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“LA Is Lonely”: A Sung Cry for Help

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When it comes to fame, Ricky Manning is not a commonly recognizable artist. This is not due to a lack of talent, but rather the difficulty of making it in the music industry. Manning got his start competing on The Voice during the show’s seventh season. He found success in the blind audition portion of the show, when he performed the song “Love Me Again” and turned the chairs of Blake Shelton and Pharrell. Ultimately, he chose to join Team Pharrell and although he impressed many fans, he failed to make it past the top twenty. More recently, Manning competed in American Idol, auditioning with his most popular song “LA Is Lonely.” He impressed the judges with his audition, but his time on the show ended when he failed to make Top 24. Celebrity would not be a title granted to Manning, however, his singing/songwriting ability should not be overlooked and deserves the utmost respect as his songs are truly his emotions in writing.

Maggie and I reached out to Manning, via Direct Message on Instagram inquiring about a possible interview, and we were both baffled when he responded in favor of the idea. We began to scrounge for questions that deemed worthy of his time and would give us the answers we needed to understand his most successful song. Manning did not shy away from our questions, rather he answered them thoroughly and honestly.

Q: What was your inspiration for writing “LA Is Lonely” and how long did it take you to write it?

A: I wrote the song based on a note I had in my phone for a while that just said, “LA Is Lonely” haha. I got off work one night and I was just feeling sad about my life and career. I sat down with my guitar and started playing my favorite chords and the song literally poured out of me within maybe an hour. I didn’t think it was that special until much later. I knew it was good, but in my head, I just thought, “Well, got another sad song.”

Q: How has your career changed since the release of the song?

A: How has my career changed…hmm…haha. Well, I think that song legitimized me as a writer and artist for some people, especially my peers. It definitely allowed me to play a few more shows, it made me a tiny bit of money, and most importantly thousands of people related to it which brought me some new fans. I’m not sure how many doors it’s opened for me, but I’m definitely proud of it and I hope it continues to open more doors haha.

Q: Has your attitude changed in regards to what you sing in that song?

A: Some of the lyrics like, “I quit twice a day, can’t go back home,” or “it’s much harder than it seems on the screens or fake magazines on the shelf” “the older I am, the quicker the sand in the old hourglass seems to drop,”; those I still relate to. The lyrics that talk about how hard it is to follow a dream, or about time, I feel like I’ll always relate to. The lyrics about being alone and only having yourself, I don’t necessarily feel that as much just because I do have an amazing support system behind me; my beautiful girlfriend, my family, and a few really close friends. But I have moments where that song is super relevant to my life still and I’ll listen to it if I’m down enough haha, I just did the other day actually. Holds up! 😂

Based on our interview, we were shocked to find that the song held deeper meaning than we had previously thought. And although Manning now claims that his mental health has improved since writing the song, it is clear that he is still struggling to make it as an artist. Nonetheless, his pure talent for singing and songwriting as well as his transparency with his fans marks him as a promising up-and-comer.

Winston Bishop summed it up best when he said, “This is a sad song. This is the saddest song in the world.”

Click the link below to watch Manning perform “LA Is Lonely” for his American Idol audition

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwkc1SoNcD8

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“LA Is Lonely”: A Sung Cry for Help