Interview with Jelani Maliik, aka Knightheart
MVNIFVST (pronounced Manifest) is a brand dedicated to representing the dreamers & believers. Humans are driven by aspiration and inspiration. The truth is, whether you’re subconsciously manifesting, or you’re actively working to will things into existence – we are constantly warping our reality to fit our dream. We Manifest our Destiny. MVNIFVST strives to create a network and brand on behalf of the individuals pushing every fiber of their being to pursue their ambition. They may call us crazy for believing we can do the impossible – but nothing is impossible when we MVNIFVST!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself as a creator before MVNIFVST came to be?
Hello, my name is Jelani Maliik – and I am CEO and Director of MVNIFVST (pronounced Manifest).
Before I started the company, my roots began with being an independent artist/musician. I have been making music professionally for 5 years now under the moniker Knightheart; creating 2 EPs and an Album while performing countless shows throughout the Ohio/Michigan area. My journey as an indie artist has taught me so much about what it takes to succeed and make a living off your passion. That is what prompted me to create MVNIFVST – to build a business structure surrounding the passion of making music.
How did MVNIFVST begin? Where did you get the idea, and how did it change/evolve as you made it a reality?
MVNIFVST really was an idea that formed a long time ago, however it took a while to actualize on the level that it is now. The intention of MVNIFVST is to offer resources, insight, and inspiration for creatives/entrepreneurs. My associates and I have always been proactive in the community even before the company was founded. I came to the conclusion that the amount of skill sets we had within our network was serviceable and worthy of monetization. The process of integrating creatives/entrepreneurs from different backgrounds into one comprehensive system required finding people dedicated to the vision. A lot of our team members have jobs, family lives, and are tied to many responsibilities – but remain consistent with pushing MVNIFVST to its full potential.
What have been some of the biggest challenges behind the scenes that people might not consider?
I strongly believe that the idea of being an indie artist/entrepreneur is romanticized. The brutal truth is you have to have the patience and self-assurance to create something from nothing without expectation. You cannot expect people to support you right away. You cannot expect to make money right away. You have to first plant the seed, water it, fertilize it, nourish it; all with the possibilities it will never grow. You have to be fully accountable for your successes and failures. You have to be your own boss. It can be a very intimidating thing, but if you have a warrior mentality, you can achieve anything.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of growing MVNIFVST?
The most rewarding aspect of MVNIFVST has been observing the subtle shifts in people’s self-belief through the energy we spread. We are a lifestyle brand, and I have seen firsthand how adopting the self-belief mindset we promote has affected our supporters and team. It has been a privilege watching independent entrepreneurs grow their fanbases and businesses by understanding and implementing the core fundamentals of what MVNIFVST represents.
Tell us a bit more about the company. What is at the heart of MVNIFVST? What are some of your long-term goals?
MVNIFVST is a Multi-Media Company & Life-Style Brand. Our primary goal is to inspire and elevate the artistic community. We have a passion for paving the way for artists and entrepreneurs to have a voice and platform within the culture. Every aspect of our world is affected by its creators. Everything created around us was once somebody’s idea. We advocate that it is important for creatives to get the resources and support they need to manifest their visions. They are providing the world a service that is worthy of recognition.
Tell us about your artists.
We currently have 3 artists officially under our MVNIFVST music line-up – Knightheart, Surreal Ramen, & Chloris the Fairy. However, we have many musicians we work closely with such as InSession Productions, Defonix, Press Play, Trell Blazin’, Luna Day, Zohan, & Gloombaby.
I would describe my sound as Knightheart as diverse and expansive. Sonically, I remain consistent in pushing the boundaries of my capabilities as a vocalist. My sounds vary from grunge hip-hop, to lofi-jazz, to pop-punk, to conscious hip-hop, to melodic trap, and the list goes on.
Surreal Ramen is a true storyteller and lyricist. Inspired by Japanese culture, he utilizes and arranges unique sounds within his music. Multi-faceted – Surreal Ramen produces, writes lyrics, does graphic design, and is a vocal performer. He recently dropped an album called YIKES! available on all platforms.
Chloris the Fairy is a vocal powerhouse. Their sound can only be described as soulful & transcending. They have recently released multiple singles this year, and are continuing to expand their musical catalogue. Another one of their talents is cosplaying. They are capable of transforming themselves into any character they desire through use of make-up, prop design, and prosthetics (all done themselves). (They are Non-Binary)
Any outside influences? Who/what has been your biggest inspiration along the way?
I have studied many notable and successful entrepreneurs throughout my career. There have been many artists who have reached a level of success through authentic hard work that I have been inspired by. Dizzy Wright, Russ, Logic, Rick Ross, Chance the Rapper, to name a few. There is a certain mentality that people who have reached a level of success have that I love to learn from. My biggest inspiration has been to prove to myself that I am capable of everything I know I can accomplish.
Do you think an artist can ever be truly satisfied with what they’ve put out to the world? Why or why not?
I was told something that has helped me not struggle with the curse of “perfectionism”:
“Art isn’t meant to be perfect, it’s meant to be real.”
Although I understand that it will be hard to ever be quite satisfied with a creation of your own, at some point you have to have acceptance. If it came from an authentic source, and you were moved to make it – then by all means it’s “perfect.” I believe most creators judge themselves according to how others will perceive them, instead of adopting the visionary standpoint: knowing some ideas may not be understood for a long time.
Is there anything about MVNIFVST, art, music, or life in general you want to say that we might not have covered above?
MVNIFVST would just like people to stay inspired. The world can be a tough place for dreamers. Stay dedicated. Love your passion. Believe you can make a life from it. If you need us, we’ll be here.