Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Latin pop star Manuel Cuevas sounds off

By day, Manuel Cuevas is a student in the Douglas College Music Program. By night, he’s MANN, “one of the most promising new Mexican indie artists,” as described by Radio Mexiquense. A Latin pop sensation with two albums (his third, Ecstacy, will be released next year) and a number one single under his belt. Manuel managed to take time out of his hectic schedule to riff on life at Douglas.

Program and graduating class

Basic Musicianship, 2010

Current job 

Recording artist

Career goals

Performing for big audiences and touring around the world

Personal goals

Continue developing my creativity

Role model

Juanes, a great Latin American artist

Favourite musicians 

Jamie Cullum, Café Tacvba, Saul Williams, Incubus, etc.

Instrument of choice 


Pre-performance rituals or superstitions

None, really. I’m usually trying to design a last-minute funny thing to do for each show, such as wear an “I’m Big in Japan” shirt, or do a robot dance. To me the main thing is to have fun on stage. That’s why I do it.

Why I chose the Douglas Music Program

After I got signed back in 2007, I realized that I needed more musical preparation. I believe that if you want to be taken seriously as an artist you need to study. That’s why I came to Douglas.

The hardest thing about going to college

For me it was a big change. I started not too long after releasing my second album, so it was hard to balance work with school. Also it is completely different to sit in a classroom and learn about music than to actually perform on stage.

The best thing about college

I learned not only to read and appreciate music on a different level, but also to enjoy it even more. Also, I love having all kinds of musicians in a classroom; it definitely broadens your horizons.

The craziest moment I’ve had in class

I believe it was when Doug Smith, our Theory teacher, played “Happy Birthday” in a minor scale for my birthday.

My best instructor

They’re all great, and it’s extremely hard to pick! But I believe the two best teachers I had were Doug Smith and Eric Hannan. Doug is an extraordinary teacher; he has the ability to make you forget you’re in a classroom. On the other hand, it was a privilege to be taught by Eric. He’s talented, honest and knows how to work with your voice to take the best out of you.

The most important thing I learned in college

Discipline. My great teacher John Glofcheskie always said that the secret to be a good musician is practice.

The most important thing I learned on the job

There’s no reason to be afraid. This is the life you have and you can’t let fear stop you from doing what you love. That’s very important when you finish school. Follow your instincts and pick a job that will make you happy. The rest will come after.

Follow Manuel on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and on his website.