introducing portland based singer/songwriter salvatore manalo

Congrats on your debut EP, first of all! It’s so good! How long did that take for you to finish?

Thank you! I appreciate that. The recording process went by relatively quickly. We tracked everything in about 4 days and then it was just a matter of mixing and mastering it. As this was my first project, I ran a Kickstarter for it so the whole process from launching that to release day was about 5 months.

What was the main motivation and inspiration behind the EP?

My main motivation was not having anything released yet! Haha, but going into the studio has been something I’ve wanted to do for years. I was inspired by my favorite artists and peers constantly releasing new music.

Do you have a favorite track from it? My favorites are ALWAYS and STAY. I think I like STAY more. It’s tender, calm and sentimental. I can see this in a montage of a heartbreak scene in a Korean soap opera.

My favorite would have to be “This Feeling” that was the only song I actually wrote specifically for the EP. The others were my favorite songs that I had written in the past few years. And yes I know what you mean! They’re definitely more on the emotional side. Especially “Stay.” I wrote that back in high school when I was full of angst.

You have done a lot of originals, but why did you decide to only include 5 songs in your EP?

I chose my most recent originals, with the exception of Stay, to represent where I was currently in life and my music. This was also my first project so I wanted to make sure I had enough time to make these 5 songs sound as good as possible.


You went to high school in Japan and then went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. How did this transition change you as a musician?

It definitely helped me refocus myself as a musician. I was always intent on being the greatest guitarist of all time but as I went to school, I began to appreciate all of the nuances and heart that went into making music such an emotional experience.

Having uprooted myself also gave me the perfect opportunity to reflect and I believe that’s when my songwriting really started to blossom.

Do you play any other instruments other than the guitar?

I also play bass and keys (somewhat).

Listening to your first original released on YouTube 8 years ago, in what way do you think you’ve evolved as an artist?

Oh man, I completely forgot about that song! What a trip. I definitely retained the spirit of a singer-songwriter but I’m definitely steering towards making music that just…grooves. I like to think my music has matured since then but really, my influences and ideas change so often that I can’t keep up with myself sometimes.

Your covers are really great also. Do you have a favorite artist that you wanna collaborate with?

Thank you! I love taking songs I love and trying to make them mine. I’d love to work with either Mac Ayres or Tom Misch, those guys are on heavy rotation for me right now.

I haven’t seen music videos from you. Will you be releasing new visuals any time soon?

That’s definitely something I’m working on in the coming months! Hopefully in the summer to tie in with my upcoming single “She”

Your upcoming single, SHE, featuring Stephanie Kitson. What was the driving force behind it? How was it like working with Stephanie?

That actually comes out on May 28th! After my EP was released I just wanted to keep writing and releasing music as they came.

For this single, I challenged myself to make a song where I would be in complete control of production, performance, and even engineering/mastering.

Working with Stephanie was a good time! She actually ended up writing a new bridge in minutes since the one I had wasn’t working. She was a real pro about everything.

You’ve been playing gigs in Portland lately. Do you plan on touring outside of Portland also?

I did my first small tour back in March which was insanely fun and I’d love to plan a bigger one towards the Fall. I’d also love to bring the band with me this time around too!

Is Portland your ideal city to be living and making music? If not, where?

At the moment, it is! The community here is amazing. All of the musicians are incredibly supportive and although the scene is still growing, I like the nature of how the business works here. I’m excited to see what it will be like in a few years.


What can we expect from you this year?

This year has been a year of firsts for me. First EP. First time producing. First time engineering. I’d love to keep putting out new music and breaking more personal boundaries.

Last question – a fun one. If you had an aux chord in an Uber, what are a few songs you would queue up?

Ooh good one!
Back Pocket– Vulfpeck
I Wish-Tom Misch
Mile High- Raquel Rodriguez
Knocks Me off My Feet- Stevie Wonder