A soulful vocalist with a bent toward high-energy club music and R&B-influenced pop jams, Manika came to early prominence as the last protégé of legendary music executive Frank DiLeo. Born Manika Ward in 1993 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Manika began singing and playing piano at a young age and by her teens was writing and performing her own songs. At age 17, coming off several outstanding performance awards at the National Performing Arts Festival in New York City, she was discovered by DiLeo, who had famously helmed the careers of Michael Jackson, Taylor Dayne, and others. While working with DiLeo (who died from complications after undergoing heart surgery in 2011), Manika began recording material and released several singles, including "Boyz R Dumb" in 2009 and "Just Can't Let You Go" (featuring Lil' Twist) in 2011. The following year she gained even more exposure as she joined One Direction on tour. In 2013 she released her debut full-length album, Manika (Double Album), which included the singles "My Way" and "Good Girls." Two years later, Manika returned with a party-anthem ode to her hometown, "Vegas Party." ~ Matt Collar
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