A Montreal native singing country music out of Nashville seems like a far fetched origin story, but for Manny Blu, his Canadian roots mixed with his love for Nashville resulted in his success on the country music scene. Blu is a breakthrough country artist coming to Brock University this fall. Brock students got to experience this Canadian talent first hand, as Blu performed during Brock’s Welcome Week on September 2, 2019. He performed songs from his debut album Leave It Like It Is, which features seven distinctive songs that showcase his upbeat style. He’ll be back for Brock’s Country Night on October 3, 2019.
Leave It Like It Is is a testament to Blu’s love of performing and creating relevant, fresh country music. Blu says that the inspiration for this album was found in his love for singing live and creating music that his friends wanted to hear. Blu claims each of the songs were inspired by the music Blu and his friends were listening to at the time, as well as his desire to have fun playing the songs live.
This inspiration is evident in the 24-year-old’s album as it is laid back, down to earth and relatable to listeners in their early 20s. Although Blu’s music appeals to the masses, his story is far from average.
Blu’s music had humble beginnings.
“My buddies who were playing hockey, whether it was Nova Scotia or someplace in Southern Ontario, they all came back with country playlists and that was how it all started,” said Blu.
Blu says playing music with his friends and drawing inspiration from different artists during hockey’s offseason was the beginning of his country music career.
After getting over the tough early stages in the music industry, Blu took his passion and career to the next level and began recording out of Music City. Despite his Canadian roots, the Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee was where his career and passion for country music accelerated.
“The experience of being in such a high level studio, such as Blackbird, with high level session players was one hell of a learning experience.”
Blu’s access to high level session musicians in a renowned studio added a polished sound to his music. Outside of the studio Blu fell in love with the culture of Nashville. Blu adamantly expresses his love for southern living, claiming, “Nashville really is home.”
“It’s such a different vibe and a different culture, especially coming from Quebec. I mean, Quebec, we have our own way of doing things. So, especially [going to] the southern states was a bit of a shock, but something I was really happy to know and really happy to see.”
Nashville is where Blu was exposed to the diversity of country music and the mixture of genres to create unique sounds. Blu’s inspirations changed and the diversity of influences boomed, expanding from party country music like Thomas Rhett to artists like Jason Aldean.
“Jason Aldean is a huge influence for me in country music, I think having been down there in Nashville inspirations change up a bit — you go down there and you see how much diversity there is in just country music just as far as sounds and tones and styles.”
As advice to anyone who may want to follow in Blu’s footsteps, he claims passion and hard work are the keys to succeeding in the music industry.
“The first thing is to have a passion for it, if you want to do music you have to have a passion, because the first few stages are tough and gruelling and you kind of just grind it all out and be willing to learn and be willing to keep at it.”
From simple Canadian roots to finding success in Nashville, Blu is a relatable and inspiring musician. His music not only appeals to all the Daisy Duke going Badgers but also to anyone who likes sing-along, fun, upbeat music.