Eloquent Conversations With Man Up, Yancey

The Atlanta band, Man Up, Yancey, is a local powerhouse. I first stumbled across them during their acoustic performance at The Earl in East Atlanta Village. The band that endures many of the tribulations that comes with managing a successful musical group. I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Anna and John to discuss a few things. The experience proved to be altogether enlightening and satisfying.

Collectively, Anna and John’s conscious combined into a very introspective dynamic that made the conversation flow easily. Over the course of an hour, we glided from topic to topic with out any uninteresting pauses. Initially, the duo was asked what was their perception of Atlanta’s music scene and what steps could we take to force the community into a better direction. The subject of musical segregation and competition arose in the conversion and both musicians had an opinion about what was ailing the southern city’s music scene.

Although, Atlanta offers diverse neighborhoods that serve as creative retreats, things are not what they seem. In the interview, we spoke on the segregation of Atlanta’s music scene. When asked about it’s current condition Anna’s response was that Atlanta seemed “dislocated.” John said that maybe people “fear combining the two worlds.” This approach is familiar to many creative people in a sense that comfort zones are just that, comfort zones. John’s idea that neighborhoods like Little Five Points and East Atlanta Village own these “fuck it” attitudes prove that boundaries can be broken down and Atlanta’s creative community can grow together.

When asked about that status of the music scene Anna stated, “the bands don’t really work together, they work in competition.” This signifies that there is a lack of camaraderie inside of Atlanta’s music world. John stated that there is a “lack of fearlessness,” in the community. He also stated that bands tend to “box themselves,” into a specific scene or genre. This translates to humanity’s need to define itself into definite and sometimes relatable pieces. John and Anna do not seem phased by public perception in the least bit. Sure, everyone gets nervous about various situations, but they are exactly who they are and that confidence shows. Anna stated that she was “openly out,” while living in Gwinnett and the experience of being openly gay in her community gave her the gift of having a thicker skin. Creatively, having such a gift is a profound achievement. When creating art there is no need to consider public opinion when expressing your innermost emotions.

The duo said they are drawn toward local neighborhoods like East Atlanta Village and Little Five Points. This is because of the “overwhelming sense of fuck it,” as John put it, that these neighborhoods tend to carry. Anna stated that these neighborhoods are not judgmental like some of Atlanta’s suburbs. She recalled growing up in Gwinnett County and feeling that her peers were not as accepting of her sexuality. Both members stated that they enjoy the freedom they feel when visiting these local cultural hotspots.

John and Anna also mentioned the importance of social media. They stated that they rely on social media, as well as word of mouth, to share their creations with the world. When promoting their band John mentioned the importance of meeting people and having conversations. They both agreed that this was just as effective as using the Internet to promote. Social Media is a networking tool that “makes it easier,” to meet other musicians and like minded people.

John and Anna are both seasoned musicians with previous personal challenges. When asked about how they maintain a working relationship with their band-mates, they stated that having a band is like a “relationship,” it takes time and a lot of effort. They stated that things are a lot easier since they became settled into their musical routine. John stated that practice seems to flow fluidly. He stated that he could “pick up on the changes,” with his band-mates and knew exactly what to play during rehearsal sessions at their practice space. Anna stated that the fluidity that the band shares was not always present. Throughout numerous line-up changes Man Up, Yancey has bloomed into something focused and personal to John and Anna.

The duo’s interests do not specifically restrict themselves to musicality. Anna and John seem to be very much involved in the current affairs of the world. Throughout the conversation, we weaved in and out of various social and political issues. The topics ranged from pursuing self-acceptance, racial tensions and LGBT rights. Collectively, John and Anna’s openness is a vivid representation of everything there is to love about Atlanta. Their acoustic set at The Earl in East Atlanta Village highlighted their multi-dimensional talent and personalities. Anna and John proved to be formidable, talented and educated people on and off the stage. If you should see that they are preforming at any venue in town, check them out. I promise that it is worth it!

Be sure to check out their music below and follow them on social media!

Written by Jordan Neal (@urban_Jordan)