Singer-songwriter Salvatore Manalo hasn’t always called Portland home. The son of a sailor in the US Navy, he was born in Vancouver, Wash., but traveled the world from an early age. In a childhood where life could sometimes feel uncertain, music was a steadfast friend. He quickly found that music was his connection to community, and he’s been rediscovering that phenomenon again and again throughout his life.
His love affair with the guitar began in his uncle’s church—a place where music and community thrived. Spending his high school years in Atsugi, Japan, Manalo was able to carve out a place for himself by connecting with others for whom music was home. According to Manalo, he honed his craft while surrounded by musicians “of the highest caliber,” who in turn influenced his eclectic sound. No matter where he was, it seems, Manalo was constantly seeking to learn and grow as a musician.
Perhaps it was that craving for fellowship, learning and belonging that led Manalo to begin performing on YouTube. According to the Kickstarter for his new EP, he found yet another warm, welcoming place online where he fine tuned songs and experimented with his sound. It was on YouTube that he readied his repertoire for recording his self-titled debut EP at The Rye Room.
“I started to play around with this chord progression that ascended and descended and it immediately made me think of how relationships work,” he tells. “The lyrics don't center around one person, or even a [romance] really, it's just... when I think of people I've drifted apart from and wonder if the feeling is mutual.”
“Manalo has a great pop vocal and, similar to John Mayer or Eric Clapton, his love of the guitar drives his music,” notes Rye Room owner and producer Matt Greco. “Everything about the song is built around the guitar.”
For Manalo, the recording and release of his EP signals his desire to finally put roots down in Portland and launch his solo career. Though it’s certainly a new kind of journey, maybe now listeners can find a home in his music as he has.