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Author: Mani Payne


“My Light”; My Experience as an Independent Artist: Mani Payne ’26 at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Jun 15, 2023

Coming into Spring term and excited for my first Co-op, I had many Ideas for what I wanted to do. When I sat down and thought about how I wanted to make this a memorable experience, I reflected on how I wrote music before and consider myself a Singer/Songwriter. I realized that I wanted to spend more time working on my Independent music. I also came to the conclusion that in order to start building my reputation as an independent artist, I had to think about what I wanted my stage name to be. After scratching and scrambling for an idea I finally decided to try incorporating my name with my favorite color (My name is Mani and my favorite color is lavender). That’s how I came up with Lavani. I love the way that pronounciation of the word flows and it gives me a sense of the essence that I want to present.

Meeting with my Co-op mentor for the first time felt so surreal. I watched my dreams come to life as I slowly came to see how real it’s all becoming. However, just four weeks into my Co-op I hit the first speed bump. This had nothing to do with my music or my plans but rather was a significant life issue that managed to interfere. I found I was having a rough time wanting to write more music and continuing with my art. With a fulltome job at Antioch’s Wellness Center, I found myself overwhelmed at the end of the day and had little energy for musical creativity. Everything in fact at that point felt hard for me until finally, my Co-op mentor pushed me to write a song about something entirely different than what I’m used to writing about. I took a week to write a song about a recent passing in my family.

I got down to writing, spending almost an hour writing out an entire rough draft of the song. My writing style is completely different than most people’s I believe. When I write music I work on jotting down the lyrics as I have a melody playing in my head. After the rough draft, the only thing I had to fix was the outro. Changing the outro only took me about 30 minutes and I just worked on that until I again met with my Co-op mentor. After receiving feedback I didn’t have much to change. Now all I have to do Is work out the instrumentals. Music has helped me get through this and I am finding my confidence and commitment renewed.