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"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

Original Work


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.


Malli, a band named after the jasmine flower in Kannada, a South Indian language, is a project that delves into the concept of home, both in its literal and figurative sense. Born out of the personal journey of an immigrant who relocated to the United States over four years ago, Malli is on a journey to understand the essence of belonging. Drawing inspiration from South Indian traditions, where jasmine flowers (known as "Malli") are intricately woven into garlands each morning and sold to adorn people's hair or grace altars, 


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.


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)

Chandbibi and the Waste Candidates


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The song “Dormir Pour Rêver” ("I Lay Me Down To Sleep,") was inspired by the Tahitien mural, “D'où venons-nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous” or translated, “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” painted by the artist, Paul Gauguin.

When composer Jane McNealy and collaborator, Alice Kuhns first started researching Gauguin’s life with the idea of turning it into a musical, McNealy wrote "the more I learned about Gauguin’s life, the more there were so many unanswered questions; What happens when we look back and reevaluate our life ? Are we filled with regret and questions that cannot be answered? How do we resolve our doubts and justify our existence? Does it matter?"

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