One guitar. One voice. And a whole slew of opportunities.
That is probably how Marie Manning would sum up her life. She’s proof that utilizing your talents can really pan out.
It all started with her mom and an old guitar.
Manning’s mom used to perform in Fort Worth. As it sometimes happens, though, life responsibilities eclipsed the music, and the guitar was all but forgotten.
Until Manning picked it up.
“It was this rinky-dink guitar I would always mess around with,” Manning smiled. Even with a string or two missing, she tried to make the old instrument sing.
The guitar received a true second chance when Manning’s fourth-grade teacher agreed to give her lessons, often times free of charge to help Manning’s mom — a single parent.
“She would even make me dinner sometimes,” Manning said. She is still in contact with the teacher that ultimately changed her life.
At 16, Manning wrote her first song: “Perversion of Nature.”
At the time, her mom was going through a lot of health issues, so her sister, who is four years older, became her legal guardian. It was only a temporary situation, but it was a difficult transition for Manning.
That first song was just lyrics at first, but she decided then that she wanted to write all her own music. And with that goal in mind she joined a band: Frozen Oranges.
It was just her and three guys — most of them weren’t even looking for a career in music. It was just for fun, and they were taking home prizes from talent shows.
Before she knew it, she was grabbing acoustic gigs at Hardback Café and Starbucks, and opening for metal bands around town. Her guitar started to become an extension of her voice.
She hit the Internet when local musician Jesse Rodriguez helped record four song demos for MySpace — back when the site was still hip, of course.
She really took her music to a new level in 2012, when she auditioned to be on NBC’s The Voice. Although she never actually made it onto the show, it did start a wheel of motion and re-ignited her musical endeavors. People began asking her to play at concerts and open for their bands.
With the help of local William Robles, she was then able to create an actual CD. The first album of 15 songs was all recorded in two days, and the last song features rapper FAME, aka Anthony Cobos.
It helped her step outside of acoustic sounds, something she would like to do more of.
“I would be into all types of music,” Manning stated. “Believe you me, if I could find someone who could lay down some beats, I’d love to do like a Kesha (type) tune.”
She has opened for more than 300 bands, and clearly loves it, but she isn’t actually all about performing.
“I love to write music, but I don’t want to be in the limelight all the time,” she said, exclaiming that this statement would probably shock those who know her, but still admitting it as truth.
“I don’t want 150 shows in 200 days. I don’t want to live on the road … on fast food … in hotels.”
She loves music and writing music, but it’s still just a hobby. Manning said she’s not really sure yet what she actually wants to do.
“The world is my oyster,” she said, with a laugh. “I don’t even use that phrase!”
Her mantra is always keep learning, and in this “generation of drifters” she simply wants to be excited and hopefully excite others to do things. One example would be to obtain more music venues in Roswell, she said. People just have to be brave enough to ask, and dedicated enough to work toward something they want.
“I’m not striving to have a legacy, but I want to do something with my talents,” she said. “Living in a small town doesn’t mean we can’t make something (happen).”
So maybe she doesn’t know what she’s going to do in life, but she knows she wants to be a positive light, and she knows she’ll be using music to make a difference.
“I know for the rest of my life I’ll be writing and playing music,” she said.