Michael Mancuso on heartbreak, his new single 'Give It To Me,' and being a "cocky bro"
In the realm of authentically fun pop music, Michael Mancuso’s songs have the ability to resonate with any listener from the first note itself. Describing his sound as, “a mix of Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, DNCE and Ariana Grande,” his work is an extremely powerful blend of today’s Top 40 Pop.
Michael’s new single 'Give It To Me' marks the beginning of a sexier, edgier chapter in his career. A one-off single that sees Michael dabble with the pop-rock sound, it's a sign of his versatility and a taste of the diversity that he offers in his repertoire. Check out the new single below:
Born and raised in Westlake Village, California, Michael grew up loving music and was singing as soon as he started talking. His love of performing took him through college where he was a member USC‘s premiere, award-winning a cappella group, The SoCal VoCals.
Michael’s stellar run with The SoCal Vocals gave him a taste of touring the globe, performing at world-famous venues like The Beacon Theater in New York, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong. A few highlights of his tenure with the group include opening the BMI Pop Music Awards, performing for stars like Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and Imagine Dragons, and performing for President Obama at the White House. Michael was also featured on the track “Heart of Gold” with Grammy Award-winners Scott Hoying and Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix, and has come a long way in his career from his a capella days.
We spoke to Michael via email to discuss his fast-rising career, the new single and what inspired it, his influences and dream collaboration among other things. Here's what we got:
Meaww: You’ve said that your new single ‘Give It To Me’ came from a ‘dry spell’ in your ‘love life’. Can you tell us more about the story behind the song?
Michael Mancuso: The song itself was written from the perspective of a light-hearted joke. I had broken up with my girlfriend a few months before "Give It To Me" was written and was definitely not having the easiest time with it. I think there's something to be said about missing both the emotional and physical connection you have with someone. The lyrical content of "Give It To Me" came from the place of wanting to find comfort again in those types of connections with a new person. I can't help but view the song as a big joke, though, because everyone who knows me knows that I'm not the type of guy that just sleeps around. But, for 3 minutes and 7 seconds, I get to pretend to be that stereotypically overconfident and cocky bro. To be honest, its one of my favorite songs to perform live for that exact reason!
Meaww: You were a member of USC’s premiere, award-winning a cappella group, The SoCal VoCals, with whom you opened for the likes of Imagine Dragons and Taylor Swift. Tell us about your journey from there to now.
Michael: I owe everything I've achieved in my music career to-date to my time in The SoCal VoCals. Every person who is a part of my musical journey now is somebody that I met through the things I did in college with that group. After I graduated college I focused on finding my sound and my voice as a writer. It took a little over a year, honestly. But once it all fell into place, I started performing around Los Angeles. I was very fortunate to land a residency at the W hotel in Hollywood for 2 months straight. Me and my band singing whatever we wanted, including a few originals. The W opened a lot of doors for me, and I started doing occasional gigs at the Sayer's Club and other places like Sofitel Hotel and Villa Lounge. Releasing 'Give It To Me' was a big milestone in my career. It was the first song I've ever released that I can see myself touring with. I did a release show at Hotel Cafe's main stage and pulled over 150 people, a milestone in itself. That takes us to now. I'm looking at booking Peppermint Club for the end of May or beginning of June, and am excited to continue taking steps forward!
Meaww: Is the new single a taste of a new album to come? When can we expect a new album to drop?
Michael: 'Give It To Me' is a true single, in the sense that none of my music following it will follow in its pop-rock footsteps. I have a few more songs that I'm very excited to release in 2018. As of right now the plan is to continue releasing single after single. But all of the other songs that are slated to come out this year will be as close to top 40s pop as I can get while remaining authentic to myself and my sound.
Meaww: There is a clear difference sonically between your old music and the new single. What’s led to the change?
Michael: I went through a phase of truly wanting to be a pop-rock artist like DNCE. I was all about the energy that jamming out on stage with a band can bring out of you. So, in that headspace, 'Give It To Me' was born. As I continued writing, I discovered where I actually want to end up and what I want my sound to be, but I loved 'Give It To Me' so much that I couldn't leave it unreleased. It has become a staple of my live performance sets and I wanted to immortalize it by releasing a recorded version.
Meaww: Who is your dream collaboration? The one artist that you would love to collaborate with, alive or dead...
Michael: I have been a huge fan of Zedd for years now. I have promised myself that I'm going to have a song out with him by the time I turn 25. I'm 23 now, so I still have time to make it happen!
Meaww: Who are your biggest influences?
Michael: I would say that my biggest influences right now are Zayn, Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes.
Meaww: Any plans to tour soon?
Michael: Trying! But no concrete plans just yet.
Meaww: What’s next for Michael Mancuso?
Michael: The music video for 'Give It To Me' will be premiering May 18th exclusively on Popdust.com! After that, my next single will be released in the next 3 or 4 months. If you want to be kept up to date, follow me on Instagram @michaelmancusomusic or sign up for my mailing list at www.michaelmancusoofficial.com!