From releasing his latest EP titled Stratospheric in February to performing on season 9 of NBC’s The Voice, Seton Hall alum Manny Cabo (‘94) has achieved some of his goals since his days at SHU.
Growing up in Elizabeth, N.J., Cabo attended Seton Hall University in pursuit of a law degree, but switched his major to visual communications when his passion for photography was rekindled.
“I’ve always been a visual guy” he said.
As the photography editor for The Setonian, and founder of the Seton Hall Film Association, Cabo constantly found himself spending up to 12 hours a day in SHU’s darkroom, which he says was a very depressing place when he first arrived.
“When I got there the darkroom was just complete shambles. It was a closet of chemicals,” Cabo said.
With a little revamping though, the darkroom became a place where his creativity could shine through.
His photography eventually awarded him his own art gallery in the Seton Hall student center to show off his work.
“It was a really big deal at the time,” Cabo said. “I just love the fact that I can capture a moment in time that I’ll never get back but I can always revisit that moment.”
He learned that art was a process and pursued a more musically artistic path upon graduating.
Cabo had an interest in music at a young age when he directed his school play in the fifth grade, going on to take up percussion throughout his school years, and ultimately singing later on in his life.
Like many musicians though, Cabo said he faced creative hardships and ended up taking quite a few years off from singing.
He eventually found his way back to music though, saying “you can’t walk away from who you are.”
Auditioning for, and appearing on season 9 of The Voice, Cabo said it took a lot of coaxing from his best friend to get him to even go to the initial audition.
During those years he took off he realized he never really had the chance to enjoy the artistic process.
“The only reason I went [to the initial The Voice audition] was just to say I’m doing it for me. Up until that time I was taking the long way. I never really took the time out to enjoy the process,” Cabo said.
After a grueling audition process, Cabo made it to the blind auditions and got the attention of all four judges.
He ultimately chose Team Adam, but was eliminated in the battle rounds.
“It was an amazing ride and being on Team Adam was pretty exhilarating,” Cabo said.
He still keeps in contact with other contestants from not just his season of The Voice but with those from other seasons as well.
He believes it’s important to keep those connections and to always be networking.
“You never know when you’re going to need them or they’re going to need you,” he added. “I’m just very big on helping other artists.”
Recently, Cabo has been busy performing both locally and across the country.
He released his first EP “Stratospheric,” in February. He hopes to receive the needed funds from performances to make another EP or even an album very soon.
“Hopefully, 10 years from now I can be known as someone who not only is known for my artistic talents but also my humanitarian talents, and inspiring the world. I enjoy working with kids and enlightening their career paths,” he said.
Justine Strzepek can be reached at email@example.com