Singer/songwriter John McManus has been turning heads with his poetic music and poignant lyrics. Guitar in hand, he has been gaining exposure as an expressive musician with an alternative style, desiring to share his life thoughts through music. In October of 2011 McManus signed to Los Angeles based indie label, Realize Records, to release his new CD 613.
John McManus first performed live as a musician when he started a band with some friends in high school, taking his first guitar class in his sophomore year. He continued exploring the art of writing lyrics as well, and even wrote a few songs. He graduated from Penn State planning to be a history teacher, but his new passion surpassed his original life outline. John fell in love with not only sharing the music, but seeing the way his audiences absorbed it and how it impacted them. “I love being out there with the people,” John says. “I’m not going hide behind the curtain after the performance is finished. I want to be out there in the mix, talking and hearing about people’s lives and stories. It’s just what I do.”
In 2005, John’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. After an unsuccessful operation and a tiring span of chemotherapy, she passed away in 2006. John admired his mother above anyone else and her death brewed an even more intense passion to help others in song than he previously felt. “Writing is an expression of a feeling you have---a selfish thing---but hopefully listeners can relate to it,” John says. John’s songs can almost be seen as life chapters put to music; each one echoes an emotion felt during a point in life. His motto in life, “P.M.A.” (Positive Mental Attitude), finds its way into his music, revealing how he reacts to life’s curveballs. It was that positive attitude and the songs written during that time frame in his life that would land him a recording deal. John’s song “The Platform of Our Lives” won a songwriting contest, inspiring Realize Records’ Paul Lewis to record it for his new CD which led to Lewis producing “613”.
613 is sublime collection of alternative indie rock songs that show tenderness and an awakening that can only be found from someone who has been there, done that. While traveling with a guitar on his back and a brief case full of notes, John has met and written about the people he has encountered. In the first single "Pilot Me Home" John expresses his final thought "You don’t love me baby, I love you anyway." instead of regret John just acknowledges and then moves forward. In the upbeat track, "Kansas City Girl" we can hear a 60’s pop influence that makes listeners want to hear more. Another standout track, "Rolestar" depicts the social and political issues surrounding us today and offers solutions on how we can be better people by implementing actions such as "adopt a highway, tutor for SAT’s, be a mediator, be a leader, work a soup kitchen…we got enough rock stars and famous people to fill the Grand Canyon." The title track,“613” takes us on a lyrical and musical ride with its steady beat and catchy guitar riff that sticks with you. John’s stories are real, his thoughts unbounded, as he invites us to take the trip with him.
Lewis submitted the completed recording to the label as a potential new artist. The label response was positive which landed John on the label’s roster. As John breaks into more mainstream coverage of his music, more can be expected of him. Having written hundreds of songs that slip between the fingers in years past, we anticipate the songs that John will now bring to life for us. We might even see some piano riffs and bass lines from the “Manus” himself – he’s taking lessons. You can spot him in bustling, sociable places like bars and cafes. But if he’s busy typing into his iPhone don’t distract him – he just might be storing lyrics in his notepad. With a new recording and venues stretching their necks to see what the commotion is all about, John better lace up those Converse sneakers he likes so much -- he’s got quite a ride ahead of him.