At the age of 10, I became intrigued by the sound of the guitar. I saw my mother playing the acoustic guitar in our little apartment in Corona, CA and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Eventually, I saved up and bought my own guitar. It was twice my size. I played that guitar for hours and hours until my fingers calloused, learning all the chords I could.
Throughout my teen years, I battled with my sexuality and self love. I was this tiny 4’11 Filipina girl that couldn’t speak or sing on the mic even if I wanted to. I’d shake at the thought of performing for 5 people, let alone for 1 person; I was so scared of what everyone would think of me.
At 15, I found myself being attracted to women. These feelings terrified me and I tried to hide them. I didn’t know who I was and didn’t feel very confident. On top of that, my family wasn’t the most accepting at the time, diminishing my sense of self worth.
It wasn’t until I started college in 2011 when I decided to give the mic a real shot. I discovered an open mic in Downtown Las Vegas called the Human Experience. For two years straight, I was dedicated to going every Monday night. The community here was so supportive and loving -- no one cared if you were straight, gay, Asian, black, or blue. This was the beginning of my shift to self love.
After my shaky first attempt on the mic, it got easier and easier. The crowd loved my music. In turn, I started to believe in myself and my confidence was boosting. I gained a lot of traction at the Human Experience and began getting booked left and right by numerous venues in Las Vegas.
At the age of 21, I quit my full time barista job and ventured into being a full-time artist. By then, I didn’t care so much about what other people thought of me. I openly had my first girlfriend and was singing my butt off anywhere I could. Eventually, I started touring and opened for some artists I thought I’d never share the stage with, such as Allen Stone, Bruno Major, JMSN, and Lawrence Taylor.
I was in shock when I got the call to headline the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas and the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. By becoming comfortable in my own skin, and by honing my craft, I was making my dreams come true.
In early 2019, I moved to Portland, Oregon leaving everything I knew to experience a different world. I wanted to challenge myself even more as an independent, original artist. I have never felt stronger and have never loved myself more. Even my family has come to accept me for who I am which shows me that the power of love is stronger than anything.
The opinions of others have no control over you unless you give them control -- what really matters is what you think of yourself. I believe that you can manifest anything into your life if you commit to it. With the power of your mind and taking action, anything is possible.
"Times Are Changing"
LIVE NPR Tiny Desk Contest Submission 2019
"Far Away From Home"
Official Music Video
Las Vegas, NV
LIVE at 11th St. Records
"On My Way"
LIVE Sofar Sounds Las Vegas
LIVE at Naked City Audio
LIVE at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
LIVE in Las Vegas Farewell Show
general and booking inquiries
Jessica Manalo Copyright 2020