Driving force of my progress is the responses I receive: Manethree Walpola
By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna
Manethree Walpola is a 12-year-old from Lyceum International School who possesses a beautiful voice that has received the attention of many on the internet. Her YouTube channel Manethree and her Facebook page Manthree Music (@manethreemusic) became an internet sensation immediately and many of her admirers compliment her saying that her guitar skills add to the perfection of her song covers.
Speaking to Little Stars, Manethree said that music is not her only passion. She is also an artist who loves to create story-based illustrations.
Manethree, introduce yourself to Little Stars readers.
My name is Manethree Pathmindhu Walpola. I’m 12 years old and I live in Nugegoda with my parents and my little brother. My school is Lyceum International School, Nugegoda. I love singing, playing guitar, and performing. I also love animals, especially dogs; we once had a labrador called Bambi and recently adopted a stray dog, and I named her Sandy.
When did you start playing the guitar?
Actually, I was interested in playing the piano at first and started playing it when I was about six years old. Then, my dad got me a small black guitar as a gift for the New Year when I was about nine years old, after which I started playing guitar and it became my most favourite instrument. I first learned the basics from a book called “How to Play Guitar”. It was my dad who taught me in the beginning and later, I followed lessons on YouTube.
Do you remember the first time someone told you that you have a beautiful voice?
Well, I don’t exactly remember the first time, but I remember I used to play the piano and sing when my relatives visited and they commented on my singing. It made me very happy. Later, when I posted my videos, some followers commented on my covers, saying that I have a nice voice. It made me feel so happy, and it’s so pleasing to know that others like my voice and my covers; it motivates me to improve and do better.
What inspired you to create your Facebook page and YouTube channel?
Well, I had been planning to start a YouTube channel for a long time. I had many ideas to implement it, and finally started one with my dad’s guidance. I saw a lot of cover artists doing covers on YouTube and they do really well, like Emma Heesters, Nicole Cross, and J.Fla. I think that was what inspired me most to start doing my own covers.
You have a lot of song covers posted online. Which one is your favourite among those covers you have done? Also, who is your favourite music artist?
I actually like all of my covers, but I kind of like my cover of Dance Monkey. I like it mostly because of the beat and the lyrics. It’s a new song as well. My most favourite music artist is Taylor Swift. She also plays guitar while singing and I’m a big fan of all her songs, especially Love Story.
How is the feedback you’ve been receiving through your online platforms? Does it help you to learn and improve?
It’s amazing and I’m really happy and pleased that people like my videos and enjoy watching them and I’m glad to receive their responses. I believe having a good fan base is very important to any artist and for me, they are the driving force of my progress. Their support helps me to improve and they also motivate me to do better.
On your Facebook page, you have said that you are passionate about doing story-based illustrations. Tell us more about it and your inspiration behind it.
Drawing story-based illustrations are one of my favourite hobbies. I love reading books. Usually, I like to draw a picture based on whatever book I read, and books are the inspiration of my drawings. And when I’m free, I just imagine my own stories and then I draw them. The most interesting part of doing these drawings is creating fictional people and giving them different personalities.
I also have a YouTube channel based on my art called Art Story M3. I couldn’t post any videos recently because I was busy with the music channel but in the future, I’m hoping to upload new videos of my art. I have also been writing some books of my own and hopefully, soon, I will publish a series called Enchanted Kingdom.
Do you have a favourite among the story-based illustrations you have done?
Out of all of them, I don’t really have a favourite since I love all of them and whatever story I create, because each is unique from one another.
When did you start horse riding?
I started horse riding when I was about eight. But I don’t have my own horse. I really love horses and I love to ride them. Arab and Thoroughbred are my favourite horse breeds. And I always think that one day when I grow up, I will have my own stable with horses of different breeds.
Do you have any role models?
My dad is my best role model and inspiration, while my most favourite role model is Celine Dion. I have been watching her performing from the time I was young, since my parents used to watch her shows on TV. I have been admiring her throughout. Her singing style, how she captivates her audience, and her stage performances are so powerful and amazing to watch.
Apart from these do you engage in any other extracurricular activities?
I played badminton and chess in school and I swim too.
Do you have any tips for someone who would like to showcase their talent on an online platform? Are there any dos and don’ts?
Well, you have to keep the channel running and post new videos to increase followers and you shouldn’t always do the same type of videos on a channel. It’s good to have a change/creativity and it makes the channel more interesting and fun. Most importantly, you have to keep refining yourself steadily to retain your fan base.
Who supports you in these endeavours?
It’s really my dad who helped me do these covers, and he taught me to sing. He’s the main reason I’m here so I’d like to thank him a lot and my mom too for being there for me always during my highs and lows.