VOCALIST | EDUCATOR | PRODUCER
"Ever listened to a voice so sonorous that it flows with the sound of instruments in an alchemy where it appears that there is no saturation point between the sound of metallic strings and the singer’s voice? It is like the two coexist and sweep through your soul in perfect harmony. That is exactly how Mana Dhanraj’s voice appeals to me."
-Khushboo Sharma, Indian Woman Blog-
Mana Contractor is a multi-hyphenate artist with a deep enthusiasm for collaboration. With her formative learning experiences steeped in jazz and Hindustani classical music she has created a unique space for her globally-influenced vocal style. This is evident in her role as lead singer/composer of the neo-soul quartet Lace and hybrid electronic duo NMND. Her work with these two projects and her first band, Chandbibi & the Waste Candidates, has allowed her to perform in venues across Los Angeles, India, and parts of South Asia. Contractor has also performed with the experimental opera company The Industry, which has been lauded by the Los Angeles Times as “an essential component of American Opera,” in its production of Sweetland. Her foray into the world of opera continued with a role in Overtone Industries’ Original Vision, led by Artistic Director O-Lan Jones. She also co-founded a music school called The Mela Centre for Learning in 2015, where she taught jazz and contemporary vocals to students of all ages in hopes that more aspiring musicians would have access to contemporary Western music traditions in India. Having graduated from the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (India) with a diploma in Voice Performance, Contractor’s desire to continue an education focused on innovation through improvisation led her to pursue a master’s degree in VoiceArts at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), from which she graduated in 2020.
Lace is the synergy of vocalist Mana Contractor, drummer Navneet Rao, bassist Connor Coram, and guitarist Sidhant Jain. Together, they stitch together their diverse influences including neo-soul, funk, jazz and South-Indian music into a tapestry of complex grooves, gliding vocals, and lush harmonies.
NMND is an electro duo based out of Los Angeles. A merging of two musical genres synthwave and melodic R&B, Maclean and Mana’s individually unique musicianship come together to create an ever-evolving emotional narrative through sound. Their first EP ‘Integration’ launched earlier this year, focuses on the evolution and manipulation of the human voice through technology and live performance.
Chandbibi & the Waste Candidates create rich vocal layers over Latin, Funk, and Konnakol inspired grooves fused with jazz harmony and a healthy dose of the 'strange and beautiful'. Their debut album, ‘Tidy Funk’, was recorded in October 2014, following which they toured across India, performing in venues such as HummingTree, (Bangalore), Nariyal Paani festival (Mumbai), and Alliance Francaise (Pondicherry)