Singer-songwriter Manny Blu sets himself apart in the country music scene by mixing country sounds with pop punk elements. The Montreal, Canada native was training to be an MMA fighter when he suffered a severe injury and went looking for something else to fill the newfound void in his life.
“I looked for a new hobby or something to do while I was injured, and picked up a guitar and started playing songs for my friends,” he tells us. “They wanted me to play all of the country hits that they were listening to on their playlists and that kind of took off on its own. I was like, ‘Well I guess I’m a country artist now.’” He came to Nashville in order to record his first EP, fell in love with the city, and made the move shortly after.
Blu is inspired by the music from a variety of different artists like John Mayer, The Cadillac Three, Brantley Gilbert, Blink 182, Mod Sun, and Post Malone. He describes his own music and genre as “Country Punk” which is a derivative of country rock. In Blu’s mind, there was a gap in country music that needed to be filled and that is what he’s striving to do with his original sound. “I was born in ‘94 so growing up as a teenager in the 2000s, that’s basically the soundtrack of my teenage years, so bringing some of that back is super cool,” he says. “I don’t see why you can’t have some punk influence while also singing country music.”
So far this year, he has already released two singles. The first song, “Train,” is the epitome of the country punk sound Blu is trying to bring onto the scene. The track is vigorous and filled with distinctive drums and prominent guitars. The music video for “Train” was released about two months ago. It features clips of Blu performing on stage along with flashes of neon animation. The video itself wasn’t even planned. It happened naturally as Blu was shooting for his “Live and Turned Up” series on YouTube. He ended up loving how the footage was shot and the energy it captured so he decided to make it an official music video. “It was probably the best way to add imagery to the song,” he exclaims.
Photo Credit: Thomas Crabtree
The following single “Might As Well Lead” followed the release of “Train” and provides a stark difference from its predecessor. The song is slower in tempo and the instrumental isn’t as intense; Blu’s vocals shine brighter on the track as well. “I enjoy putting out different sounding stuff,” he says. “I think that pairing a very high-energy, kind of fun song followed by one that has a little bit more emotion and meaning was a cool way to go about it.”
For the rest of 2021, Blu plans on releasing an EP on August 20th; it was a project he put together and recorded over the pandemic. He also plans to create content for fans and do some touring.