Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Manisha Wanniappa about what role music played in their life growing up, their EP “All My Sunsets”, their most recent single “Unfinished Business”, and so much more! This interview took place on May 27th.
1. Mustard thanks you for being here! How are you doing?
Thanks for having me! I’m doing well. I am currently dorming as a sophomore at UCLA. I am very excited today because tonight I will be performing my original song ‘Wicked Heaven’ for the first time!
2. What role did music play in your life growing up? Do you still listen to the same artists as you did during your childhood?
Music was a source of joy in my life. When I learned how to sing it became my favorite thing to do. My entire family loves music and when I was growing up it always brought us closer together. I was raised on Michael Jackson, ABBA, Elvis, Eagles, Tom Jones, the Beatles, etc. and I still listen to those artists today.
3. Mustard wonders if you could describe your creative process.
My creative process is constantly evolving and it’s never the same for each song. But in general, I usually start my songwriting process with the music first. I either play some chords on the guitar or piano until I find a progression I like. Then I start playing those chords while singing over them until I’ve found a melody. Then comes the fun part: writing the lyrics. Sometimes they flow naturally while I’m singing or I have to take a deep-dive into my notes app to uncover some gems.
4. Two years ago you released an EP “All My Sunsets.” Could you share your process crafting this EP? How did sunsets influence your songwriting? Would you recommend that Mustard watch a sunset?
My debut EP is composed of the first four songs I ever wrote. I had written songs before but these were the first four I had ever finished and been proud of. I polished them up with my vocal coach who helped me create tempo maps so we could record them in the studio. I recorded all four in one night at the California College of Music’s recording studio.
I have always loved sunsets. Golden hour is my favorite time of the day and I think sunsets are just so romantic. When I titled my EP “All My Sunsets” I was thinking about thinking about all the sunsets I have watched in my life with different people and how those experiences have shaped me.
Yes, I would definitely recommend that Mustard watches a sunset.
5. Who (or what) inspires you?
In terms of my songwriting, I am inspired by my own life experiences to make music. But there are also several people who inspired me to start writing songs in the first place. Taylor Swift inspired me to try songwriting out. I was inspired by her lyricism and the honesty that is conveyed in her songs.
6. Mustard wonders if the events that unfold in “Nobody Knows” are based on real events. Could you share more about this single?
The story in “Nobody Knows” is based on real events. That single is about my second relationship and the adrenaline rush that comes with falling in love for the first time. My ex rode a motorcycle and I frequently rode on the back of it when we dated. We used to ride around LA past 2 am and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. That song is a tribute to the recklessness of that relationship and the thrill of letting go.
7. You have a playlist on your Spotify for your most recent single “Unfinished Business” that details missing someone you never had. This is a foreign concept to Mustard. Does this person know you miss them? Is this common among humans?
I doubt this person knows that I missed them. I no longer miss this person but at the time I wrote “Unfinished Business”, I thought about them a lot even though we stopped talking a while before. I think this is a common feeling among humans. A lot of my friends have also had experiences in which there was someone they almost dated, and they still wonder what would’ve happened if they did date. I’ve been told that “Unfinished Business” resonates with a lot of people which shows that what I went through is relatable.
8. How has social media played a role in your music? What advice would you give to musicians looking to join TikTok or other platforms?
I have mixed feelings about social media and music, but so far my experiences have been largely positive. I have found a lot of dedicated listeners and fans through platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok. It’s a great way to connect with other musicians as well. My advice for a musician looking to join social media would be to focus on your art and prioritize your songwriting. It’s easy to get caught up in the chase for fame and you may find yourself making tik toks instead of songs, which is not the point. Use social media honestly and don’t overthink it. Do what comes naturally and you will find people who resonate with your music.
9. Where can readers find your music?
Readers can find my music on any streaming platform including Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Tidal, SoundCloud, AmazonMusic, etc.
I’ve linked my linktree here: https://linktr.ee/manishawanniappa
10. Do you have any upcoming projects coming out you’d like to share?
I have a couple more singles in the works and my end goal is to put out an album next year. You can follow me on Instagram to stay updated on my releases!