Relationships in the business are very important. It’s important to develop solid relationships with people that are genuine. You never know where any of us are going to go and to have good people on your side is only a part of your success.
I had the pleasure to interview Michelle Manifesto also known as MzSaiGon. Performing and making up songs as fun since she was a little kid, Michelle Manifesto started writing poetry in her youth as a way to conquer being shy. This later turned into rhyming.
Thank you so much for joining us Michelle! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was always performing as a kid, making up dances, singing, rapping for fun, writing poetry, etc so when I went to NYC, my boyfriend, at the time, ran into a woman who was looking for a female Asian rapper, he said “my girl raps” they exchanged numbers, I called her and we formed a 3 women rap group. Within a few years we all went solo routes and grew from there.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I remember when my homegirl told me we had a meeting with Chuck D, I was so happy to meet him and it was an honor to work with him, he was like so determined to put female emcees and women in hip hop on the map, pure genuineness, genius and love for the culture, one of my mentors.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
i used to rap out loud a lot, Everywhere I went I would be reciting rhymes, I didn’t realize it but a friend of mine came up to me and told me people were like who is that girl that talks to her self LOL and he said that I was a rapper
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I realize it I just needed to be more aware so I didn’t do it as much but every once in a while I’ll come up with something and it just comes out LOL.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just collaborated on a music project, the song is called “Stop the violence vol.1”, I’m featured along side 4 other talented female emcees. Old school 76 brought us together to do a track to help awareness on the growing violence happening worldwide, it’s Available on itunes, Amazon, cd baby, etc
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with?
I had a chance to hang with a lot of cool people, some of my friends are famous but when I worked with Wyclef, that was really cool, we’d all be up in the studio all the time. When September 11 happened I didnt have a job anymore, I was already hanging out at the time cuz I use to go to there parties in east orange with my home girl and we use to rap in the cypher so they offered me a job at platinum, a paid internship, I was doing office work, in the sessions, doing my own music n even rolling blunts lol n it was a block from where I lived near Times Square, was dope memories, too many stories, I would have to write a book.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Don’t rush through it, cultivate your craft and find your voice
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would definitely invest in plant-based products and anything that gears towards cruelty free and vegan. A lot of my friends who are not vegan really enjoy a lot of the vegan food, make up, body products, etc
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Always get your stuff mixed and mastered professionally if you can’t do it yourself. At this point you can’t even get radio play unless it’s done right and even though I was good at mixing there is a orders of operations. I would get mixed criticism because it was not mixed and mastered right
- Learn about the business. I learned about the business being in the business. I was around successful famous people that had respect in the game and I also intern at a studio and that gave me a lot of knowledge and great connections.
- Get the song done. There are many opportunities to work with different people but with schedules we would put it off and then it would just never happen I look back on it and we could’ve gotten it done but I was putting other things in the way instead of making it more of a priority.
- Relationships in the business are very important. It’s important to develop solid relationships with people that are genuine, you never know where any of us are going to go and to have good people on your side is only a part of your success.
- I always learn new stuff and always work on your craft. The less people you depend on people the better, the more you know the less someone can get over on you so make sure That you pay attention when people are mixing and mastering your song or when you’re working with other artists and you’re able to learn other things and techniques
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Look at the sparrows; they do not know what they will do in the next moment. Let us literally live from moment to moment.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
So many times in my life I was not living in the moment I was either in the past or the future. When you live like that you don’t fully experience the moment. I learned to be present in the moment and get everything out of the moment that I can, revel in it and cherish it, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s a lesson but no matter what I got out of it what I needed because I was in it n aware
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would have to say a few people but the first person was definitely my friend Justina. When I met her she had multiple battle trophies from winning all over the state of New York. When I first got with the group she helped me write better and from then on I became better and took it from there to the place I am now.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would definitely like to sit down with Oprah, I feel like we would have a great conversation, I think she is a visionary person and we would be able to exchange ideas And implement some possible strategies for people to unite through working together, creatively and holistically
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My Instagram handle is Mzsaigon, my Twitter mcmisssaigon, my YouTube is Michellemisssaigon and my Facebook page is Michelle Manifesto aka Mzsaigon the Rapper