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Creative Corner with Sarah Manha

November 2021
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Sarah Manha was born and raised Californian. She got her start in music at Chico State’s college radio station KCSC and Stockholm’s Hultsfred Festival. She has helped create campaigns for developing indie and established musicians, record labels, and companies, from major television networks to niche music festivals.

Sarah does artist management, label services, and digital marketing at The SoundClub where she has worked with the likes of Lionsgate, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Blow, Daisy the Great, Alex Winston, and Yoke Lore.

Sarah and her business partner Kelli also recently launched their own independent record label, If This Then Records

Our recent chat with Sarah discusses her favourite campaigns and discusses the overlaps between visual creativity and music.

I’m currently working on a lot! We have new music from Alex Winston and Daisy the Great, amongst others.

Since recently starting our own boutique record label, If This Then Records my business partner Kelli and I have been working on forthcoming releases for some really fabulous projects - so look out for those in 2022, too!

I'M LOVING

Creatively at the moment and always, I love Habibi Funk, one of my favorite reissue record labels.

All of the music they put out — Arabic funk & soul from the 1960s-80s — is 10/10 Grade A 100% fantastic, and their branding across all of the releases looks fabulous, clean, and sharp. A lot of their releases are the first time the music has been pressed to vinyl or given a “proper” release, so it’s amazing that these musicians can finally be heard by a global audience!

It’s hard to pick one, but my top picks from their catalog are the albums by Ahmed Malek, Dalton, and Al Massireen (fans of the Hulu comedy “Ramy” will recognize the theme song by Al Massireen!).

FAVOURITE VIDEO

Right now, my favorite music video is probably Career Boy by Dorian Electra.

It’s playful, ridiculous, and catchy as hell. And while I may not yet be at the point of needing a coffee IV drip, I found myself reflecting on my own work ethic to realize it’s time to set some boundaries. Dorian Electra’s music videos for Flamboyant, Man to Man, and Daddy Like are also exceedingly well done.

The first time I saw them perform was atop a dryer at a show in a laundromat a few years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

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BEST ARTWORK

I’ve always loved the interactive aspect of Beck’s 2006 album The Information based entirely on the sticker set that came with the CD, encouraging listeners to decorate the blank cover however their heart desired.

I definitely bought the CD from my local Tower Records store because I was beyond excited to participate and make my own Beck art piece. That really stood out to me. My CD is definitely still in my car.

RECENT CAMPAIGN

A recent campaign I've loved working on is the original soundtrack for Lionsgate / Starz series P-Valley.

It’s a drama about the lives of dancers at a Mississippi strip club, and both the show and the music are so fun. One of the main characters is a rapper, played by the talented J. Alphonse Nicholson, and he also performs all of his character’s original songs on the show.

I love working on Lionsgate soundtracks because we get to dive into so many different genres: trap, country, and even gospel.

Here’s rapper character Lil’ Murda performing his song Mississippi Pride that we released with Lions Gate Records. 

BRAND COLLAB

One of my favorite brand collaborations is the January 2020 collection Big Bud Press did with the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Los Angeles.

I was lucky enough to nab one of the green floral jumpsuits, and it is absolutely my most prized garment. Bob Baker's theater is one of the first places I fell in love with when I moved to LA. The limited edition daisy print on Big Bud Press’ collab pieces was taken from the painted floor at the original theater location outside of downtown Los Angeles, where the puppets lived for over half a century.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater’s new location just so happens to be situated in Highland Park across from Big Bud Press, so I think it all worked out! 

CREATIVE VIDEO

Hands down, the most creative and original music of 2021 is Montero (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X.

There’s no topping it. Legitimately, how does anyone beat that. Tell me.

LOGO LOVE 

I’m no designer, but I wish I’d designed the logo for… am I fired if I say The Killers?

GO FOLLOW 

You should follow artist Bisa Butler.

She uses quilts and textiles to create vibrant, breathtaking portraits unlike anything I’ve seen before. My friend and I caught her exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago this summer, and we were in awe. Every piece is so striking and tells its own story.

ICONIC

The most iconic music photograph is Carole King’s Tapestry cover.

The shot is as classic as the album - it conveys the same warmth and intimacy as her music. It’s instantly recognizable. It’s everything I work toward: a cozy window spot with a cat.

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