Born on September 17, in Milwaukee, WI, Dwayne “Chico Manolo” Leslie’s future had already been destined for him. Infatuated with Hip Hop and all of its fundamentals at a young age everyone knew that Chico would be a musical star. The first time he’d ever heard himself rap was from a recording he and his cousin AJ”AJ on Deck Beats “composed from a tape recorder. In elementary school, while riding home on the school bus, Chico disbursed rhymes to his peers and grasped the attention of his bus driver. In his neighborhood, older guys went crazy over his flow. Anytime he was seen by them they never hesitated to ask him to “buss a flow”. They were so flabbergasted by him they even went to the extremities of setting up dates with Chico and their daughters. Whenever he divulged his musical talents to anyone, they were sure to be held captive by his powerful and musical persona. At a local McDonald’s restaurant, whenever Chico revealed his hip-hop talents they gave him free food. How fortunate was he for this to happen!
His childhood wasn’t the life of eating with a silver spoon. With no cable in his home Chico found joy in watching The Box, a hip-hop music video channel, on regular television. He descended from a poor family, but this didn’t detour him from chasing his dream. Chico’s big break to really express his true love for music came when he reached high school. On his third day at James Madison High School, at lunchtime the entire cafeteria gathered around to hear him M.C. The crowd was uncontrollable with excitement. After figuring out who was the cause of this musical anarchy, Chico was assigned to detention. From that day forward he received streaming requests to display his lyrical talents. Chico recorded his very first mix-tape with a group of high school friends; together they were titled “Big Bank”. As a solo artist, Chico managed to record his own demo tape of which he called “The Sample Disc”. He used this to promote himself all over the web and throughout his city. The Sample Disc consisted of seven songs; Show Out, Look at Me, Go Hard, Bitch, Psychopathic, Tonight, Cousin Subs (which he made while employed at Cousin’s Subs). These songs showed his versatility and musical talents.
His influences are Tupac Shakur, Eminem, DMX, Ludacris, and Lupe Fiasco. Chico has opened up for major artist such as Machine Gun Kelly, Tech N9ne, etc. Chico has played over hundred shows including the Hard Rock Café Chicago, Local colleges, his old high school and more. He also got a job teaching hip hop after school at his old high school. He became the number 1 CLC(after school program through the boys and girls club) teacher in the state of Wisconsin with his academic enrichment he taught. He also dropped a mix-tape entitled Black Art that’s top 100 of all time on getrightmusic.com. Chico has been featured on I Discover Stars & Got a chance to get production with platinum selling producers FKI. Chico is now looking to expand globally around the world and help his label rise.
Chico,”I know the time will come and the world will hear my story . I am an artist and Ceo of a recording label called Session 8 so it is my duty to make sure I help everyone reach there peak.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
CHICO MANOLO: I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee is all I know. Born and raised in Milwaukee.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
CHICO MANOLO: When I was a young boy, I would spend most of my time watching music videos and listening to music. I would envision myself as a mainstream artist, in the limelight. I would pretend that I was performing live at a sold out concert. I would use objects around the house as my microphone. When I was age ten, I wrote my first rap to “Vibrant Thing” by Q-Tip:
“Got a girl in my bed
Got a girl doing my head
Got to go work next hour
Got to catch the mayflower
So I can see the Eifel tower
So I can make a couple dollars
Its vibrant thang “
It was really novice haha, but it was my very first rhyme. As I got older my lyrics became more creative, more imaginative, and relative. I began writing heavy around 12 and 13 and started performing and recording at 14 and 15. My first show was at a festival on the outskirt of Milwaukee that I did for my uncle and I had the crowd going crazy, especially the girls. Once I got in High school I was asked to rap by a girl that knew I could rap from high school in the cafeteria and every since than my high school buzz grew tremendously from the large performance I put on. I never hesitated to rap. I use to get kicked out of the cafeteria for getting everybody so amped up, Memories. High school really helped me get a buzz around the city. After High school I dropped mixed tapes, one of my mix tapes entitled “Black Art” is top 100 of all time on Getrightmusic.com I dropped in 2013. I’ve performed at over 100’s of venues like the Hard Rock Café Chicago and Colleges shows, festivals in Wisconsin and etc. I have opened up For Tech N9ne, Machine Gun Kelly and Doughboyz Cashout. I also became a hip-hop teacher at my old high school helping the youth out by teaching and creating events.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
CHICO MANOLO: I truly believe my music is something the world desires to hear. It’s a great feeling to know that people love what I love to do. I love my music and for my fans to enjoy and want more of what I have to offer it creates a feeling of respect and warm approval like no other, It’s greater than sex haha. Music isn’t a hobby for me. It’s my passion, my gift from God, it’s my life and I just want to share it with the world. Music is my soul!
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
CHICO MANOLO: The music I create reflects life events, personal issues, and word play. I aim to uplift my fans and give them something they each want. I write about issues that I’ve experienced because you never know who has gone through the same thing. That’s what people look for. Music they can relate to. Also I indulge in some wordplay/club scene music; fun music basically. I produce music anyone can jam to. The fans tell me what they want and I give it to them. I can hit every angle from my story to your story to our story. One song could be Trap and the other could be conscious.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who is your fan base directed towards?
CHICO MANOLO: My fan base is directed towards teenagers, my peers, and diehard music lovers. I try to keep my music fairly clean and suitable for young listeners. I make smooth and soulful, tasteful music for the older crowd; something they can groove to, something they can listen to. For my peers I have a little bit of everything; soulful, club/bangers, conscious, life experiences, and what we call today bars haha aka metaphors bka wordplay.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
CHICO MANOLO: Artists that have had an influence on my music are: My influences are Eminem, Tupac, Lil Boosie, Jay z, Nas, Dmx, Ludacris and Lil Wayne. I love the creativity and lyrics and the content these artist bring to the universe. They inspire me to stay on my game.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
CHICO MANOLO: I like to describe my music as for the fans. I make music for them; it’s plain and simple. I bring out a God given confidence to my fans to place in my fans. I like to make them feel good while listening to my music. I like to act on emotions and lure them in with the talent. I’m the voice of the people that don’t have a voice. Also I bring me in my music. A confident, smart, creative, smooth street dude from Milwaukee Wisconsin. I look at it, as I’m a modern day Casanova speaking on any and everything I witness and feel. One thing you will at least hear in my music is quality, Lyrics, Catchiness, Love, Metaphors, Flows, and versatility.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
CHICO MANOLO: What makes me stand out from other artists is my God giving confidence. I would also say my performance skills is very powerful. My performance would make 99.9% a firm believer. I move different speak different and bring a different element to game. I am a product of the Milwaukee Midwest environment. Another thing is my signature ad-libs and player made agenda. Which is the fly guy smooth talker, ladies man persona I have honestly and now plan to take advantage of. On top of being a great lyricism. I would say I’m a black Hue Heffner with something to say, or a snoop dog with a conscious side with more aggressive style. Or a LL Cool J type dude that favors Lil Wayne and comes off more street haha seriously though. Basically I’m a ladies man, a charismatic, artist that’s a great performer and has something to say with a street edge, plus a wide range of versatility with sound and content. That’s not taking failure as an option
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
CHICO MANOLO: “Charismatic” is an album I’m working on right now. It’s a collaboration of my versatility; it will show my strengths, and my sounds I love. It will show the world what they are going to be getting out of me soon. From Life issues, club songs, Personal issues, and songs that bars are being spitting with word playing just showcasing my lyrical talent, all with a Midwest “Manolo” swag layer on all of it that just defines me.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CHICO MANOLO: My career goals are to first build up a very huge fan base to reach to the XXL freshman class that has been a dream of mine. After that I want to work on a big album that hits mainstream and of course sell out arenas on tour. After the album I want to star in a major film either a music movie or urban drama to further my career and give the fans more of me. I started writing a few ideals for different ones already. Then my goal is to have longevity in the music industry. In the next ten years I see myself as an Icon. Grammy awards and etc. should be on my shelf at home. Selling millions of records with and label of mine under an umbrella of the major record label I’m with. In the next 10 years I see myself as a vet and respected highly. Also I see me influencing the next generations.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
CHICO MANOLO: I go by Chico Manolo if you Google the name all sources will pop up. Facebook.com/chicomanolo
Also reach me through via email @firstname.lastname@example.org
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