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Mani Jurdan: A Chicago Artist's Inspiring Journey

In a recent interview conducted by Judi Coleman, Associate Director of Development, we had the privilege of delving into the inspiring journey of a true Chicago artist, Mani Jurdan. This conversation took place after Mani's captivating performance at CHIL's Art of Expressions workshop, an event that provides a platform for youth to express themselves through spoken word poetry, painting, and various forms of creative self-expression. Mani's connection to this event and the passion that drives his artistry paints a vivid picture of the values that shape his work.


Mani Jurdan's journey from the streets of Chicago to the music stage is nothing short of remarkable. As a Chicago native, he carries with him the values instilled by his father, a man of integrity and a strong moral compass. Mani's life journey is deeply influenced by these principles, and he is on a mission to stay true to his roots, all while paying homage to his late brother and the legacy of his people through his music.


The most profound and life-altering moment in Mani's journey occurred in 2016 when he lost his younger brother, Yuri Hardy. Yuri was a straight-A student and a talented dancer, a beautiful spirit who also happened to be Mani's best friend. His tragic passing left an indelible mark on Mani's life, inspiring him to create music that honors his brother's memory. In his music, Mani channels the essence of his brother's spirit, using it as a powerful source of inspiration to create meaningful and impactful art.


"I do this for him, and for my older brother, who also passed away, and my ancestors and my lineage - what that represents for my people," he reflects. This heartfelt dedication to his family's legacy propels Mani forward, reminding him of the deeper purpose behind his artistry.


Mani's artistic journey commenced at an early age, driven by an innate desire to become a creative force in the world. His passion for rapping was ignited at the tender age of 11, and as he grew, so did his talent. High school saw Mani stepping onto the stage, a pivotal moment that allowed him to join the thriving open mic scene in Chicago. Recognizing the importance of mentorship, Mani found a guiding light in Phenom, who played a significant role in shaping his artistic evolution. Mani's continuous quest for knowledge and skill enhancement fuels his journey as he connects with his audience on a deeper level.


Mani Jurdan is inspired by the rich tapestry of poets and rappers in Chicago who are dedicated to supporting and uplifting their communities. Notably, artists like Vic Mensa have participated in initiatives like CHIL's Sleep Out in 2020, showcasing their commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of Chicago's youth. Mani shares this spirit of community engagement, using his platform to entertain and contribute to the betterment of his city. In this regard, he considers himself a leader, just like the artists who have inspired him.


Mani continues to push the boundaries of his artistry, making a significant impact on Chicago's vibrant music scene and beyond. As Mani Jurdan evolves as an artist, we eagerly anticipate the stories he will share through his music and the positive change he will bring to the world. Chicago has nurtured yet another exceptional talent, and the world is beginning to take notice. Mani's story serves as a reminder that, despite life's challenges, our passions and our roots can guide us to places we never imagined. Stay tuned for more inspiring music and stories from Mani Jurdan as he carries his legacy forward.

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