Published on May 25th, 2023 | by MuzikScribe


Manny Mohr: “This Is Who I Am, Not Just What I Do!”


Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Manfred Mohr? 

As a small child I couldn’t be still. I was always moving to some kind of rhythm; feet, hands, head and singing everything. I would say I was 3.

Now you’re a native of Chicago, IL, correct? So, growing up in “the Windy City’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?

Growing up with Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ohio Players, James Brown, Jacksons 5, Michael Jackson, Parliament, Funkadelic, The Isley Brothers, etcetera. So much great music growing up. Stepping was always a thing, and House took over Chicago.

In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?

My true style is no style. I am capable of writing it all. I mostly started out with R&B and Hip Hop, but Chicago labels were House music labels so I had to adapt. However, I can say most people would say I’m funky, abstract and out the box.

What particular string of events actually led to your initial linking up with Carlos “Charlie Babie” Rosario, J.J. Flores & Onofrio Lollino, and the ultimate formation of 20 Fingers?

It’s a long story, but I was brought in to work with Charlie and JJ. I was brought in to write songs and produce with them, and Charlie and I had immediate success. JJ and I did some awesome projects, too, having success with Max-A-Million. The label wanted me to create something different with these guys, and I think we delivered. Onofrio (Lollino) came a little later for the first Gillette album, and him and I did some amazing stuff together, too.

Can you give a quick rundown of your musical credits / discography?

I’ve worked with many Chicago greats such as: Steve (Silk) Hurley on I.D. Records, Jamie Principle, Chantay Savage, of course 20 Fingers, which featured Gillette, Roula, Max-A-Million, Rochelle and Tommye Miller. With 20 Fingers, I achieved Gold and Platinum records around the world, ASCAP Award, many songs in Billboard Top 100 Pop Charts, some Top 40. Then working with the legendary David Kershenbaum, which was amazing.

Take me through a typical studio session…

I don’t usually write down lyrics. I usually feed and coach the artist while they’re on the mic. There is usually a great deal of laughing and good energy. Charlie and I would work day and night writing some fun crazy stuff. It’s basically, we show up and make something happen.

Is there anyone you haven’t already worked with that’s definitely on your future wish list?

Not really. I am happy to be a pioneer who created some really fun unique music for the world, which is still on million’s playlists to this day. I’d rather work with someone who is less experienced and has an open mind, to learn and take direction. We like to create our own stars, but these days it is really hard to find because everyone has a label.

Switching gears here…

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

This is who I am, not just what I do. I don’t know how to stop, so I will always be writing and producing until the end. These days I am more selective who I work with. I have no reason to chase anything anymore, so I just do what I love. These days I write Gospel, R&B in addition to House, Electronic, Dance, Pop, etcetera. I think the key is I let go of the business to some degree, too crooked, greedy and selfish.

What do you want people to get from your music?

Depends on what I write. If it’s from the soul, I want to touch their souls. If it’s fun, let’s have fun. However, good energy is the connection I want with the listeners. it’s really not about me, but more about them.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of music?

Too much to measure. With the digital era and the internet, we are very privileged to hear some pretty unique and cool stuff. These days the audience is in charge and everybody has a label, everybody is a producer, etcetera.

Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?

I do voiceovers these days for different companies. I am the production director for four radio stations in the Chicago area. My company, Most Wanted Productions, produces big commercials for concert events, etcetera, all over the nation. It is still growing, so that is what I am working on. My son, Toonz Music, is a really good songwriter / producer, who has a couple of great projects he is finishing and I am focused on getting him going as well.

To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?

Receiving our Gold record for “Short Dick Man.” Working with David Kershenbaum. Taking artists’ and producers’ careers to another level from ground zero. Reading about Demi Moore in Rolling Stone Magazine saying she sang “Short Dick Man” on the set of the movie ‘Disclosure,’ starring her and Michael Douglas. Reading somewhere that Prince heard the clean version “Short Short Man” at a club, and took offense and made the DJ stop playing it! Lol. The 20 Fingers days gave me the opportunity to build careers with people who never even dreamed they would be stars. I have kicked off many successful careers for many people. It was a blast watching these people become stars and touring, all starting from my songs with my 20 Fingers bros.

What’s an average day like for you?

These days, I still write songs, produce commercials and work with Charlie from time to time. Him and I are the only 20 Fingers members that speak and work together. These days I am mostly chill.

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…

I love our loyal fans. Almost 30 years and our songs stream about one million per month to this day.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

My favorite part is working with people with good energy. Developing stars from nothing, and helping others become successful. The worst part is the business greed and the crooks, which we had our fair share of.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Keep a good lawyer around, and have confidence in yourself. Also, no matter who you are working with, do good business. Also, handle the business first and never take anything for granted because people are unpredictable and will turn on you.

“Short Dick Man” is such a classic record — How did this particular composition come about? Who came up with its concept? And, please describe for me the overall studio vibes on that fateful day?

Charlie had a track, and he needed a hook. So, my concept was to create something for the women. Charlie also loved this idea, and we were trying different things. There were so many negative songs about women, so we decided to write something for women that they could have fun with. I wanted to find something that a woman could say that would “shake men up” and it did! Lol. I came up with “Don’t Want No Short Dick,” and I wrote all the jokes and crazy stuff. Sandra Gillette, I believe was a receptionist or something. JJ actually knew her first. We brought her in and gave her $100 to demo the song. Gillette was not a singer at all, but, man, she had this amazing personality and we laughed through the entire session. We created the song thinking it would be a cool club song for women. As we all know, it turned out to be a song that went viral in 2021 and 2022.

Lastly, what’s next for Manny Mohr?

20 Fingers is back, and we have begun to tour. Thanks to the artist, Corina, who recommended someone incredible to our agent, Ruben Dario Martinez [Nene Musik]. Ruben and I auditioned a young, hot and incredibly talented choreographer / singer, Nyah Jewel from New York. She already knew all of the 20 Fingers material and already had dance routines to our catalog. She is so amazing! Her very first show was at I Love Dance. It was a co-headlined show with Robin S., Turbo B of SNAP!, Lorna, Corona, LayZee a.k.a. Mr. President and the Vengaboys in Mexico City, Mexico. The show was at the Pepsi Center. SOLD OUT show with over 7,000 people in the audience. 20 Fingers, featuring Nyah Jewel, was a surprise and went on before the Vengaboys. 20 Fingers, featuring Nyah Jewel, killed it! 20 Fingers, featuring Nyah Jewel, is also part of the Decades of Dance Tour 90’s Edition along with La Bouche, Jenny Berggren of Ace of Base, Wanda Dee of The KLF, Charvoni of Black Box and Jocelyn Enriquez. We can’t wait for the world to hear Nyah Jewel on our ‘90’s hits and new music. The fans love her!

I have also been writing a lot lately to someday soon release a self-titled album of different sounds from me. This is something I’ve never done, but probably should’ve done years ago. I have projects with Tommye Miller [formerly of Max-A-Million “Sexual Healing” lead singer], Charles Parker, Cecy Santana, Lane McCray [La Bouche] and of course working with up-and-coming songwriter / producer, Toonz Music, and others. Charlie and I have re-recorded a couple of our hits, and look forward to releasing them soon.

Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?

And, any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

I would like to thank everyone I’ve ever worked with for trusting me with your careers. I would like to thank all of the fans who rock with Manny Mohr and 20 Fingers. Of course, I want to thank my 20 Fingers bros; Charlie Baby, JJ Flores and Onofrio Lollino. Also, Ruben Dario Martinez of Nene Musik and superstar, Nyah Jewel, who is now part of the new 20 Fingers movement.

Nyah Jewel


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