During this pandemic and the subsequent quarantining, it would easy to live in the dread of what’s changed, what’s missing, what we cannot do, and all the places we can’t go. The unfortunate thing about that is we could easily miss opportunities to celebrate the people and success in our lives. I am so happy to be able to share the good news on Billboard this week.
It has been months since Paula Atherton and I co-wrote, “Can You Feel It.” I was so happy to call and congratulate her when it hit #1 on Billboard’s chart. And I’m beyond excited for Paula that it’s still at #1 three weeks later.
At the end of 2019, while I was getting my brain around relocating, I was also producing Will Donato’s single, “You Got This.” I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a song jump from #23 to #12 in one week, until now! There are no words for how happy I am for Will.
Finally, I get to celebrate my latest single, “Twinkle” featuring Darrell Crooks. Taking on a remake of a classic by one of my favorites, Earl Klugh, well, the word intimidating comes to mind. There’s that fine line between honoring the original while still adding a personal touch. I’d like to think I was successful in doing both. I’m pleased and humbled that people are enjoying it.
Even with everything going on in the world today, we can challenge ourselves to be intentional about finding things and people to celebrate. There’s no better time to show appreciation, demonstrate support, and celebrate successes happening all around us.
I’ve been in the music industry for more than 30-years. It’s been a long and winding road from the wide-eyed and slightly frightened student who entered Berklee College of Music. What a blessing that I get to travel the world doing what I love. These days, we are all monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Like you, I have family and friends living in places around the world. Many countries and cities around the world featured in the COVID-19 updates remind me of places I’ve played. People I’ve played with, and fans I’ve met come to mind. Now, I’m venturing out to meet you on Facebook Live!
Like you, I have day-to-day concerns like the money I won’t make as a result of several months’ worth of gigs being canceled abruptly. Just two days ago, I canceled a studio session happening 90-minutes away from home because what used to be a routine and welcomed opportunity now posed an unnecessary health risk. And, like you, no matter how crazy it may seem that this has become the case – I am counting rolls of toilet paper and wishing I had jumped on the “stockpile it at all cost” bandwagon!
Find the Laughter
These days could easily bring on bouts of fear due to the uncertainty we’re experiencing. Be sure to look for the situations that bring laughter, the opportunities to share joy, and the moments that remind you, this too shall pass. We have to believe that we are going to get through this. As we adjust to being house-bound and navigating social distancing when we do venture out, we challenge ourselves to find ways to maintain connection.
Interacting with each other is vital. This weekend, I’m going to stretch myself by doing something I’ve never done. I’m hosting my first Facebook live session. I’ll be playing a few songs and showing you around my new studio. I also have a special downloadable gift to say, “Thank you” for supporting me and my music all these years.
The Pandemic Affect
If you aren’t able to make it to my live event, please check back to catch the replay. Join me at 10am PST on Facebook @OfficialGregManningMusic. In the meantime, stay safe, be well, and be encouraged because we’re in this together.
As a 12-year old kid living in a small town in Switzerland, I had just about no interest in music until the day I heard Stevie Wonder sing, “Isn’t She Lovely.”
I remember was thinking, “What is this!? What am I hearing?” All I knew was, everything I was hearing grabbed me and spoke to me like nothing I’d ever heard before and I wanted more. More Stevie, more of whatever this was I was experiencing. So, like hundreds of thousands of people around the world, I got my copy of Songs in the Key of Life. I listened intently. I listened over and over and over again. I started imitating what I was hearing. Without a doubt, I know that it was listening to Songs in the Key of Life that birthed my first attempts at composing music.
First Piano, First Lessons
I remained self-taught for several years. Thankfully, my parents acknowledged my passion and encouraged me to pursue my passion. First, they bought me a Fender Rhodes piano. The same one you see in the picture with my original Stevie Wonder sticker still stuck on it! Then, they enrolled me in classical piano lessons. Their support and my dedication paid off, and I ended up being accepted into the Berklee College of Music. It was a long road and a long way from the small town of Weiningen, where I grew up, and it started with one song.
To this day, Stevie Wonder is still an inspiration, and Songs in the Key of Life remains my all-time favorite album. And, I can claim “Isn’t She Lovely” as my first musical love. It is amazing how one moment, one song, became a defining moment in my life.
If you’re a parent . . . please encourage your children to honor what speaks to them. If you’re an adult, give the child in you permission to do the same.