Bamboo Manalac is a man who knows where he is going. The release of his second solo album “Bless This Mess” is the latest chapter in a 20-year success story that has seen him front two of the biggest bands in Pinoy music history, establish himself as popular solo artist and cement a side-career as one of the judges/coaches on “The Voice of the Philippines” and “The Voice Kids”.

The punchy second album follows the award-winning debut “No Water, No Moon,” Bamboo’s first solo release under PolyEast Records, which made it clear there was life beyond his career as frontman.

“Nothing’s changed. It’s the same pressure that I’ve always put on myself. Whether in a band or going out on my own, or whatever I do. Just wanting to push, claw and climb,” Mañalac said in an interview.

Produced and with compositions by Mañalac himself, the debut album was preceded by lead single “Questions” which debuted accompanied by a music video with co-direction by Treb Monteras III.

“Questions” however gave us a glimpse of the polished-pop direction Mañalac’s music is heading– towards on-trend synth chord progressions with cascading backup strings.

“I felt Questions was a good intro to the album because it has a lot of colours and instrumentation that we have in the album in just one song. The song is personal but I thought it spoke of human experience.”

Mañalac continued sharing his thoughts about the album title, “It’s a Japanese Koan. Something I’ve read from time to time over the years. I never thought of it as a album title but when it came down to choosing one and basing it on the general tone and sound of the album and what the koan meant for me. It just fitted with the album’s concept”.

That debut release included such songs as “In Shadow”, “Please”, “Morning Rose”, “Back on my Feet”, “Spin”, “In This Life”, “Down the Line”, “All Hail the Fool”, “The Only Way”, “Just Go” and a bonus track and only Tagalog song in the album “Ikot ng Mundo.”

“The songs just draw from my own personal church of music. The stuff I sit around listening to. So I see this album as homage to my favourites. The idea was to still continue doing what I enjoyed when I was with a band. Some songs have an element of hearing it again for the first time because of what the other players brought to the pot”.

Paving his own name from a band’s frontman to a solo act, is no easy feat. That did not stop Mañalac’s ambitious resolve to conjure up a new and eclectic set.

Teamed with some of the top musicians in the music industry like Ria Osorio, Kakoy Legaspi, Jun Jun Regalado, Bong Gonzales and Simon Tan, he presents his musical visions as he says, “I wanted to find a chemistry between the players that made me feel like we’ve been playing together as a band for years. So the process was longer than usual from my experience and we hit a snag or two along the way.”

As Mañalac goes back to what he’s known for, he’s also back with depth and personal nature of his lyrics, coupled with his cool, smooth voice and brilliantly adept song writing capabilities.

Mañalac’s infusion of rock, pop, jazz and bluegrass melodies along with a 12-piece orchestra to create a collection of hypnotic, genre-bending material shows renewed confidence from musician unafraid to stride beyond industry expectations.

“It’s a restart. The whole process from start to finish was different from all the years I’ve been doing this. It was just great to relearn a lot of the stuff and get that joy back again, “Mañalac shared.

Now with a second collection of self-penned tunes in “Bless This Mess”, Bamboo Manalac is ready to take to the road again. Catch his Spicy Lemon-produced tour in Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Dublin, Dubai and Doha in October 2016…

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