“It worked. Everything we did worked”. Those are the words of one of South Africa’s latest musicians to receive a Certified Gold Plaque from The Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) for his hit single, ‘Nalingi’, which took South Africa by storm in 2018.
When Manu Worldstar was working on his single, neither he nor anyone at Punchline Media – a boutique entertainment and media company that specialises in artist management, visual curation and creative strategy – expected the single to hit all the airwaves of South Africa. Everyone was singing along to the catchy tune.
The young musician, Emmanuel Mutendji (23), born in Johannesburg and of Congolese descent has made a name for himself. Growing up in the ‘City of Gold’ was fun, yet complex for Manu. “My childhood was pretty cool. I liked playing outside and stuff. But I also enjoyed my personal space. Yeah, I was pretty weird like that,” says Manu.
Being a South African with Congolese parents was the complex side of growing up for Manu, “It was also a little confusing for me. Simply because I was too foreign for the South African kids and too South African for the foreign kids (he laughs out loud). But I eventually found a dope medium”.
The medium that he was able to find was singing about his life experience; in the full colours that it came with “My life is the inspiration behind my music. The struggles I’ve been through, my relationship with my family, my love life. All these things fuel the inspiration to my music”.
Although he is a well-known musician, Manu feels that emerging artists biggest challenge is always having to prove themselves. “Proving my worth is something I must deal with every day. I feel like other artists must deal with it too”.
Not one to rest on his laurels and picking up from the success of his single, Manu Worldstar is looking to keep the momentum going as he recently released his latest EP titled ‘African Story EP’.
“I’m an artist. My job will be to always find moments and create great music from them. Yes, Nalingi did amazing, but it doesn’t stop there. I have a new EP that’s out and I am looking to get music lovers to vibe on that and I also have more that I am looking at working on,” says a motivated Manu.
Speaking on the manner in which he and Punchline Media approached his latest EP, Manu says, “I’d like to think that I’m a hybrid artist – my team knows that too. So, we really just let the music speak. I have a whole lot of music that sounds different, but they’re all great music. That’s all that matters”.
Being a part of a young and ambitious stable who have on their books the likes of D.EE XCLSV, Luna Florentino and Tony X keeps Manu Worldstar hungry for more success and keeps the team finding new and creative ways to make their music stand out.
“Man, Punchline is my family. We’re just a bunch of young creatives trying to push one mission because we all have one vision”. He goes on to say “I would say have a team that is as hard-working and dedicated as you are. No one man has ever had all the power”.
An artist who believes in keeping those you love very close, Manu shares a very tight relationship with his mother, who is often at most of his shows and industry events. “My mother is everything to me. I’d like to provide the world to her because that’s what she deserves. One day I’ll tell the story – the reason why my mother and I will have an unbreakable bond forever”.
When asked about what the future holds for him, Manu smiles with great excitement and says, “Next year will see the release of my debut album, everything around it is hush-hush at the moment, however, it’s going to be amazing and if you enjoying my EP at the moment, you will love the album”.