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SINGER, SONGWRITER AND SURVIOR NANCY MANET
There are times when art and creativity are forced to develop over a prolonged period of time.
And yet, when it finally does appear, it arrives fully formed.
Nancy Manet can be considered an ideal example. Although she’s celebrating the release of her
first album, self-titled Nancy Manet, she’s actually been a performing musician for over 35-
years. Yet it’s only now that her vision has finally been realized. The songs she writes were
spawned from a life that found trouble and trauma - her continuing constants. Consequently, it’s
a credit to both her talent and tenacity that’s she’s not only managed to persevere and accomplish
all she has, but also to the fact that she simply survived.
Nancy Manet is a debut album, born from a narrative that relays the events within a most
tempestuous trajectory. The songs are emotive and yet emphatic, courtesy of a series of moving
melodies and lyrics that leave no detail unspoken. Recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in
London, the renowned Criteria Recording Studios in Miami and legendary yellow DOG Studios
in San Marcos, Texas, it was produced and mixed by Dave Percefull (the man behind the board
for recordings by: Gary Clark Jr., Meat Puppets, Green Day, Caroline’s Spine, Cody Canada,
Colter Wall, Jason Boland, Michael Martin Murphy, Kevin Fowler, and any number of others).
Released on Trespass Records, the album features an impressive roster of musicians including
Nancy herself on vocals, piano and acoustic guitar and an entire string section interspersed with
players from the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, composed by
Percefull and conducted by Francis King-Smith.
Each of the nine tracks are autobiographical in nature and unabashedly honest in their
descriptions of perilous circumstances Nancy was forced to overcome on her way to becoming a
healthy individual, both spiritually and psychologically.
“I’m an anomaly in the world of mental health,” Nancy reflects. “People in that profession tell
me they’re amazed that I’ve not only overcome the challenges that I encountered — an abusive
upbringing, scorn, homelessness, and the trauma of a violent marriage that nearly killed me -—
and that I am thriving and finding redemption through my art. David, my producer, has said that
my story is alternately chilling and inspirational, and he says he wonders how I managed to
arrive at the place that I’m at now.”
Indeed, any one of those tragic scenarios might have spelled doom for a person who lacked the
incredible passion and persistence Nancy’s managed to maintain throughout her entire life.
That becomes evident in songs that boldly reflect her backstory. When she was eleven years old,
her talent became immediately evident to a piano teacher who then suggested to her parents that
she ought to be enrolled in a conservatory. However, after her father died, her piano lessons
stopped. If she was caught playing the piano when her brother was home, she was terrorized. Her
mother forbid her to play whenever she was around, yelling for her to stop and punishing her if
she dared to persist. The mental anguish continued throughout her teenage years.
At eighteen she became homeless, bought a guitar and taught herself to play. Eventually she
found a place to live and later scraped enough money together to buy a used upright piano for
$500. She recalls, “I didn’t have furniture but I had a piano, and at the time that’s what I needed
For years she made her way as a successful businesswoman. Yet finally at the age of 48, despite
the opposition and ridicule from her husband, she went back to school to pursue her lifelong
dream – studying Voice, Piano, and Theory.
Nancy reflects “I thought I needed the degree to do anything with my music. I was in my third
quarter at college when my piano professor as well as the program chair told me I was in the
wrong school; I should go to a conservatory. Another professor questioned if I even needed the
degree. It was like deja vu, a reminder of my childhood.”
Three singles proceed the album. The first, “Don’t Let Her Ruin You,” is a powerful ballad
inspired by a male friend who experienced a betrayal of his own when he caught his wife with
another man after 25-years of marriage. Anthemic and insistent, Nancy describes it as a song for
those in need of hope, as well as for women who have dated men who were still somehow tied to
The single that follows, “Insecurities,” was written in response to a woman who unjustly accused
Nancy of taking a business relationship from the professional to the personal. It declares “Your
insecurities are not my cross to be bear,” while also encouraging the listener, “If you don’t like
who you have become, decide and change your ways.” It, like the rest of the album, states the
case with arched authority and her uncompromising energy and intent.
“Longing,” the third single from the album, and the first track on the album, is, in Nancy’s
words, “A song written as a vision of things to come, despite the despair and disappointment that
often comes with failed attempts at love.”
Other songs are equally emphatic. The lush piano ballad “A Mother’s Cry” has a similarly
affecting backstory. “I was a ward of the state at birth because my birth mom was forced to give
me up for adoption,” Nancy explains. “She had two children in foster care and her only hope for
them was to surrender me, her unborn. I wrote this song from what it must have felt like from her
The dramatic piano ballad “My Expansion” was written for her child who is Queer, and
describes Nancy’s evolution in terms of thinking and accepting. “I listened. I grew. I expanded,”
she shares. “I am a different and better person because they came into the world.” The song, “My
Expansion”, also inspired the indie publication of her first children’s book.
That resilience and resolve informs the entire album, from the stately strains of “Fractured” to
the inspired essence of “To Love You and Me,” a song that shares what it takes to embrace one’s
emotions through acute inner awareness. Written years after the end of an eighteen-year
marriage, the driving and determined “Addiction” describes the sadness, heartbreak, and pain
Ultimately then, Nancy Manet is flush with resilience and resolve from the first note to the last.
Uplifting and inspiring, this album is a companion piece to a rock opera which will be released
later this year.
For now, however, it’s a tale of triumph against the most formidable odds. Nancy Manet is a
stirring statement about conviction and belief in one’s own ability to overcome whatever
obstacles may be standing in the way.
“I’ve chosen to emerge because I truly believe my story and music will help and encourage
others,” Nancy declares. “I don’t mind being thought of as tough and tenacious, because after all
I’ve been through, I wear that handle with pride.”
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