By Oluwatomike Adeboyejo
As Mannywellz band members began to slowly walk on stage, one by one, the crowd immediately became restless.
Within seconds audience members pushed their way to the front as they waited for the headliner of the evening. As some screamed in anticipation for his appearance, others began to chant his name.
“When Mannywellz came out the entire mood changed, the atmosphere went from suspense to exhilarating,” said senior bioengineering major Faderera Aromolaran. “When the lights dim everyone already knew something was about to happen. He popped out from the [left] side of the stage and then the crowd went up in an uproar. He immediately went into the first song and then introduced himself. By this time everyone was ecstatic.”
Mannywellz performed at Union Stage in Washington D.C. March 6. This performance was the first show he headlined since the start of his career in 2009. He sung several songs from his new album “SoulFro,” which was released earlier this year. He also sung his latest single “American Dream,” which revealed the hardships he has faced as an undocumented immigrant in America.
“I was nine years old when I came to America … I didn’t know anything and came to a brand new country,” Mannywellz said. “When we got here, everything was sweet until I had to get my permit. I saw all my friends were getting their permits, but I couldn’t do the same thing. It’s not easy. I felt left out … I was brought to America to live the American dream, but what is the American dream? They are trying to send me back. I’m a DACA recipient, but they want to send me back.”
Mannywellz’s soulful, yet funky voice woke the crowd up to the reality of his life. The genreless artist spoke of his life challenges by combining different elements of music together to highlight one overall message, which was the importance of people loving each other regardless of race and being accountable for another.
He innovatively used different elements of country, rock, pop, R&B and Afrobeats to create a new fusion of music. Throughout the show he spoke in a Nigerian accent to emphasize different cultural elements that have influenced his music.
“The power of the artist made this so emotional, it made it such a moving experience,” Aromolaran said. “His music had elements of gospel, rock, R&B and he rapped at one point. It was very diverse, but [there] was still one message. There] was one holistic coherent message even though he mixed everything together. It was unexplainable, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Over 300 people attended the concert. It drew in students from this university and surrounding universities such as Howard, Morgan State, Towson, the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Bowie State.
“[Being here] feels like being a part of the beginning, the beginning of an era. The beginning of something bigger than we can fathom,” said Breion Goodson, a representative of The Guild, a College Park based multimedia conglomerate. “I can see him being on a major stage as a major artist one day and just being in the spotlight. Being here is like being in the genesis of something great.”
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of LeanVision.
Oluwatomike Adeboyejo is a junior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.