Blair Schwarz is an American recording artist, songwriter, and producer better known by the stage name “ManiksWorld.” With his first single, “FallingSky/Lucid,” ‘ManiksWorld’ made his debut in 2018. This was followed by collaborations with producer Billy’s Beats on songs like “Nocturnal” and “Bad Company.” Keep checking back for fresh new music, news, and merchandise. There is still a lot to come.
Billy Zonzo, also known as Billys Beats, a friend of his, produced the most recent EP. They assembled this project to give themselves a head start as artists in the culture. They tied everything together from top to bottom with the idea that you shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk for the things you love. This project gives us the inspiration to reach new heights and get rid of everything that is holding us back. Check out the latest EP and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
MANIKSWORLD: I was born in Newark, New Jersey but I never really considered myself being from any specific city because of how much we moved around growing up. My dad helped me get started when I was about 10 years old, he always shared his music with me but thats the age I truly fell in love with music.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
MANIKSWORLD: Before my dad passed away I used to try and write songs and show him and he’d be very amused by it, I guess he found it interesting that a 10 year old was trying to write songs, but he’d explain to me as best he could what song structure was and how I could rhyme better, stuff like that. It wasn’t until after he passed away I had to start teaching myself and study different albums and songs that I liked to try and instill those methods into my own songs
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘MANIKSWORLD’?
MANIKSWORLD: Going back to who inspired me to take this seriously, my favorite rapper of all time Eminem. Aside from Em I studied Slaughterhouse, Tech N9ne, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Michael Jackson, Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, and so many others throughout the years.
I first went by the name Manik because thats the way I felt whenever I had ideas, but it became more than that when I realized all those manic thoughts in my head weren’t just thoughts but like an alternate version of myself, constantly brainstorming and creating, and who I was on the outside was just a shell. I landed on ‘ManiksWorld’ because thats who I am altogether, Manik is like my inner voice, always talking shit but allowing me to vent through the music, and I’m just his vessel or his world. I realize that sounds crazy. I appreciate that.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
MANIKSWORLD: Growing up I loved movies, specifically action/ adventure and horror, but one thing most kids didn’t focus on that I would was the score and how each scene treated the music. I still love movies and would love to make my own someday but till then thats how I choose to make my music, like cinematic Hip-Hop pieces that you could close your eyes and visualize a whole different world to. I love making people think or wonder, thats the best part of being an artist so I feel I have to push myself every time and give my audience something powerful that will resonate and inspire them in their own lives and I feel big cinematic and emotional sounds are the best way to generate honest and meaningful lyrics to the surface for anyone who needs it like I did as kid.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as HIPHOP?
MANIKSWORLD: It took me a long time to realize that theres more to being a rapper than just listening to other rappers, I had to branch out and that meant Pop, R&B, and even some Gospel songs had what I was looking for. I also had to start getting more personal and real with myself, I used to just write about being the best and the lyrics never really had any substance, until I released my first song “FallingSky/Lucid” I was just another rapper, not really an artist just yet, but I got out of my comfort zone and began to understand making good music is about just letting what you feel hit the page. It doesn’t always have to be the same. Experimentation is the greatest luxury you have and if you’re really passionate then you’ll take advantage of what’s out there.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
MANIKSWORLD: When an artist puts themselves out there they’re doing it on a platform where almost anybody can have access to and in my personal opinion if you really wanna connect with the world instead of just making music to make music then eventually you’ll have to address some of the things happening in the world especially the more serious situations. You never really know who’s listening and maybe if you lend your perspective it’ll help change somebody else’s for the better and give them some insight on matters they didn’t fully understand. You are capable of changing the world one person at a time but you have to take that leap and
believe in what you’re saying. Who knows how many minds you might open.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
MANIKSWORLD: Before this past year nothing meant more to me than eventually being one of the greatest alive and have everyone know it, but as I look back at everything thats happened in my life and on the planet I gotta admit in the grand scheme of things being a world famous rapper isn’t a priority for me like it used to be. If I make it big thats great, I’ll give my everything because thats an incredible opportunity, but on the same note if I don’t make it big and I end up underground or whatever thats okay too. A lot has happened, a lot of tragedies and changes going on so all I really want out of life now Is friends, family, weed, and a great view from where I rest my head at night. We could go at any time so why would I fixate on being a superstar when I can just make music and take the opportunities as they come. Im not in a rush anymore, I love what I do and i’ll keep doing it till I cant. Whatever happens next Im completely fulfilled knowing I get to wake up and keep doing it and right now thats more than enough for me.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
MANIKSWORLD: I usually start with a narrative but nothing really comes together without my producer Billys Beats. Honestly when we first met we already knew how to handle each other. We share the same styles and taste, and theres no other producer I know of that he couldn’t sit in the same room with and make magic, the man is a natural. We usually work over discord while he cooks everything up
and I explain my vision to him and from there I write the songs. We might do some post-production and then we drop. Every song I’ve done with Billy so far has been a notch above the rest and i’ll be blessed to do this with him for many more years down the road.
Truly a great talent and a greater friend to have, thank you Mr. Zonzo!
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
MANIKSWORLD: Change. Like I said I moved around a lot and I’ve had to deal with new schools, houses, friends, family, jobs and environments my whole life and it still isn’t easy but I cant afford to let the fear of failing cause me to actually fail. I want a certain level of bliss out of life and that only happens with perseverance, taking shit but then giving it right back is like my mission statement and truthfully if I’m not challenged every now and again then I’m not growing as an artist or a man and that to me is unacceptable.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
MANIKSWORLD: Knowing that while he was alive my dad knew who I was and as brief of a time I shared with him he took an interest in what I was trying to do and even helped me as much as he could with it. I’ll never forget what he did for me and I know if he was still here he’d probably still be trying to help me improve and celebrate these milestones with me. Everything I do on this path is just as much for him as it is for my fans and anybody else out there who could use a guide to inspire them to do what they love too.