Effortlessly between college heartache and real world ennui
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.”
“Prayers on Ice” kicks off the whole album with stunning waves of synths and a chill beat that takes you to a dreamy escape, the building vocals and synths create a haunting soundscape that sucks you in whilst allowing the lyrics to be crystal clear. “Scared of the dark, can’t fall asleep in a haunted house full of bad memories,” he sings about the breakup of his parents, confiding, “Prayers on Ice was written the week I arrived at my home in Florida when quarantine started. That was the first time I had to split time between my mom and dad’s houses because they got divorced after I moved out.”
Then there is “Fireworks” – a track written about the injustice and hate in the world, particularly after the news of George Floyd. Not aiming to make a political song, the track is a mirror to the artist’s anger and confusion to the world. With clashing indie-jazz drums, superlunary piano, intricate electro moments and catchy melodies that dance into his soft neo-soul vocals. The piano carries a magical touch of hope and light alongside the echoing keys. His choice of timing for melodies gives off a sleek and cool essence leaving you feeling compelled by his magic.