To present an ode to nature, the singer and songwriter Manuka comes up with her Indie single “Tribal Man.” Born and brought up in the UK, she discovered her sound by singing Hindustani Classical Music as a young child. After a time she found other inspirations and moved away from the discipline to create her own voice. It’s at that point in her life, she self-taught herself the guitar and started composing songs garnering inspiration from heavyweights like Nelly Furtado, India Arie, Sheila Chandra, Colbie Caillat, Kina Grannis, and others.
Inspired by life’s turmoils Manuka wrote ‘Tribal Man’. She reflected and fabricated fantasy of living a happy and contented life, whilst creating a universal bond with nature and nourishing it the same way it nourishes us; whilst aiding her anxious thoughts. This was the beginning of Manuka’s creative journey in composing the track. The track begins with a prologue describing the need to nurture nature and our responsibility to preserve it. The flawless acoustics of guitar blended with her soothing vocals resonates with the absolute theme behind the track.
Listen to ‘Tribal Man’ by Manuka on Spotify-
We were intrigued by the idea behind Manuka’s track ‘Tribal Man.’ So we decided to have a conversation with her about the track, her life as an artist and also her creative process.
What made you come back to the core of Indian lives and reflect their stories through your music?
Well, actually this song isn’t about India at all. It’s about nature in general. I feel that it’s a universal song that everyone around the world can resonate and relate to. I came to India actually to tour, I had a few gigs lined up just before the pandemic. Plans inevitably got canceled with the lockdown and the tour didn’t happen, but in spite of this, I was able to settle here and connect with some lovely artistic people and began performing again as the lockdown lifted and of course creating new music.
When did the tryst between you and music developed? What made you choose music as your career?
Music was always a lifelong dream, I just didn’t have the courage to go full-time. I honestly thought it was too difficult to sustain myself. Now after some time and I guess some level of maturity and experience I have quit work and gone full-time music. I mean along with this I have other projects I am passionate about such as working in mental health using music as a medium to help people cope with life’s ups and downs, and also teaching singing and songwriting.
So, as this song is based on your personal experience, can you just elaborate the theme more wordily?
Tribal Man was written with a fantasy in mind, to live harmoniously with the elements, to be aware of how our minds and bodies are not the same as machines and we can’t run on overdrive. It’s important to pay attention, and take time to heal before we reach an overwhelming state. It’s to also acknowledge and use nature to grow but to not neglect, forget, or exploit her, but to nourish her instead. I was actually going through a very difficult time, it wasn’t a dip in my mental wellness, but more like I was being stretched too thin and I forgot to breathe. Working two jobs, working on freelanced music projects, family life plus collaborations, and gigging around the UK and trying to sustain a social life. I was about to snap. After months of ignoring it, I went out for a walk in the woodlands and sat in a field near a river and all I could hear was the wind, birds, and the water. As I listened longer, the weight lifted off my shoulders and I felt liberated. This was so powerful that it opened up my creative mind to do what it loves to do: write songs. When I arrived home, I picked up the guitar and that’s where the first complete draft to Tribal Man was created.
Apart from Indie folk, what are the other genres you would like to work on?
I have already worked and featured in Hip Hop, Bhangra, Pop, House/Dance, and television/web series. I honestly enjoyed working in all of these areas so would be happy to continue and broaden my musical opportunities.
Who has been your biggest inspiration from the very beginning? What traits of him/her inspired you?
That’s a tricky one. As I’ve grown this has changed. I hadn’t really looked at one artist but more of a collective. I feel that all independent artists who are championing their originality are my inspiration. However, there is one woman whom I have loved from the start of her career and have been in awe of is Lily Singh aka Superwoman. I know this is not a music reference but man she is a force, a person who worked so hard to make her dreams come true; her creativity, and passion to ‘make things happen. My dream is to meet her one day haha.
How do you want your music to be an example for future artists?
I want it to show that as an artist you don’t need to create a song in a style that’s already trending. Being a credible artist is not defined by your popularity but by your voice. Voice meaning Originality. Staying true to yourself is much harder but far more worthwhile…in the long run.
Apart from composing and producing, what do you enjoy the most?
Slow stitching! It’s surprisingly soothing to stitch and binge on chick flicks on Netflix. I am on this personal mission to upcycle everything I can get my hands on. Right now I am working with fabrics.
Any upcoming tracks on your list? Would you like to spare some tidbits of it?
I do have a few songs coming out, I don’t want to spoil the surprise though. You will have to wait and see. Connect with me on my socials @justmanuka
In future, whom would you like to collaborate with from the Indian music industry?
Anyone in the industry that aligns with my sound and artistic vision, I just want to meet more creatives and make authentic content whether it be other forms of art. I am agile with my creative eye.
On a specific note, if I ever get the chance, I would love to sing with Sanjeeta Bhattacharya. I came across her Instagram page when I first came to India as I was searching the music scene and I just LOVE her sound and style of songwriting. Eyy no harm in being optimistic.