Patricia Manfield is The Blogger Turned Musician Telling it Like it is
Patricia Manfield is best known for her stylish “threads” and Italian elegance via Instagram. Having represented brands like Dior and running her own blog The Atelier, this fashion icon recently semi-retired the blogging lifestyle to get behind the microphone. Over a pair of Los Angeles espressos, MILK.XYZ sat down with Manfield in between label meetings and vintage shopping to get the down low on her upcoming release.
Why are you In LA right now?
I’m in LA because I live in London at the moment but I have my law firm for music in LA and my music management so I’m here to organize the launch for the single. Just meetings and photoshoots.
How’s it been so far?
It’s been amazing. Yesterday I did this super secret project. It’s crazy. LA is the place where you make the most of your contacts. People are very supportive.
What’s your favorite place to visit? To eat? To go look at art?
We have this thing that we always go get the Chinese chicken Salad at Joan’s On Third—every time we land. It’s always the first thing that we do. If it’s late obviously we won’t go, but it’s always the first thing we are looking forward to. I don’t get what they put in there—it’s drugs.
How did you break into this creative field—taking fashion and using it to break into your passion of music?
My parents are musicians so music was always something I had in the house. While doing fashion, I was very myself about everything. Even when I was doing ambassadorship projects with Dior or Louis Vuitton, I was just keeping it real. I put music into it a lot. Everybody knew that I loved music and I was doing covers on YouTube and Instagram. At some point it was the brands that told me, “You should absolutely do this because it will work.” It was a good moment for me because I had just finished university which was important to me and I started writing again. I’m a songwriter mostly—I love writing, even more than singing. I just thought we live in this era today—where before it was the bloggers and the influencers and now there are the talents. When all the visual platforms, like Instagram, got out there—everything was very shallow. People led a perfect life, digitally speaking. And now we are going backwards—but for me it’s mostly the future. It’s mostly the substance. It’s relatable for a girl to come out of nowhere and do what she loves because of this stupid app.
What did you study in school?
I studied business.
How have you found that that education has helped you pave this path?
Even in music I’m very business-minded, so when I take a step, I think about it. I’m super calculated.
Did you got to school in Italy or London?
Was it Italian schooling?
Yeah it was an Italian school—it was business management and fashion. I just wanted to make a lot of contacts and open a consulting agency. I even wrote a book with my teacher. It was really my whole life. I was living the Hannah Montana life—I was going to a fashion show and running to school.
Do you remember a definitive moment when you realized you could be someone and have an influence on people?
I’ve always kind of thought that, but for a small group of people. Then I saw that, even musically speaking, we are in a really good moment because what was the mainstream of before is not the mainstream of today. People listen to music differently now and there is this huge universe where you don’t buy CD’s anymore but you discover different artists every single day and I feel like when I realized that I could actually have an influence and impact was when other people listened to my music and it wasn’t just my friends. I was like, “Okay they like it,” so that’s a good sign.
So social media, like you said, really has kind of worked within your music and fashion lifestyle. What do you think are the pros and cons?
Okay. First of all, I think sometimes it gives the wrong idea of beauty, which is something I really hate. For instance, not just the common “too much filter,” “too much Facetune,” “too much Photoshop” or whatever—but even in, “You’re too skinny,” or “You’re anorexic,” or “You’ve got an eating problem”—you don’t joke around with that. I feel like there is a lot of bullying. There is a misinterpretation of beauty. I feel like girls, generally speaking, people just want to look the same. Those are the cons of social media. It just gives you an idea of how you should be and then you just live up to that. And then the pros are just—social media gives you the opportunity to be discovered, it’s a word of mouth kind of thing—your friends see something interesting and they show you. We aren’t in the 80s anymore, when there used to be a lot of opportunities to build a company or make a lot of money, but we are in an era where you can actually be the boss of yourself and that’s really great.
What does it feel like to sing? How does it make you feel when you’re onstage or recording?
I had my first showcase in LA at the end of May for labels. I did it at the Soho House in Malibu and it was great. I was completely in my comfort zone—it was so weird. How I feel is that it’s the only moment where I actually know that I have control over everything in a way. So even if you have a bad day, you can sing. And you can control people’s reactions, and people’s emotions and I think it gives you that sense of control that nothing else does.
So your parents were musicians—what did you grow up listening to?
They were into the classical. They were playing in the most important operas and touring all over the world. Playing Mozart and Beethoven and it was just completely different, but I grew up with Rock. So it was mostly even Heavy Metal or Punk. My favorite all-time band is Nirvana. I’m mostly influenced by that, which is crazy because it’s completely different than the music I do—from my genre.
What’s the best advice your parents ever gave you about music?
Don’t do music [Laughs].
What do they say now?
They wanted to protect me. They said it wasn’t really stable—there’s a lot of sharks and I was like, “I did fashion, it can’t be any worse”—just kidding! They are really happy for me now!
What kind of message are you trying to send?
I’ve been at this for three years—I really took my time at making this album. You need to discover your sound as well. The first single is called “Threads” and I chose that one because it’s like a mix of everything I do in music. That’s my sound 100 percent. It basically talks about how fucked up this generation is—including me. With video games and this subtle line between what’s real and what’s not and relationships and the games you play in your daily relationships with people. It’s a concept that I really care for because it really sums up what we are. You know when you’re just so tired and you’re going back home from a really crazy day or you’re going back to your parents and they live far away—and you’re in the car and it’s 4 am. You put something on and it’s kind of just a really honest conversation with yourself. I know that in fashion I was the girl who was from Italy and was really girly and super innocent or whatever. In music I’m very honest and sometimes provocative and very sexual—just a woman. Exploring all the sides of being a woman—not being afraid of just saying whatever a guy would say.
You have such a global perspective. You travel a lot, you grew up in Italy and live in London. What would you say is the common “thread” that you’ve seen?
The thing that I’ve always been fascinated by is human and mental issues. It’s just something that I really looked into when I suffered from panic attacks. I got sick and I got really scared. I started suffering from panic attacks and I’m still suffering, but it’s a lot less dramatic now. I got this serotonin molecule tattoo and everything and I feel like when you talk to people—doctors and therapists diagnose you and tell you what you have—then you talk to a lot of people about their issues and anxieties and the problems they think are specific to their minds—you know when you’re like, “I feel like I’m different from everyone else, but I’m just going to pretend like I fit in,” in a really cliché way. I feel like we all have those issues. Some have them in a really physical way and I’ve always tried to talk about that or write about it.
How have you felt is one of the best ways to combat that—obviously you can talk about it with others to not feel so alone—but is there a ritual that you perform or do you meditate?
I’m very lazy so I don’t work out as much as I should—but I put all of that into writing or something like work or I even—I don’t think of it like I’m a problem. If you feel like a big problem to other people, that’s not good. I just work on it.
How would you describe your sound?
It was kind of hard to describe my sound, even with the labels—but we did agree on something. We defined it as alternative pop and R&B—so I don’t know what that means—alternative pop is okay. It’s kind of a mix. I have a hip hop beat, but then I have Indian samples beneath it. I didn’t have that thing where thee were these big people involved. I didn’t have like these mega-boom artists. I found people on social media, smaller artists where I was like, “I love his beat” or, “I like this sound. I feel like it was very organic. So when people heard the sound over here they were like, ‘Okay this is new.’” I don’t know, I guess people will define it.
Last question—what’s a question you wish someone asked you during an interview?
Oh my god. I’ve never got that—“How are you today?”
How are you today?
Great. I slept in. I’m less jet-lagged.
Stay tuned to Milk for more rising stars.