Manuela Panizzo simply known as Manuela, is a professional singer, songwriter based in London, UK.
A multi instrumentalist and versatile vocalist Manuela was brought up in Venice, Italy in a musical family: her brother Steven Tibet multi instrumentalist, has a diploma in classical trumpet and plays funk electric bass. He is an established music producer and singer in italy. Her sister was also a professional singer for most of her life before recently becoming a doctor in speech and language therapy.
Her father is passionate of opera music and is knowledgeable in classical music. Her mother loves Flamenco and romantic music in general. Manuela with her sister studied ballet from age 4, for a period of 10 years. She taught herself to play guitar since the age 9, and piano since age 12.
She could always sing, as far as she remembers, but also wanted to play cello. The local music school didn`t have a cello class, but they had a violin class, so after studying violin for 2 years, she gave up the whole idea. In the meantime she had joined her first band as songwriter, lead and backing vocalist at age 14 and continued to write music.
In her teen years in Italy Manuela studied foreign languages in college for 5 years (English, German and French) and took private lessons in classical counterpoint, jazz harmony and musicianship, while singing covers in bars and nightclubs at night to help paying for her studies.
The repertoire was varied with american jazz standards, soul, pop music (lots of Frank Sinatra, Barbra Straisand, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston) brazilian music (bossa nova, Jobim, Gal costa, Djavan, Elis Regina) and italian pop music.
In her spare time she co-wrote and recorded with deejays and producers in the north of Italy for a number of house projects, learning to write catchy hooks for commercial music and how to use her voice when recording in the studio.
But her instinct for jazz dissonance and querkyness were always taking her in a different direction. She listened to Joni Mitchel, Gino Vannelli and lots of intrumental fusion like, to name a few, Miles Davis, Yellow Jackets, Pat Metheny and she admired the italian fusion guitarist Gianluca Mosole aka Luke Mosley .
When Manuela was 17 years old, Mosole already had a respected name in the music industry. He heard her sing in a demo and called her to record all the songs for his fusion album entitled "Open Streets". They toured in Italy and performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival and on national television.
After finishing college Manuela kept on performing mostly covers with different bands to make a living and occasionally performing her own original songs. Daytime she spent writing and recording house music projects for a number of North Italian record labels, including Media Records, Virna Records, and Time Records or writing/producing her own original jazzy demos on cubase (a music software used in the 90s).
The music scene in Italy was suffocating for Manuela. Her musical aspirations were far beyond the italian scene.
Manuela arrived in london in `97 and found a singing regular job, 6 nights a week for 2 years, with a 5 piece band. She discovered new music horizons by sharing her music with those new found London musicians, who have become a very important element in her musical growth.
Eric Robinson was her band`s 1st music director, american pianist and singer for Sylvester, Aretha Franklyn, Diana Ross and he also produced an album for Martha Wash. He couched Manuela, and corrected her diction when singing and helped her use her voice and style in an effcient way that would allow her to perform for hours everyday without losing her voice. He taught her about gospel music, gospel vocal riffs and "pacing".
Dean Mark was her bass player. At the time he was also gigging with Roy Ayers and Craig David.
Dean Mark is a great connoisseur of old school Soul Music and has influenced Manuela 's musical taste over the years, remaining one of her most faithful collaborators then and now and her number one choice amongst bass players.
Luca Campaner was Manuela's guitarist in Italy and family friend. They grew up in Italy, working with bands or as a duo for many years.
They arrived to London in 1997 and formed a music team for many years, until some years later Luca was hired by Sony to tour with Westlife and then consequently with Blue, Lee Ryan, Natasha Bedingfield and for a number of worldwide Tours with the big names of pop industry.
One day, back in 1999, Manuela got a phone call for a studio vocal session for the team Y Tribe. The result was the speedy garage track "Baby U Bring Me Up" released on Deconstruction Records and remixed by the Artful Dodgers.
Soon after, in 2000, she signed a publishing deal with Sony and a record deal with Gut Record, who was very big after releasing a massive hit "Sex Bomb" with Tom Jones. Manuela was signed for a pop single (an original pop song she had written years before in Italy) and 3 albums on options.
For about 1 year Manuela was busy writing and recording more tracks in the studio, but after some time, around 2002, it became obvious that the pop single was being shelved and the album material, which she had been writing and co-producing, sadly would never be released as the label went bankrupt .
After this misadventure Manuela was unsure if she was free from her contract, if she could look for another pop record deal. So she took refuge in her first love: jazz and inspirational songs. She worked with jazz artists on collaborations, performing on Phillip Bent`s album "The Magic Of Your Spell" featured singer and songwriter together with Jason Rebello, Tony Remi, Courtney Pine and Jean Toussaint .
Sadly even this project got withdrawn from the market after the indipendent producer went bankrupt.
Luckily, Manuela met Xantone' Blacq and started her ongoing collaboration with him, which will mould her career until today.
Xan will be the future producer of her 1st solo album (Don't Fall In Love With Me). They started their collaboration back in 2002. Xan featured Manuela on the duet "With You" co-written and released in Xan's 1st solo album "To The Heavens And Beyond" in 2006.
Meanwhile she was gigging on the London scene as a member of the house band at the legendary 10 rooms in Piccadilly for 6 years, between 2000 and 2006, backing a long list of international super stars which includes R Kelly, Will Smith, Chaka Khan, John Legend, Amy Winehouse, Black Eye Peas, Chic, Joselyn Brown, Andrew Roachford, Blu Cantrel, Joss Stone, Angie Stone, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean, Justin Timberlake, Shalamar,Cchristina Aguileira, Lionel Richie, Beverly Knight, Kele Le Roc, Omar, Kym Mazelle, Tom Jones, Westlife, Blue, Lee Ryan and many many others.
In Italy 2005 Manuela was invited to take part in the Padre Pio Project in her native country. In Venice Manuela was featured performing alongside Gino Vannelli, Patti Austin, Mike Stern, Jimmy Haslip. And Shela E & the Escovedo family. Http://ginovannelli.tripod.com/2005nov/sl/venice05.html
Again the video of Padre Pio Project’s final concert was never released as the sponsoring companies of the entire project resigned. Luke Mosley featured Manuela performing her own original song on the video clip "One Thought Away" lately released on his latest album "Delirium".
Despite the many disappointments in the music industry Manuela`s heart was never discouraged and remained passionate and devoted to song writing.
She decided to take a break from it all by going to New York for 1 year in 2006 where she remained till 2007 and sang in Cece Rogers` gospel choir. She recorded the track "Call Me", released on USB Records.
In New York she also recorded the track "Taste My Love" with the godfather of house music Marshall Jefferson. www.usbrecords.com
She returned to UK ready to record her first album featuring all her favourite musicians and original compositions.
2012 Manuela officially completed her 1st solo album entitled "Don`t Fall In Love With Me" which went to no.2 in the Official UK Soul Chart in 2014. The album features her compositions performed by her London crew, including top musicians in UK.
Xantone' Black - producer, arranger and keyboards
Troy Miller - drums
Jose Joyette - drums
Dean Mark - bass
Otto Williams - bass
Pete Cochrane - bass
Luca Campaner - guitar
Gianluca Mosole -guitar
Jeanpierre Subrabieusse - sax
She also co-wrote for Sony artist Lee Ryan (formerly of Blue) "Che Viso Avrai" and also co-wrote "Got Me trippin'" with Romina Johnson', released on the album "Soul River".
Meanwhile since back from NY, starting from 2010, Manuela embraced a new musical adventure, after she became fascinated with afro cuban music and started collaborating with the London cuban music scene.
As a result of that, when the time came for her official album lauch concert in London, in 2014 Manuela introduced her cuban rhythm section for the 1st time in the context of her original music: Michel Castellanos on drums and Raul Quiala on congas.
She started learning to sing in Spanish and is working on new latin jazz compositions. She met Aleph Aguiar, top spanish/venezuelan fusion guitarist in London and formed the Manuela & Aleph acoustic duo.
Meanwhile, over the years manuela continued to co-write and record a number of club songs for different house projects with Rossiter Road and under the name Andrea T Mendoza feat. Manuela. Went to no. 3 in the official UK Club charts in 2005 with the track "Can`t Fake It".
Since 2013 Manuela is one the lead singers of the "Amy Lives Project" the original band of the late Amy Winehouse.
2016 she was featured on Eliane Correa’s album with the track “Wemilere” featuring the top Cuban music crew in the UK.
These days Manuela still lives in London, UK and is getting ready for a mini tour of North Italy with Gianluca Mosole in the middle of March. She will perform her own original album tracks, a few neo-soul covers by Robert Glasper and more unique arrangements of her favourite songs.
She is also recording a new project.