Buzznet Exclusive: Meet One Direction’s Talented New Gal Pal Manika!

One Direction may be music’s current hotness, but Top 40 fans are about to be rocked by up and coming pop-powerhouse, Manika! The 18-year-old, who has already taken center stage at events like the Hollywood Style Awards and Wango Tango, is gearing up to hit the road opening for One Direction on a string of summer tour dates! While promoting her new ep Middle Of Hollywood, out May 22, Buzznet got the chance to chat with the LA native who told us all about getting her career kickstarted, celebrity crushes and of course the guys of One Direction!

Check out our interview below, listen to Middle of Hollywood‘s debut single “Good Girls!” and keep coming back for exclusive tour updates from Manika while she’s on the road with One Direction!

How did you get started with your music career?

I started off singing, writing songs on my own and performing at every opportunity! Then picking up the piano and guitar. Next, I was introduced to CeCe Sammy, who was a vocal coach on the UK’s “Pop Idol” and worked with a bunch of artists and Frank DiLeo who was Michael Jackson’s long-term manager. We just clicked and it took off from there.

When did you decide you wanted to be a singer?

Music has always been my passion for as long as I can remember. I don’t think there was one particular moment, I’ve just always known.

What are you most excited for on your tour with One Direction?

Like I don’t even know right now! I am just so excited and thrilled to be a part of this. I can’t wait to share my music with everyone.

Are you a big One Direction fan? Who is your favorite member?

Of course, I am. Directioner all the way! Love their music! How can I choose just one!!

Who is your celebrity crush?

Well, I’m going on tour with One Direction! So how could I choose anyone else J… just sayin…LOL!

You’ve worked with the NOH8 campaign and a lot of other charities, why do you think its important to be involved?

Knowing that something you do, even something small, can make a real difference in someone’s life is l impactful! I had the opportunity to go and read to cancer patients in hospitals and saw how something as little as that could make someone’s day. I also think it’s important to support people who are standing up for a good cause, so that’s why I get involved with different campaigns and charities.

What has been the coolest moment in your career so far?

Right now is really exciting! I’m about to go on tour with one of the biggest groups in the world!! My new EP “The Middle Of Hollywood EP” will be on iTtunes and in select stores on May 22, my single “Good Girls” is hitting radio in June and I’ll be shooting the music video very soon!! So I guess right now!

Who are your favorite singers or bands? Who inspires you most in your career?

I love Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Shakira and Pink. Different elements from each inspire me.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I wrote and published a children’s book when I was fifteen.

What is your pre-performance ritual?

I know it’s a guy thing to chest bump, but me and my dancers chest bump before hitting the stage. Not too hard though…ouch!

What is your favorite thing about performing?

I feel so at home on stage and free to be myself. When I’m on stage, it’s like a different world….me connecting with the audience. It’s a surreal experience.

What is your favorite fashion trend right now?

Well, something I know I’m obsessed with right now are light-up sneakers, especially when I’m dancing on stage….love it!

What is your dating deal breaker?

Don’t be smelly. Smelling good is a turn on!

You can catch Manika on tour with One Direction at these stops and pre-order her ep HERE!

22-May Mohegan Sun Arena (with One Direction) Uncasville, CT

24-May Patriot Center (with One Direction) Fairfax, VA

25-May IZOD Center (with One Direction) East Rutherford, NJ

26-May Beacon Theatre (2 SHOWS with One Direction) New York, NY

28-May Susquehanna Bank Center (with One Direction) Camden, NJ

29-May Molson Amphitheatre (with One Direction) Toronto, Ontario

31-May Molson Amphitheatre (with One Direction) Toronto, Ontario

1-Jun Fox Theatre (with One Direction) Detroit, MI

2-Jun Allstate Arena (with One Direction) Chicago, IL

9-Jun Girl Scouts “Rock The Mall” Washington, DC

13-Jun Event Ctr at San Jose State (with One Direction) San Jose, CA

14-Jun Paramount Theatre (with One Direction) Oakland, CA

17-Jun Honda Center (with One Direction) Anaheim, CA

23-Jun Gexa Energy Pavillion (with One Direction) Dallas, TX

24-Jun Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion (with One Direction) Houston, TX

26-Jun Arena at Gwinnett Center (with One Direction) Atlanta, GA

27-Jun Time Warner Cable Arena (with One Direction) Charlotte, NC

29-Jun 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre (with One Direction) Tampa, FL

30-Jun Amway Center (with One Direction) Orlando, FL

1-Jul BankAtlantic Center (with One Direction) Sunrise, FL

8-Sep Girl Scouts “GirlaPalooza” Atlanta, GA

What do you think of Manika? Let us know in the comments!