Elishema Mannie, better known by her stage name “Elishema” interpreted as “the Universal Creator is listening.” Elishema was born in Chicago, Illinois and made her professional music debut in 2008 with the independent release of her hip hop dance single “Get Loose,” and an emotionally heartfelt ballet called “Broken Promises.”
Those singles were well received and offered Elishema much promise in her climb for recognition and a spot on the music charts. These releases were followed by the R&B single, “Sophisticated Man,” which received commercial airplay and national as well as international acclaim. After the release of these three singles Elishema partnered with her manager/father and formed the independent label “Inway Records.” Afterwards she released her debut album “New Beginnings,” under that label. “Indie for Life Magazine,” cited Elishema as “Sizzling Hot Soul.”
For a young lady, whose name means the “creator is listening” in the bibical tradition, Elishema is certainly living up to her moniker by having the voice of an angel serenading even the Almighty creator. She has surely been blessed and gifted with an alluring and powerful voice that has keep her fans loyal listeners.
Elishema became popular in the dance world in 2009 after being one of Oprah Winfrey’s mob dancers during Oprah’s 24th Season Kickoff Party with the Black Eyed Peas in downtown Chicago. Elishema ultimately created a YouTube video teaching the mob dance, which went viral receiving over 500,000 views in a matter of weeks. She was later asked to come on the Oprah Winfrey show to perform, however that show was canceled.
In August of 2016 Elishema released the single “Oh Yeah” off her upcoming sophomore album “Break A Sweat for Me.” “Oh yeah” is a contemporary R&B empowerment anthem with strong hip hop vibes encouraging listeners especially young women to develop themselves before leaping into romantic relationships. The single gained national exposure being played as a 30 second commercial segment during the airing of the Eminem A.K.A documentary film broadcasting on primetime television in over 50 major cities in the USA.
Elishema’s sophomore album “Break a Sweat for me” which is a mix of soulful as well as hip hop grooves and thought provoking lyrics re-introduces the world to the multi-faceted recording artist and songwriter. This poised songbird delivers testimony-driven, uplifting and candidly charged cuts for music lovers seeking organic spirit-stirring vocals, and heart wrenching harmonies. This album was due to be released in the fall of 2016 but was delayed until the summer of 2017 due to some marketing issues.
In her attempts to capture the college and university market Elishema performed and showcased her music at the 2016 Midwest APCA Fall Regional Conference in Chicago. It was made possible by (DCASE) the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events who awarded her a performing art’s grant. The APCA event was a great success and Elishema gained many new prospects in the college market.
Elishema’s musical journey actually began when she was 5 years old. Her parents were music enthusiast as well as aspiring singers. Elishema would often join them at band rehearsals being the baby of 6 siblings because she always wanted to be close by her parents. She grew to cherish music and loved to write her own songs. Elishema would often crash in on her parent’s house parties at 5 years old, pleading to perform one of the many songs she had written. After witnessing her musical aspirations for many years, her parents enrolled her in many music related activities to develop her talents.
In elementary school, Elishema started playing the saxophone, clarinet, and studied piano under the legendary Chicago Jazz pianist and band leader Ken Chaney. Also, while in elementary school where they weren’t fortunate enough to have a choir, Elishema was made the-go-to vocalist and entertainer for most school events. She was also a member of the Chicago All-City Choir.
In High School Elishema became one of the star choir members playing lead roles in many of their performances. Also, during her junior and senior year she attended the Sherwood Conservatory of Music and received 2 years specialized training in singing, dancing, acting and theater. Showing great promise as a triple threat in the arts, Elishema was chosen for lead roles in their finale showcase before graduation which included a performance of the play “The Lion King.”
While a Junior in high school Elishema self-produced many songs. She eventually released a demo CD in 2003 which was supported by many of her friends, family and teachers. One of the songs on the CD called “No” was remixed and added to her 2010 debut album, “New Beginnings” due to popular demand from her most staunch fans. “No,” is a soulful R&B up-tempo tune, incorporating doo-wop overtones with a pop flare. Lyrically, it’s about a failed relationship, deceit and heartbreak, with no hope of reconciliation.
In 2001 Elishema was recruited in the all-girl R&B singing group “5.0” however the name was later changed to Cappuccina. The group was managed by Donovan Price of Workaholic Entertainment group, as well as Hip Hop Rapper Da Brat, who co-managed. Cappuccina, recorded several songs but none was ever commercially released. In 2002 Elishema left Cappuccina and joined another R&B girl group under Janeff Entertainment founded by entertainment lawyer Jeff Dillard, who also managed the girl group Risque. This group with Elishema was with 3 girls who only recorded one single that was also never released. After spending a year with Janeff Entertainment Elishema decided to go solo.
Throughout her musical endeavors Elishema’s has been blessed to work with and meet many notable people. She’s opened for the legendary music group the Chi-Lites on several occasions, and most recently Kelly Price, Chaka Khan, Frankie Beverly & Maze, and shared the stage with countless Chicago artist and chart-topping performers Jazz of Dru Hill, K Jon and Noel Gourdin only to name a few. Elishema also received praise from Kool & The Gang after performing a special tribute for them during their visit in Chicago in 2015 at the Englewood neighborhood Unity Fun Fest a day before their concert with the Beach Boys. Being a well-rounded entertainer, she has performed at various colleges, universities, and festivals, as well as toured internationally.
Elishema will undoubtedly surprise many who think they’ve figured her out. She is forever evolving and in her debut album “Break A Sweat for Me” she showcases a more valorous and daring side of herself. This time around she’s crowning the soulful heartbreak, and recovery of her previous albums with heart pounding grooves, hip hop vibes, and some bolder declarations. She is also taking steps, to expand her brand and dive deeper to show her expertise in songwriting for television and film.