After falling into an accidental love affair with music, singer Michael Mancuso honed his musical ambitions in his college a cappella group. Despite finding his sound, Mancuso was less successful in his dating life. He confided in co-writer/producer Dan Whittemore about his dry spell and his sexy new single “Give It to Me” was born. While a little sheepish about using his (temporary) lack of luck with the ladies as creative inspiration, Mancuso has enjoyed watching the song resonate with fans and takes pride in being bold enough to be honest about his deeper thoughts and desires. The song boosted his self-confidence – and women have definitely taken notice.
Cliché: How did your love affair with music start?
Michael Mancuso: I would say it started completely by accident. I was in first grade and my mom took me to see one of her friend’s children perform on stage. After that show, I went from playing sports year-round to taking singing and acting lessons!
In college, you were in USC’s famed a cappella group, The SoCal VoCals. Was that your first experience performing? How did your time in the group further influence your passion to become a musician?
My first experience performing with The SoCal VoCals was awesome. Right after I was accepted into the group, we left to tour Florida! We did performances between Orlando and Miami over the course of a week, and it really helped me bond with everyone.
I would say that I am where I am today because of my time in The SoCal VoCals. Both the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had as a result of being a member have heavily influenced my sound and style. Everyone in the group is so incredibly talented, and is so relentlessly pursuing their passions, that you can’t help but be caught up in their future-focused energy.
Describe how you discovered your unique sound as an artist.
Time and patience. I would say that it took over a year of continuous writing to uncover my sound and style. Truth be told, I’m still discovering it! Every song feels more authentic than the last, which is very exciting and is part of what motivates me to keep pushing to create new content.
What attracts you to pop music as a genre?
I’ve always been a consumer of pop. I enjoy writing songs that make people feel good while simultaneously addressing “mainstream” topics. I also like that pop moves quickly, so you have to constantly push yourself to stay relevant.
You describe your music as a mix of Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, DNCE and Ariana Grande. Which elements of each artist would you say that you incorporate into your sound? How do you straddle the line between fusing aspects from others while building your own unique signature style?
I look to Ariana Grande for production inspiration and Justin Bieber for song form/production. I look to Nick Jonas for melodies/stage presence/overall aesthetic, and I look to DNCE for vibe and energy! I would say that the way artists take notes from the people or groups that inspire them is a key part of each artists individuality. That individuality lends itself to each artists unique signature in the music industry!
Let’s talk your new single, “Give It to Me.” What led up to its creation?
I was going through a “dry spell” as some would say. It had been a long time since the last time I had met anyone new, and I decided to tell my co-writer/producer Dan Whittemore about it. Next thing I know, we’re sitting down for a writing session and he jokingly throws out that we should write a song about my lack of success with the ladies over the last few weeks! I went along with it, thinking that I’d never release a song about something so embarrassing…but here we are!
On a related note, your work has acquired a sexier edge. What prompted this new chapter in your career?
I think it has just been the natural flow of my career. I became more comfortable with myself as a writer which helped me get more comfortable in my own skin. I’m no longer afraid to say things that I know other people can relate to…even if they might not like to admit it in this case!
Is there a topic you’d like to cover in your music that you haven’t gotten a chance to explore yet?
Heartbreak. I have always been the one to end the relationships I’ve had in my life. Only recently was I on the other end of the rope, and I was fascinated by how much different it felt. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll be able to get out of this new experience.
Has your love life improved since recording “Give It to Me”?
Thankfully, it has! I think that performing the song has helped me find some self confidence, and it’s important to remember that confidence is something that a lot of people look for!
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Michael Mancuso Wants You to Give It to Him. Photo Credit: Monty Limon.