the past 30 years.
As a frequent LA performed, what are your favorite venues to play at in town? What are the LA crowds like? Where are you going to be playing at next?
I love the Saban/Wilshire Theater its a great venue and they’re on it with the engineering and sound check. I have a special place in my heart for the Coach House. I’ve enjoyed House of Blues, The Mint and many others. My next show right now is June 2nd with Leon Russell at the Coach House unless one comes up sooner which could happen.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
That it makes them change in some way that is positive in there life that something in my song had a positive effect in their lives. And that in listening to my songs they were entertained along the way.