Manasseh, the singer, songwriter and native South Sider, credits the gospel soundtrack of his childhood for creating the foundation for his sprawling, kaleidoscopic sound.
In studio with his band The Fam, Manasseh says the threads of family and friends weave into the textures and layers of his psychedelic soul.
“It’s a blend of everything that I’ve come in contact with that’s inspired me. Growing up in the house where before my mother passed, it was all gospel,” Manasseh said. “I grew up in church, I’m a church boy at heart, you know, I’m pretty sure you can hear that in the music.”
The Fam comprises percussionist Brandon Cameron, bassist Lamonté Norwood, pianist Remon Sanders and vocalists Blake Davis and Lisha Denise, whom Manasseh says are “masterminds” of their respective crafts.
“I know that everybody is literally going to put their best foot forward,” he said. “They don’t exactly know where I was creating the music, but everybody resonates with it so much that they’re willing to dive into it in such a personal way, in their own way, and we bring all that together and make something new every single time.”
The layered nature of his music production means Manasseh’s live performances have a very different feel from the recorded versions – but that’s part of the experience, Manasseh says.
“I just want everybody to feel loved and I want everybody to feel lighter than they did when they came to the show, because I definitely feel that way,” he said. “When the mic is off and we’ve done our last run, Brandon’s hit the last cymbal for the night, for the set, or Remon hits the last keys, we want to feel a little freer than we did when we started.”
Manasseh and The Fam are performing at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday, Dec. 13 as part of their Soundtrack series from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free with museum admission.