Maneka's debut LP is a release that attempts to encapsulate the experience of one of the more distinct and multifaceted performers currently making guitar music. That experience is a deep and varied one, and one that is influenced by McKnight’s unique cultural background in a number of ways. Raised in the DC area to a black father and a mother of Chinese and Pakistani descent, McKnight first fell in love with rap and hip hop in his early teens, but was influenced by his older brother, a fan of early ‘90s rock bands like Sonic Youth and Nirvana, and his father’s passion for jazz guitar playing, which McKnight went on to study at Berklee School of Music in Boston. His interests have remained omnivorous leading him to explore as many styles of music.
“Jumping around between genres and styles and claiming a different kind of voice, taking these liberties, I was uncomfortable about that,” says McKnight. “A friend of mine convinced me that being able to show those different sides and take on those different voices is a good thing, he convinced me that I should celebrate that. He said ‘that’s the beauty of being you. The beauty of being you is that you don’t fit the package."
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