It comes from letting go… or else it drives me crazy.” That almost sums up singer/songwriter Della Manley – almost. At once beguiling and entrancing, she does not fit into anyone’s convention of what may be considered normal. This is a good thing. Having just released her second album, Barbican Square, nine years after her first, Ashes On the Windowsill, Della says she is inspired by “… any and verything. When I’m happy or I’m sad… learning a new chord, reading a good poem or a good book, any frustration I’m trying to deal with… my family, my sister-in-law’s poetry. Sometimes the things my daughters say. I remember hearing them talking one day. They were by the swing set and one was telling the other to mind she fell. The other said, “I wanna break the law of gravity!” and I thought, “That is such a cool line.”
Born in Falmouth, Trelawny, Della grew up in Montego Bay, Jamaica, began the piano at age six and the guitar two years later. She migrated to Canada at 15 with her parents where, on the road to performing she actually entered and won a talent competition, becoming the ‘Snow Queen’ on the strength of her rendition of Janis Ian’s At 17. This was just the beginning. Della also lived in Cuba for four years then returned to Jamaica and the road to song. Her first encounter with a studio, she says was “almost 20 years ago, I was asked to a song with (local band) Native – a cover of Lou Adler’s Wonderful World.”
What followed were various gigs around town, cocktail parties and the odd jingle. Her journey has not been an easy one and there have been ups and downs, but at the end of the day it has all been worth it. Over the years she has worked with producers Ray Hitchins and the ‘Bass Over Babylon’ duo of Neil Case and Brian Jobson as well as with the Firehouse Crew.
Her performances have taken her from New York to Barbados and include a stint on the North Coast for two years and various Jazz and Blues festivals and has opened shows for The Mighty Diamonds and Beres Hammond in Central Park, New York for the Jamaica Tourist Board’s ‘Jamaica Jamboree’ where she ‘mesmerized her audience as she unleashed the range and texture of her expressive voice, often blurring the stylistic lines between folk and pop’ according to one enthusiastic review. In Jamaica, she has performed to rave reviews at venues such as Redbones the Blues Café and the Village Café.
Della has collaborated with Mutabaruka on the single release "I Know" and has also guest-starred on Tarrus Riley’s album "Parables" with the duet "Family" She counts among the acts that have inspired her Peter Tosh, Damian Marley, Damien Rice, John Mayer, Sting, Dave Mathews, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Janis Ian.
She will continue to defy expectations and enchant, entrance and enjoy with each special performance.