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From big screen to center stage to DJ booth, if it’s a form of art, 32-year-old Taryn Manning is all over it. Manning set out to become a professional dancer, but after continuously being in the background, she decided that center stage is where she wanted to be.
“I knew I was a really good actor and singer. When I was doing backup dancing gigs, I was, like, wait, I can do what those singers are doing. I want to do that,” she said. “Me and my brother formed Boomkat, and I learned how to play guitar and I was, like, I want to be a rock star. … It’s not that I feel better than anybody, it’s just when you are in the background and you know you have a lot of talent, it just kind of drives you more, and you want to be in the forefront.”
It was in 2003 that Manning and her brother Kellin formed Boomkat, whose music made Billboard’s charts and was featured in hit films. When Kellin decided to take a break from the group, Manning embarked on a solo career.
“I’ve just proceeded to keep moving forward ’cause I can’t really take that time and take that break. Boomkat, we had a really good run, and I really enjoyed it and I just wanted to keep the train moving while my brother takes a break,” Manning said. “I ended up riding a really amazing solo endeavor.”
Her new single “Turn It Up” is an electro-pop track and hits iTunes on Wednesday. It’s being offered as a free download on her Web site TarynManning.com until Tuesday. “ ‘Turn It Up’ is really just a fun kind of jam. It doesn’t have a lot of deep meanings, and that’s the whole point of it. It’s kind of just a good summertime jam. I just think the world is so corrupt and dark right now, I wanted to put out some material that was really light and kinda easy to wrap your head around and not think about and just dance and smile.”
Singing isn’t the only career for Manning. Since 2000, her acting credits have included 8 Mile, Crossroads, Hustle & Flow, Cold Mountain, Melrose Place, Law & Order: SVU and Sons of Anarchy.
With acting and music in her blood, Manning decided that it was time to give it a shot in the DJ booth.
“I’m not some crazy, amazing DJ, I’m not a full-time DJ, it’s not my 100 percent love, so I don’t want to take anything away from other DJs who this is their life. I mean I DJ almost like I play guitar, it just showcases really my music. I’ve lucked out and have been hired to do some incredible events because I’m good at it, so it’s all really fallen into place organically,” she said. “I wanted to get back into DJ’ing to kinda push my own songs. It just stems from wanting to showcase my own stuff, and then it’s really fun to do.”
Manning DJs at Blush at the Wynn tonight. “I’m really looking forward to my performance. I’m really excited to be performing at the Wynn at Blush. I think it’s a beautiful hotel and just to see how everybody receives my set. I’m bringing out a group of friends, and we’re going to have a blast together. It’s my single kickoff/summertime kickoff for my friends.”
Nikki Villoria is a contributing writer and photographer.