As Profiled for the Cherry Six Event Program
by Matt Kalkhoff

If a Utopian nightclub experience actually exists on this mortal plane we call Earth, I believe I witnessed it firsthand last year at the Cherry 5 Closing Party at Nation. Propelled by a frenzied whirlwind of pulsating beats, penetrating rhythms, and powerful vocals, the incomparable DJ Manny Lehman led thousands of party revelers on a paranormal pilgrimage to the Promised Land under the potent spell of his phonographic prowess. Consistently stellar performances have become the norm for this Puerto Rican prodigy, and the remarkable combination of his exceptional talent, a playfully personable disposition, and the uncanny ability to dominate any room he plays has catapulted Manny to the pinnacle of dance floor prominence.

The above paragraph, slightly revised from an article I wrote for Miamigo magazine last June, should help prepare you for what’s in store at the Cherry Six Closing Party on Sunday night. Manny has consistently amazed revelers across the continent, and there is no doubt that his performance this year will be equally sublime.

The past year has been a whirlwind of artistic accomplishments for Manny. Not only has he headlined just about every major circuit party in the country, but he was also recently recruited to remix Madonna’s new single, “What It Feels Like For A Girl.” It’s no surprise that Manny was absolutely ecstatic when the head of 4Play Records (the label that releases Manny’s CDs) told him he had made the arrangements with Madonna’s manager. “Before I knew it,” Manny recalls, “I had a Madonna a cappella in my hands.” He’s still waiting to hear if his mix will be included on the single’s commercial release, but he is a little worried that an unfortunate leak of his version of the song on Napster might jeopardize this incredible opportunity. Either way, this is one hot song that will surely find its way into peak rotation Sunday night.

Although he loves DJing, Manny is ready to take a more active role in the creation of what we hear on the dance floor. With the release of his next CD, which he promises will focus more on original productions, Manny begins strategically moving in that direction. He has long been an advocate of breaking new talent on the dance floor (think Ce Ce Peniston and her mega-hit “Finally”), but he will be making a conscious effort to rededicate himself to discovering and developing new dance artists. He already has a “special little diva” in mind, and is planning to finally unveil an exceptional all-girl group he has been cultivating for some time now.

In addition to his frantic circuit schedule, regular gigs in Los Angeles, New York, and South Beach keep Manny’s frequent flyer miles accumulating at an impressive pace, not to mention occasional sets in Washington and San Francisco. Velvet Nation has even ranked Manny as its single most requested DJ. Manny says he finds “the crowds in DC to be very responsive and diverse in musical tastes, [which] helps keep me on my toes.” Recalling last year’s Cherry event, which Manny referred to as “over the top” and “probably one of the best parties I’ve ever played” in another interview, he continues, “I’m proud to be back for a second year helping a very high-profile event. It always feels good to contribute to the community.”

After a busy summer playing Gay Pride events across North America, Manny plans to scale back his hectic DJ schedule so that he can concentrate more on his studio work and artist development. He will, however, continue spinning live at select circuit events, and will take a trip abroad to share his immense talent with European audiences. An incredibly successful past few years notwithstanding, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Manny Lehman has only just begun to realize his extraordinary potential.

© 2001 Matt Kalkhoff
This profile was featured in the Cherry Six Event Program Washington, DC | April 2001