Pittsburgh, PA Native Lamar “Manzo” Coaston has worked with MYA, Jon B, Destiny’s Child, Jagged Edge, Tarralyn Ramsey and others and has guided the careers of artists Devin Tracy, Kenya Simmons, Romeo Harp, Mare’ Shavel’, Aziyah and Ayla Hall, Section VIII (“Til We Kaint No Mo, The Abduction, and V Triple I), Mi Familia (Bloodlines), Shube (Emotional), and others as well as his upcoming release “New Lease On Life” , Debut CD “Zosworld”, and New Book “A Tour Manager’s Confessions”
ABOG: Manzo Tell us where you’re Journey in this music business started
Manzo: I grew up in the inner city of Pittsburgh, Pa and my Grandmother raised 8 of us as a result of us living in deplorable conditions. My oldest sister Shirley literally rescued us by getting a police officer to escort us to the safety of “Granny’s” house.
Music was always an integral part of my life. From the Blues and Soul music my mother played, to me experiencing my older sisters rehearsing for talent shows. My 1st instrument was a trumpet in elementary school that I received after getting into trouble and being sent to “Music Class” as an alternative to going to the Principals office. It was during my High School years where I would join a few local groups when My Grandmother and Oldest sister bought me a drum set for Christmas. After that there was something that made me know music was the thing for me.
ABOG: When did you begin to take music seriously as a career?
Manzo: While enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after High School, I started developing my singing voice way atop a tower while on guard duty. I knew that singing was what I wanted to do and so after I returned home, I began to focus on my craft. I recorded a demo at a local studio owned by Pittsburgh music Icon Arte Tedesco with the encouragement of my late brother Mack. From there I re connected with my Brother In Law and started touring with his band “The Steel City Band” named after our hometown Pittsburgh, Pa.
I knew that singing was what I wanted to do and so after I returned home, I began to focus on my craft.
Fast forward to 1998, My Brother In Law Cornelius Harp Jr. called me and invited me to be his Assistant Tour Manager on the Jon B “Cool Relax” tour which consisted of R&B singer Jon B as the headliner and Jagged Edge and the original “Destiny’s Child” group. It was this experience that gave me the desire and motivation to take the music business serious. From there I went on to work with the Multi Talented Grammy Award winning artist Mya as her Guitar and Keyboard technician on Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair Tour.
ABOG: You eventually ended up launching a few companies after touring, what are they and what brought about those ventures?
Manzo: In July 2001 after touring I started an Independent Record Label called Megabyte Records Inc. It was based in Palm, Bay, Florida and with the help of my oldest sister Shirley I released my first project Mi Familia “Bloodlines” a Rap duo from Pittsburgh consisting of my Nephews George Williams III Aka “Billy Bathgate” and John Coaston Aka “Dellacroche”
This project was followed up with releases from Palm Bay, Fl. Rap Group “Section VIII” which consisted of my two sons Marquis Coaston Aka “Truth” Lamar J. Coaston III Aka “Spree” and friend Quentin Dames Aka “Quin La”. The group’s Debut Release was “Til We Kaint No Mo” a collection of real life street infused songs displaying what this “Dynamic Trio” was going through at the time. With the help of “Spree”, “Section VIII” was able to secure a distribution deal with Koch Records. For the CD Project Section VIII “The Abduction”. With the help of Film veteran editor James D Wilcox (ACE “Best Edited Miniseries Or Motion Picture For Television Einstein “Chapter One”) Manzo was able to secure placements for section VIII in CSI Miami Season 10 Episode 4
After unfortunate circumstances, the decision was made to dissolve Megabyte Records Inc. leading to the formation of a new company “Nu Mogul Media Group, L.L.C. It was through this company Manzo began to focus on a new direction with new artists, but also began to concentrate on Solo projects. With the help of Local Artist and music Producer Hassan Patterson, Manzo debut his very first music video “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” a single from his second CD project “New Lease On Life” followed up a second video “Is It Really Love” also directed by Patterson.
ABOG: What other projects are you currently involved in?
Manzo: As well as music projects, I have recently worked with talented Atlanta Film Maker Bobby Huntley honing both my music engineering and editing skills, as well my video editing skills. “This has been a remarkable journey for me that has allowed me to learn even more about the film industry”.
I have also awakened my comedic side (Encouraged by my late Mother) through a series of Youtube vlogs entitled “Ass Whooping Chronicles”
ABOG: What would you say was your “Greatest Accomplishment”?
Manzo: My greatest accomplishment thus far has been overcoming many adversities realizing that in order succeed you must believe in yourself! Growing up I didn’t always see the true potential that was hidden inside of me. I am very grateful that with support of my family, friends and fans I am able to continue on this journey!
ABOG: What is your hope for the future?
Manzo: With the current state of the world, it is my hope that one day we as people a put aside all differences and finally realize that we need each other to make a better world. I hope to accomplish this through my latest video project “One Love”