Name: Faith Manning
City/Location: Bellevue, Washington
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m fifteen years old, and I am the youngest and the only girl in a family of six (well, my mom, but she doesn’t count). I love reading, writing, learning new things, and making music with my family.
What led you to your interest in music and performing?
I’m not entirely sure… it’s been a while since I started. I think my first performing experience was when my family and I were professional pirate reenactors. It so happened that my dad has a nice voice, so the crew that we were in at the time assigned him as the shanty man. From there, he dragged us into it with him, and for a good three years, we were constantly singing sea shanties, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining people. All in all, it was a blast, but as Aj (my 13-year-old brother) and I became teenagers, and Eli (my 17-year-old brother) went into his rebellious-teenager-arrrrrg-I hate-dad phase, interests changed in the family, and the pirate crew split up.
Did you have any other experiences or impressions that led you to it?
I recall what really started my ukulele playing (my main instrument). You have to understand, my brother Aj and I have a pretty serious sibling rivalry, always have, and always will. When my dad brought home a ukulele one day, I picked it up for a little while, learned a few chords, and satisfied, went outside to play. A few hours later, when I came back in, Aj had picked up the uke, learned more chords than me, and was actually playing a song. I was jealous, and from then on, I’ve always made sure I was better than him on the uke.
What special strengths/skills do you have that have helped you to develop your talents?
It certainly helps that I learn quickly. I pick up instruments extremely fast, and that’s been one big thing that people have noticed about me on stage–I’m constantly switching instruments with my siblings, especially with Logan (my oldest brother who is 22 years old).
Who has supported you in your goals?
My whole family has always been super supportive of me and has always pushed me and encouraged me throughout my life. My dad especially–he’s my coach as well. My mother, bless her heart, is the band’s manager. She puts up with four loud, messy, energetic teenagers (yes, even the 21 and 22 year olds), and is still willing to bring us food at any odd hour, run home for missing equipment, and remind Aj to brush his hair.
Which aspects of performing have you found most challenging?
Initially? It was moving around on stage. If you watch anybody famous when they perform, they’re ALWAYS moving, whether it be bobbing their head, swaying their hips, or full out dancing, you can’t seem to tear your eyes away from them.
But consider the other way around–recently I was watching a mediocre blues band, and not a single one of them was moving. The main singer looked like a corpse at the microphone, the bassist looked like he was about to fall asleep, and the guitarist looked slightly scared. Honestly, the only interesting person to watch was the drummer. I’ve worked hard on this, and now it just comes naturally. I find it hard not to move to the beat, and people are constantly laughing at my antics on stage.
Recently the hardest part has been expressing the emotions in the song I’m singing through my voice and face. It’s harder than you’d think.
Which aspects of performing have been the most rewarding?
Playing with other people, for sure. It’s not quite the same, playing a song by yourself. When you’re playing with other people, you’re forced to learn in a group, and there’s this amazing feeling that happens as well… probably the same feeling that a lot of people get from playing team sports, but I wouldn’t know. I don’t generally play sports.
Another huge thing for me is the adrenaline that comes along with performing. You step on stage, do your stuff, love the process, and at the end of the song or show, and everyone is cheering, there’s this huge adrenaline rush at the very end, and you feel like you could keep smiling forever.
What have you learned about yourself?
I’ve learned that I am not a very patient person…at least with for people whom I have high expectations.
I also learned that when adults watch kids perform, they don’t want to see angst. They want to see that you know how to have fun, that you can still be a kid and be innocent and be all that they can’t be anymore.
So I’ve learned how to be a kid on stage! Although, honestly, immature and energetic is my default personality, soooooo…
Do you have plans for schooling or employment?
I wanna be in a band! I like the idea of a traveling/touring band, but I have a feeling it won’t be as great as it sounds… as far as education, I want to go to college, but I don’t know where yet.
What are your biggest dreams regarding school/employment?
Getting famous…. Yeeeeah that’s about it 😛
Just kidding, just kidding. I used to really want that… recently though I’ve been focusing a lot on improving my skills, and having really focused on the “famous” factor.
I really want to be able to sell my own songs. I can make the music, and I can sing the song, but I’ve never been able to write one. And I want there to be a day when I can, and that my songs are good enough that I can sell them to a large audience.
Any other thoughts or advice would you give to young women?
(Brace yourselves, everybody.)
Respect yourself. Above everything else, respect yourself. Don’t let yourself be pushed around, stand up for yourself, and I guarantee, it’ll make you a happier, healthier person. People will notice, and they’ll respect you for it, and, ya know, some folks really like that…
Do what makes you happy, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the people around you. Chances are, it’ll make someone else happy too 🙂
Be honest! One of the key components (if not THE key component) of the healthiest relationships, be it platonic or romantic, is honesty. You don’t like that someone says or does something? Point it out. And don’t hold a grudge, or get mad… as long as they respect that you don’t like what they’re doing, things should go well between you two.
And please, don’t take this as gospel… I’m just a random 15-year-old girl who has a little experience. Figure stuff out for yourself!
And HAVE FUN!!!