My Music. My Story. Manon Voice.
“Music helps me hear myself being alive in the world.” For this My Music. My Story., Classical Music Indy sat down with Manon Voice, who has become a trusted voice in the arts and activism community.
Words by Auboni Hart
Describing herself as kind, passionate, and contemplative, Manon Voice is an influential and integral part of the fabric of Indianapolis’ art scene. She rocks a slew of fedoras that match her fly; but, every hat is styled with the grace of music. On stage, she is a poet, spoken-word artist, and emcee sharing her peace with the community. Off stage, she is an educator, a board member, a sister, a friend, and so much more. Whether she is rocking the mic or sharing advice, Manon Voice is an instrument of peace, a conductor of resistance, and an arrangement of Black joy.
Manon Voice admits that several genres of music could be her favorite, but looks for one character among them all: singer/songwriters. As a writer, poet, and emcee, Manon Voice has an affinity for artists that can compose instrumentation and compel with lyrics. She enjoys the authentic, full-representation of music of creatives such as Bon Iver, Leanne La Havas, and Corrine Bailey Rae.
Influence and Impact of Music
Music is the beating heart of artists of all flavors. For Manon Voice, the value of music has contributed to her creativity, sense of staying grounded, and being well in the world. From the time she wakes up to the moment she lays down, music takes the role of a motivator, influencer, and entertainer.
Raised in the church, much of her classical exposure came in the form of church songs that stem from their roots in classical music. In fact, Manon Voice was a part of her church choir, travelled with a nationally competitive choir, began her musical journey learning piano, and transitioned into band in elementary where she stayed throughout high school. Now, she is heavily involved in the hip hop community of Indianapolis and has made many artist friends in the industry such as Yadin Kol (guitarist/singer-songwriter) and Allison Victoria (singer-songwriter).
In addition to making friends and connections in the industry, Manon Voice shares that music has the power to bring music lovers together. Remembering a time when she travelled across state lines to watch Anita Baker live on a Kentucky stage, Manon Voice relishes in the memory of the new friends she made at the concert. A young man from the United Kingdom and a young woman from Tennessee sat on either side of Manon Voice and belted Anita Baker lyrics from the back row of a sea of fans. They cried during some of Baker’s more heartfelt pieces and laughed at each other’s dancing to the pulse of their joy. Manon Voice explained that an intimate connection is developed with strangers that have found themselves enjoying the same music in the same space. It is these connections that help us get to know our neighbors more. Not just our next door neighbors, but our neighbors that live on the opposite side of town; beyond that, our neighbors that live in another part of the world, and yet share the same love for music and art with one another. Music has the power to bring people together anywhere, anytime.
Intersections of Music and Other Artforms
Manon Voice loves collaborating with artists that perform different styles of art. In doing so, she feels she stretches herself and widens her artistic lens. She experienced this opportunity in the Nina Simone: High Priestess of Soul tribute at the Phoenix Theatre. Here, she performed with, wrote alongside, and complemented other artforms. In fact, harmony is the most important element when working with artists of differing artforms. The vocalist, choreographer, musician, poet, and visual artist must be juxtaposed in a way to create a mosaic of harmony. The result is a powerful fusion of artists sharing their love for and of the culture.
One Thing to Note
With a wealth of experience on the scene, Manon Voice is happy to see, promote, and be a part of the support fostered within the community. The Indianapolis art scene is being flooded with artists lifting up one another and working together to move the scene to the national lens. While some may believe differently, the reality remains that Indianapolis is full of supportive people and talented artists worthy of the national stage.
Learn more about Manon Voice’s work at manonvoice.com.