Review Fix chats with Sgmaniak, who discusses his career in music and so much more.
Sgmaniak (pronounced S. G. Maniak) is an artist from Gainesville, Florida, currently based in New York City. Known for creating experimental, confessional music, moving effortlessly between college heartache and real world ennui, his self-produced releases have struck a chord with listeners across the globe.
Now unveiling a nine-track album, The Global Heart Awakens, the release sees some of Sgmaniak’s most hi-fi work to date. Taking a heavy, musical dietary intake from jazz and neo-soul, the music is reminiscent of Frank Ocean, D’Angelo and Kaytranada. Showcasing an electronic glaze, the musician blends his indie-soul sound with some rockier influences to create something that is both striking and memorable
The album follows a rough patch in the songwriter’s life, where he struggled with anxiety from his own life, the world around us and the mass spiritual awakening happening across the planet. From climate change, the death of George Floyd, presidential elections and the Covid-19 pandemic, all these events took its toll on Sgmaniak, turning to meditation and nature to learn to be alive here and now, instead of worrying about things we can’t control, hence the album title. The songs across the album all reflect an undercurrent of anxiety as it feels almost impossible to find the answers for so many things, he shares, “I just want people to feel that the human spirit is the brightest light, and that nothing is impossible. If I can achieve that I’ll feel happy.”
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Sgmaniak: When I was little I loved classic soundtracks like Phantom of the Opera and Star Wars. I wanted to be a classical pianist like every cool kid, except I was too lazy to practice. One day I was playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 on Gamecube and I heard ‘TNT’ by AC/DC. From then on it was teaching myself guitar, full speed ahead.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Sgmaniak: I like to start with a soundscape, or a beat. I think of music very visually, usually the lyrics are secondary. I think I’m able to capture my emotions much better with sounds that with words. If I can write some good lyrics too then it’s a bonus.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Sgmaniak: Lots! Friends, family, growing plants in my apartment, playing chess, just being alive in New york city. I love obscure foreign films too. Some are really hit or miss, but when you find a good one they can be unforgettable.
Review Fix: How has CO-Vid affected your art?
Sgmaniak: I’ve never been much of a collaborator, but feeling cut off from the world has actually caused me to reach out and get help on The Global Heart Awakens from tons of good musicians. I have to say the result is beautiful. Thanks, covid!
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Sgmaniak: Any song can be its own universe if you allow it to be.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Sgmaniak: You lie down next to a quiet river between some deep green mossy trees. You lay there with a good book or whatever suits you and time begins to heal you. When you stand back up, the sun is shining through the treetops and it’s a beautiful evening. You feel inspired to continue the adventure.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Sgmaniak: Very different. You’ll have to come to find out. But I’ll say this – it’s my goal to put on the best live show in New York City.
Review Fix: What inspired your latest single?
Sgmaniak: A feeling of hopelessness in the world. I wanted to convince myself and others that hope is precious.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2021?
Sgmaniak: I’d like to collaborate with other artists/producers more. Hit me up on instagram, @sgmaniakk
Review Fix: What’s next?
Sgmaniak: I really wanna become a good chef. I feel like when I cook a meal, there’s a 50/50 chance my girlfriend won’t like it. I gotta up those odds.