Photo Credit: Yve Assad
By Aaron Wagner
Manny Blu keeps the new music coming, this time with his new EP New Ink.
Following his impressive debut album, Leave It Like It Is, Blu keeps the momentum going on his new EP out today. With five tracks, the new project from Blu had him working with a new producer and cutting songs written by some of the best Nashville.
The project packs a soulful punch with each song, allowing Blu’s vocals to shine through and truly dominate each song. Blu and the songs on New Ink fit a lane that isn’t currently being occupied in country music. Think somewhere between Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton as I think fans of both those artists will enjoy this EP.
If these are the collection of songs fans can come to expect from Blu, then I think the sky is the limit. We caught up with Blu to talk about what went into the making of New Ink and how he hopes this EP sets him up for even more success.
Raised On It: What was your goal when you set out to make this project?
Manny: Well, while we were touring after the release of my first EP, I realized that it wasn’t exactly the kind of music I wanted to play to portray my style as well as the band’s style. So, the main goal for New Ink was to make it sound different, real, and a lot like our live show.
Raised On It: Why did you end up naming the EP New Ink?
Manny: While trying to think of a name, I came across Mötley Crüe’s album, called New Tattoo, and I thought that name was so sick. So, I came up with a different way to say that and therefore came up with New Ink. After sitting with it for a while, I thought it made sense, especially considering the style of the new album and songs and my love for tattoos. I think it has a few different meanings.
Raised On It: How would you describe the theme of New Ink?
Manny: I’d say the theme of this album is real life. The lyrics are about love, heartbreak, and all the emotions that come along when dealing with both. The sonic theme is bigger and louder than Leave It Like It Is; it sounds like our live show. Real instruments playing real songs, which takes me back to the reason I ever picked up a guitar in the first place.
Raised On It: What was your favorite part of the recording process?
Manny: The best part of the whole process was watching each song transform from demo to a song that will appear on the album/EP. For this project, I worked with a new producer, Aaron Eshuis. Getting to know him and work with him was awesome as well.
Raised On It: “Born to Ride” has been on repeat for the last few months. How special is it to cut a song written by Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, and Josh Osborne?
Manny: It’s absolutely unreal. When I receive demos and listen to them, I don’t get to see who wrote them until I’m very interested in a song. Then, I get the lyrics sheet to really dive into what the song is saying. Needless to say, I was blown away when I saw those names on the top of the page.
Raised On It: It’s tough to pick a favorite song on the project, but is there a song that you hold near and dear to yourself as a song that’s really important to you?
Manny: In a way, it’s weird to say that I have a favorite song on the EP because it feels like picking a favorite child. However, I have had exciting experiences with each song. So, yeah, I have a favorite story relating to a song, but no one will ever know it because I will never say it!
Raised On It: What do you hope people take away from the album when they listen to it?
Manny: The biggest takeaway I’d like people to have from New Ink is to follow the journey. I’ve now found the space I want to live in musically, and I hope people just want to come along for the ride. Though I don’t write many of the songs I release, I never sing about anything that’s untrue or didn’t happen to me. So, my truth is in the music. I went through hundreds of songs before picking just these five. I’m proud of this whole project and can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve got coming!
Raised On It: Lastly, what did you learn about yourself as an artist or yourself in general, during the making of this album?
Manny: I learned that having played the number of shows we did in 2019, I wanted to be a little more involved with the production process and how songs come out. After working with Aaron again on this new project, I think I’m just going to keep getting more comfortable with being in the studio during the recording process and know more of what I want to hear from my music and how to use my voice.
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