Be patient, nothing happens overnight. Enjoy the process. You must spend a lot of time cultivating your craft.
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing Deb Manso.
Deb Manso is a Brooklyn-based indie artist, model, and lifestyle influencer. Hailing from Wyandanch, NY, where she was born and raised, Deb harnessed a passion for singing at an early age, and began her performing journey in her middle school choir. It was during this time that her father, an aspiring musician himself, exposed her to a vast array of musical influences, boasting an extensive record collection featuring artists ranging from The Rolling Stones and Dionne Warwick to Juan Gabriel. This rich tapestry of sounds nurtured Deb Manso’s deep-rooted love for music and intersectional genres. Fueling her creative fire were the captivating melodies of iconic figures such as Mariah Carey, Stevie Nicks, Ann Wilson, Nirvana, and the incomparable queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. These luminaries not only captured Deb Manso’s admiration but also inspired her to forge her own path as a songwriter. Now, under the moniker Deb Manso, an homage to her mother’s maiden name, she aspires to carve out a distinct space for herself as a talented 40+ artist within the music and modeling industries. With her unique blend of influences and unwavering determination, Deb Manso endeavors to inspire and captivate audiences with her artistic vision, utilize her platform to advocate for mental wellness, and dismantle ageism in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was raised on Long Island. My parents moved to Long Island, NY from Puerto Rico and never left. My father was a minister of the Jehovas Witness congregation. So growing up, I lived in a very strict household. I’m one of 8 children. My father was an aspiring songwriter. He would collect records of all genres of music. Both parents would play music all day.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My oldest memory of myself was around the age of 5. I would sing songs by Barbara Streisand and already was able to hit most of the notes. I was always musical and could sing. I started writing songs at the age of around 12. It was a form of escapism for me.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
My first studio experience was horrifying. I felt extremely insecure. It was the early 2000s when Aaliyah was paving the way for softer-sounding vocalists. She was unique at the time and most producers wanted singers to sound like her. I didn’t have the vocal control or understanding to embrace a softer-sounding voice. Nor did I know how to sing in the studio which requires a whole other skill set. I hated all of my earlier recordings. That has since changed.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My personal project is so exciting to me. It took me 20 years to start releasing music. I’m in a good place and looking forward to releasing a body of work next year. I’m more comfortable with my sound and story. The currently released songs were written a while ago. I wanted to get comfortable with the idea of sharing and being vulnerable. I’m working on my 2024 EP. It will be a cohesive body of work.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I once met JayZ while working as an intern on the set of his Rhapsody commercial. He was the nicest person. He came over to the staff and introduced himself to all of us.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
Unfortunately, I get super creative when I’m experiencing heartbreak. Music has always been a form of therapy. I’m working on changing that and drawing inspiration from both good and bad experiences and other people’s experiences.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I haven’t reached the peak of success to give back on a grand scale. I hope to inspire more people my age to not limit themselves because of their age. It’s never too late to start working on the things you love.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.
1 . Not everyone will support your project.
2. It will cost you lots of money. And you will waste lots of money through trial and error.
3. Be patient, nothing happens overnight. Enjoy the process. You must spend a lot of time cultivating your craft.
4. You are going to spend a lot of time alone. Because people can be a distraction and your inspiration and creativity will take priority.
5. You have to not be afraid to share and accept that not everyone will like your art.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would encourage more self-sustaining communities. Mass production and inflation have made basic needs unaffordable and hazardous. If you want to make a real change in the world. The people need to unite and become more independent of the large conglomerates that make billions off of the health and living conditions of the people. Healthier food leads to fewer illnesses. Affordable housing leads to less stress.
We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
It would probably be Elizabeth Warren. I would love to know how she has navigated through male-dominated politics for so many years. And did she really think she would have a chance to run against Biden during the last major election? Her take on where the Democrats stand and how it could’ve been different had she been elected would be interesting to discuss.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you for having me!
Deb Manso: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.