Andrew Leopoldo Mancilla
Andrew Mancilla’s muse is restless, and his talent prodigious. The constant for his fans is: Expect the unexpected. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist’s catalog fishtails through high-concept, multi-genre rock-opera; vintage crooner pop; smart piano-driven rock; and urgent alt-rock, among other twists, sometimes on the same album.
When Andrew recently walked into a nightclub blasting Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” he felt the onset of an artistic adventure. The outcome is Subtractive Color—out May 19th, 2017—an invigorating album of seductive R&B-flavored pop, bursting with juicy late night tales and obsession.
“This album is all about that moment when you walk into a room, see the most beautiful person across the room bathed in the most beautiful light, and feel the urge to find out more about them. It captures that immediacy,” describes the Brooklyn-based artist.
Since 2010, Andrew has released three wildly distinct solo albums, including Subtractive Color. Signature to his oeuvre is a cinematic touch. In place of confessional songwriting and autobiographical narratives, he casts characters into scenes that enable him to explore psyches and emotions. Fodder for these engrossing sonic vignettes are sensual encounters, day-to-day struggles, and harrowing narratives culled from his work as a federal court lawyer. He employs genres much like directors utilize movie sets—fastidiously creating that perfect backdrop for that one film, and then shifting to a different period-piece approach for the next film.
Interestingly enough, a pre-fame Lady Gaga was a creative catalyst for Andrew. Despite showing promise early on as an adept multi-instrumentalist, versatile and competent on trumpet, piano, and guitar, he lacked focus and discipline. The pair casually worked together while attending NYU. “During college, I was floating, searching for what I wanted to do. She had her stuff together and it inspired me,” Andrew recalls.
After a brief self-imposed retreat from music, Andrew harnessed the energy of those formative college moments while in law school. He emerged with his debut, Static, co-produced by Michael League from Snarky Puppy (the intrepid jazz-fusion pop collective of all-star musicians who have performed with Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, Roy Hargrove, and Snoop Dogg, among many others). That was 2010, and, since then, Andrew has gigged throughout New York City, found success as a powerhouse attorney, and released a clutch of diverse singles, including the imaginative sophomore album, The Artist, produced by Grammy-award winner Dominic Fallacaro. The Artist is a white-knuckle ride of an album themed around a mob hit man who gets arrested, testifies against the mob, and slips into a witness protection program.
Andrew’s latest, Subtractive Color, conjures that heady mix of pheromones, cocktails, and infectious beats that envelope you in a dance club. His seductively soulful falsetto leads the charge through a sweetly hedonistic fantasyland. “Ultimately, this record is about fun, love, and youthful excitement, and the spectrum of color you can create from those ideas. It’s about taking a limited set of emotions and creating a broad spectrum of vividly intense ones. Thus, the title ‘Subtractive Color,’” he shares.
The 10-track album bursts open with, “Rewire,” an intoxicating slice of sleek R&B about those epiphanic escapades that permanently alter your sexual circuitry. Other standouts in include “It Wasn’t Me,” “Tell Her,” and “I can’t Believe Her.” The silken slow-burn jam, “It Wasn’t Me,” the album’s leadoff single, features upcoming hip-hop artist Decora whose vocals bring a steamy vulnerability to the song’s engrossing narrative. “That is about the follies of young love—missteps in relationships that can poison them forever,” he reveals. Andrew’s playfulness as a lyricist is in full swagger on “Tell Her” which he opens with the line: I ain’t her type/but I ain’t afraid/She’s asks for a light/ I gave her my name. “I Can’t Believe Her” is a retro-futuristic delight that hits that sweet spot between the Jackson 5 and Justin Timberlake.
Up next, Andrew will take Subtractive Color on the road with select dates in the northeast and an exclusive performance at Chateau Inspiration in Cannes, France, during the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. He’s also brainstorming his next recording. “I’m always striving to enlarge my color palette and challenge myself with fresh explorations,” he says. “For me, it’s all about reinvention and a lot of creative energy.”
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IN THE PRESS