Exclusive Special Interview: Khan Manuel

theaussieword.com meets with Khan Manuel for an exclusive interview.

What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin?
Hi Brian! Well, I guess it all began from a very early age. I would constantly listen to music on headphones through our stereo system. I listened mainly to my parents collection ranging from – Joe Cocker, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Hendrix, George Benson, Gary Moore, etc, it was a very broad range of music. I would also listen to my Sisters collection which was the 80s Rock groups like Guns n roses and my brother liked Heavy metal at the time so Metallica and Iron Maiden and he also liked Reggae, so of course Bob Marley. So I had a very diverse range to choose from which was great!

What had you first interested in music?
Ive always loved music as far as I can remember, but in terms of playing an instrument, my dad was always playing an acoustic guitar in the front room, gosh I still remember that guitar, the strings were about an inch off the fretboard and my hands used to hurt heaps!! So my dad taught me a few things…then I started playing his George Benson albums on vinal and tried to learn them by ear, but id hear dad in the next room yelling out – ‘No its not right’ haha it was never right !!

Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music?
I think its a combination of a lot of things. When I hear a great tune, that inspires me sometimes. I do love great guitar playing, but Im more of a fan of great composition! Theres too many tunes to mention, but I remember I heard that Shania Twain song ‘From This Moment’ and thought man thats great! I dont really listen to lyrics for some reason, I just listen to how the music makes me ‘feel’. So when I hear a tune that I like, ill disect it. With that song, one of the main things were the harmonies. Ive always had a facination for great harmonies, straight 3rds can be boring sometimes.. I like contrary motion, and counterpoint. But because I dont read music, I just use my ear so they jump around a lot sometimes, but hopefully work ok! Also theres always something inside.. its guiding it out that can be a challenge sometimes!

Do you have any planned tours coming up?
It is planned for beginning of April – November for Australia and New Zealand. The New Zealand leg is pretty much organized, however there is a chance that I will be in the U.S, so it is not certain whether it will proceed as planned. I am hoping that we can squeeze a few shows in, but there are a few things on the plate at the moment so unfortunately I cant put anything in concrete yet.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
We shall see 🙂 Im not really one to say.. I work towards them and once accomplished, then its cool to see! In saying that I certainly do have big goals!

What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
A heap of maketing is just about to start for the new album ‘The Message’ so hopefully shows as stated above, I am so looking forward to performing the new music! Clinics are booked as well, and also 2 more music videos for songs from The Message.

Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Some career highlights so far have been playing and recording with some of my childhood heroes, Frank Gambale, Nuno Bettencourt.. being recognized by Eric Johnson, Jason Becker, who are giants in the guitar world, and other great new players from around the world. I receive a lot of emails and feedback about some of my songs/albums and thats always a great feeling! Having some of Australia’s finest musicians – Gordon Rhytmeister on Drums and Mark Costa  on bass for the new album was great! Those guys are brilliant musos! Sean Carey ex Thirsty Merc and Saints guitarist mixed the album, and brought his experience to the plate, and Kathy Naunton who mastered it, she is awesome! I dont think I can put it down to one specific thing, its really an accumulation of a lot of different things.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Lady Gaga, Pink, Beyonce, Usher, … these are the typical pop stars that everyone knows but they are brilliant artists, and I appreciate their shows and their talent!

How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
My music is a very small niche.. but still has a very big fanbase. Basically its guitarheads that follow this style, however I try to write for the wider audience, so hopefully that comes through in the music!

What can you tell us about your latest album?
On the technical side, I tried to incorporate all the styles that I know. Theres such a wide range on there – from Spanish Flamenco, Metal, Rock, Jazz fusion, Blues, and acoustic fingerstyle. I guess theres something for everyone on there. Its very interesting because the songs that I thought would hopefully shine through didnt have the same effect on some people.. they tended to like songs that I thought wouldnt be the most popular on the album.. but thats music for you!

Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
Yes I am currently planning to intergrate an online Guitar University which will be fun! I have also been thinking for a while about doing a ‘Strictly Acoustic’ album, which I will make fingerstyle arrangements for popular songs. Ive done a couple already – Paparazzi (Lady Gaga) Man in the mirror (Michael Jackson) and Uptown Girl (Billy Joel). People seem to enjoy songs like this being arranged for acoustic guitar!

The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Touring the world performing!

Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
Guitarists – Tommy Emmanuel, Frank Gambale. Others – Michael Hutchense as a performer, Kylie Minogue, Empire of the sun, Guy Sebastian, and many more! Theres so many great aussie artists! Really too many to mention!

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Well, the internet has helped a heck of a lot in my opinion ‘But’ because anyone can put their stuff up, theres probably too much to choose from. But hey at the end of the day if its good its good, so I am all for social media etc to help get it out there. I think the main thing to do though is to play live and tour along with the social media interaction, thats a key.

Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of theaussieword.com with here today?
Have a great day!

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