You can find talent in the simplest places. Walk into a coffee shop, diner or restaurant, and you’ll find that the waiter on the night shift, is actually a star in the making. A paper boy, who is oblivious to his own talent, may very well be the next big thing; a 15-year-old girl in her mother’s kitchen, just may be the next Mariah Carey and a boy sitting in a barber’s chair, may very well be on his way to the top of the charts, in the next few years.
One can find talent in the most unlikely places. In 2015, Manasseh Stanislaus piqued the interest of many, after his barber (Lindon ‘Bal’ Thompson) shared a clip of the teen singing on Facebook. Manasseh never guessed that he would become a viral Facebook sensation shortly after.
“I was cutting my hair and my favourite adwas playing on TV at the time; I was singing along with it and my barber paused; it was only when I finished I noticed he was staring at me awe-struck,” he said in an interview with YO! last week Friday.
The barber urged then 14-year-old Manasseh to sing on camera.
He continued: “I was a little shy back then, but I was willing to participate.When he made me cover a John Legend song, the first video which I ever posted on social media, my parents kept getting phone calls from numerous individuals days later—people were looking for me for gigs and interviews and were wondering where this young boy came from.”
To date, the ‘Ordinary People’ cover has garnered 26, 000 views on the barber’s Facebook page.
Now the winner of the ‘Arthur Allain Challenge’—a Facebook singing competition which gave singers across the island a chance to shine—Manasseh, soon, will be releasing his first official single.
The challenge took social media by storm. What started off on a small scale, grew tremendously in days; many individuals and companies teamed up with the five time Groovy Monarch to make the Arthur Allain Challenge an irresistible one.
According to Arthur, the initiative was sparked by “a want to contribute as a leading member in the music fraternity.”
Manasseh now has opportunities others can only dream of. The winner walked away with a number of prizes namely: a recording session with Arthur Allain of Major Records SLU, a song produced by Johann ‘Yogi’ Deterville (engineered by Yannick Plante of Minor Productionz), a music video shot by Kiedel Sonny Films, a photo shoot with Wavemaker Photography, studio equipment from Rafique Alexis (microphone, interface and headphones), a three piece mic set from RadioShak, a free merch package from Button Up SLU, a scholarship at the St Lucia School of Music to study music theory, compliments Danyl Daniel of F.A.C.E Media Productions, and a YO! Magazine cover page feature.
There were a number of entries and amongst them were some of the island’s most talented singers. Facebook users voted for their favourite contestants by clicking the ‘like’ or ‘react’ button, which would show their stamp of approval. Manasseh’s submission—‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran—amassed over 3000 votes, over 35, 000 views and over 500 shares online.
His singing was effortless—there was no need for exaggerated runs, or over the top whistling. Even a hum, was spectacular.
“I entered the competition because I like what I do; it’s what I’m strong at. I did not know I would emerge victorious honestly. I posted the video and surprisingly the votes just kept piling up and I won,” he shared.
He has a strong music background. The singer was a member of both his primary school (Bouton RC Combined School) and secondary school (Soufriere Secondary School) choir. He was a lead vocalist in the S.S.S choir and there his talent was nurtured by then music teacher Christopher Fevrier.
According to Manasseh, “When I entered the school in form one, I was still in my shell. Mr. Fevrier heard me singing and encouraged me to join the choir.”
He has participated in a number of singing competitions and was even coached by Arthur in the past.
“Arthur himself groomed me for a competition in 2017, (Talent 758); he groomed us (Manasseh and peers) vocally, gave us some training tips, etc. It’s been a long work in progress with him and my music teacher at the time, Mr. Reds Berrance and all those who’ve impacted my life,” the young singer said.
He added: “Arthur noticed my talent when I was nine in my cousin’s backyard.”
The singer was blown away by Manasseh’s talent.
“After that we’ve had our interactions, got to smooth things out and get some training involved,” he said.
His dad, too, recognized his son was immensely talented at a tender age. After he heard his son singing at only two years old, he eagerly shared the news with Manasseh’s mom.
“One day my mom heard it for herself and that’s how it all began; they started pushing me into church events; my aunt came on board as well because she has a passion for singing. She put me out there as I was shy. After a few years of exposure I got accustomed to singing in church, then at school in choir festivals,” the first ever Arthur Allain Challenge winner stated.
A second year engineering student at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, (SALCC), Manasseh shared that he also hopes to take his love for the subject to a next level.
Says Manasseh, “I would like to pursue Construction Engineering as a career: building designing. I like looking at the interior works of buildings and how they are structured andthe way they look outside.”
BornJuly 21, 2001, Manasseh who hails from Soufriere, has a lot more in store.
He encourages fellow singers to practice constantly and to “listen to people around you when they give you their views; use it as a motivator and not a depressant, because when you let negative energies depress you,you end up not doing your passion to the best of your ability.”
Singers, another round of the Arthur Allain Challenge is coming your way soon! Follow @ArthurAllain on Facebook for more info!