No stranger to Whitehorse, versatile hip-hop rocker and Juno-nominated artist Chris ‘Manafest’ Greenwood, is prepping to launch another tour, starting with rock venue Coasters.
He has fond memories of Whitehorse, primarily of it being cold. As soon as we chat, his first question is, “So, what’s the weather been like?”. He later offers a hint of disappointment when I mention it’s been unseasonably warm this year.
Previously, he performed at The Old Fire Hall, town churches and the Canada Games Centre … but never at Coasters, so despite his familiarity with our chilly city, it’s still a new gig for him.
What keeps him coming back?
“The audiences in Whitehorse are very energetic and friendly and there’s a great response every time I play,” he says.
Still a relatively young musical artist, Manafest mentions that learning the technical skills behind performing didn’t come easily when he began at 18 years old: “I always liked music, but when I started creating, it was a real stretch.
“I didn’t stress about it, but it was tough,” he says of the early years spent honing his lyrics.
Described as a “positive role model”, he makes special note of not labelling his music and doesn’t want anyone else to limit him with labels.
“I’m not trying to preach or call myself a particular type of musician, which shuts down potential fans. I’m not into pigeonholing my style or background,” he says.
Previously recognized foremost as a Christian hip-hop artist, Manafest is stretching his creative capabilities and breaking new ground in alt-rock combined with hip-hop.
“I’ve never described myself as just hip-hop, even when we were performing in that genre there was always an element of rock mixed in,” he says. His newest album, slated to release at the end of March, features a blend of rock-inspired tracks.
The Chase has tracks that see Manafest keeping true to his roots yet bringing in influences ranging from Green Day to My Chemical Romance.
After the March 26 show at Coasters, Manafest hits the road to B.C., Japan and then the U.S. He never tires of touring, despite the fact that the longest stretch he’s been at home in Toronto lately was for two months.
“It’s great being on the road, meeting people from new cultures and cities. It’s a good mix of being involved with everyone and having solo time for reflection,” he says.
He laughs and adds, “Even when I’m home for too long, I start wondering when my next tour is!”
And he is certainly no slouch with shows, performing for over six years with more than 1,000 live shows under his belt and tours on three continents.
Manafest has one message for the audiences of Whitehorse: “Get ready to rock out and get stoked!”
Manafest performs Friday, March 26, at Coasters. Doors open at 9 p.m. and local DJ, Kill Tha DJ, steps on to open at 10 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.
For more information or a sneak peek at Manafest’s music, visit www.manafest.net.