Jessica Manning is an alternative-R&B artist from Minneapolis, MN. She draws influence from pop, soul, and electronic music by artists such as Frank Ocean, Little Dragon, and Kevin Garrett. Her sound incorporates electronic drums and synthesizers to create an atmosphere that her soulful melodies, rich vocals, and thoughtful lyrics soar high above.
Jessica was born in Stockholm, Sweden where she spent six years of her childhood, before moving to Minneapolis. As the daughter of a soul-singing father, she grew a love for music and performing at an early age, memorizing broadway show tunes and performing them in the comfort of her bedroom mirror. At age 15, Jessica began teaching herself to play guitar out of the desire to write her own songs, and quickly began posting covers and the occasional original on YouTube.
Jessica moved to New York City in 2011 to attend Parsons School of Design at The New School, studying fashion management, another passion of hers. After one year of schooling, and a quick realization that she couldn’t afford to return in the Fall, she had no choice but to move home to Minneapolis. It was then that she confronted her fear of failure and decided to fully pursue a career in music. She continued writing and sharing covers on Youtube, and eventually gained some momentum. One such cover, originally written by artist/guitarist Justin Young (Colbie Caillat), allowed her to record her self-titled debut EP with him in Los Angeles, released in early 2013.
Soon after the release of her EP, Jessica met guitarist Zach Brose whom she formed a strong musical relationship with. They immediately began writing and performing often around the Twin Cities. Jessica’s musical interests and influences began to shift as she started to experiment with other instruments and sounds. Keyboards and synthesizers replaced acoustic guitars, and electronic drums and samples sat at the forefront of her music. She found this new musical landscape allowed her to better tell her stories and to share the intricacies of her experience in a deeply healing way. This lead to the desire to record her first full length album.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, she recorded What If I Run, with producer Brett Bullion in Minneapolis in early 2016. The first single, Red Birds, debuted on 89.3 The Current, a sector of Minnesota Public Radio in November 2016. In January 2017, hip-hop blog Okayplayer premiered Jessica’s music video for her song Homestead. The full album was released in February 2017.
"Listen to this crystal clear, healing and uplifting track + allow 'Homestead' to draw you in by pressing play."
What If I Run, is a true representation of who and where Jessica is today. The sounds and songs are all in line with what she was searching for since recording her EP four years ago. She speaks of the many financial and medical struggles her family has faced. About the deaths of three grandparents over the course of four years, and the ongoing efforts of a friend working hard to rediscover her worth after a chain of traumatizing circumstances. These songs taught Jessica the beauty of honesty and what it means to be proud of where you came from.
“The moment when you feel the audience shift, as every mind goes in a different direction. When each person is becoming vulnerable within the song in a way that only makes sense to them. Those healing moments. That is what drew me in.”
- Jessica Manning
“Oh those vocals. I could listen all day to her rich, soulful, and clear tones. Her words speak of a wisdom far beyond her years, but her ego does not follow. Elements of soul, as well as a floating atmosphere… weave themselves together to create a modern sense of soul: the perfect soundtrack for sunrise or sunset.”
–Kelsey Simpkins (Sofar Sounds)