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Manni Simon, Class of 2016

CAMD alumnus Manuel “Manni Festo” Simon ‘16, Music Industry, recently started his own podcast, The Poet’s Lounge with Manni Festo, to help showcase the incredible local “underground” talent he is surrounded by every day. Intended for anyone who wants to discover new music and artists, and for those who are curious about exploring outside their comfort zones, The Poet’s Lounge features various songwriters, rappers, poets and comedians that are based in New York, Boston, and beyond. With several episodes already live, the podcast highlights these artists’ works and offers them a platform to describe the meanings behind what they do – and many of the early guests Manni met through his connections made at Northeastern!

“With this podcast, I want to give the feeling that the listener is in a small poetry hall, listening to new artists sharing their work and describing how it came about,” explained Manni. “I also want to offer a peek inside the songwriting process and show the little things that go into artistic creation.”

Through its guests and themes, The Poet’s Lounge centers on music and poetry, a combination that means a lot to Manni given his personal background in the music industry. He has been rapping and producing music for years, talents and passions that he pursued and developed while at Northeastern. At the same time, he has always been interested in creative writing, especially when it comes to song lyrics.

Now, he is using this podcast to bring it all together and showcase the depth of talented artists like Mark Gilday, Jr., Anjimile, and comedian Ben Quick, to name a few.

“I discovered this pairing of music and poetry from listening to lyric-heavy rappers since I was a kid. Combined with always being a good English class student, here I am,” Manni puts it. “I’ve found a lot of music artists my same age and status who are inspiring, so I really want to showcase the best of them. The podcast allows me to do so, while also connecting with these artists and brainstorming ways we can collaborate in the future.”

It is important for Manni to form these connections and relationships with local musicians. When he’s not working on his podcast, he does freelance work (specializing in audio) for concerts, plays, some podcasting, and more.

“Those are all the fields I’m looking to get more into professionally, and in my personal project time I’ve been working on some instrumentals of my own,” explained Manni, “writing my own poetry, and I’m starting to work with singers I know to try to produce their music. One is Noelene Power—another Northeasterner!”

Manni gives credit to Northeastern for introducing him to a studio atmosphere that helped lead him to where he is now. While an undergraduate student, he took music recording classes, and spent his second co-op at the Digital Media Commons (DMC) multimedia studio in Snell Library.

“That experience helped me improve my skills by being in a studio all day every day, plus I met a lot more musicians from it,” described Manni. “I worked with a bunch of those musicians from the school to make an album called Skeletones that I released just before graduating. From there people just kept telling me I had a voice for radio so I combined the two passions and went into podcasting! This way I can use the voice, do cool audio projects and be involved in the music scene.”

We look forward to seeing The Poet’s Lounge with Manni Festo continue to evolve. To be featured on the podcast, or learn more about it, please reach out to Manni at [email protected].