Talent. Experience. Ambition. Passion. Any one of these attributes alone may lead to success. But when all four converge in equal force, well, now you’re talking superstar status. A standout in this exclusive club even among his peers, Manny Lehman is a musical chameleon whose abundant innate gifts, coupled with a renowned stamina, have helped him fashion one of the more prolific and enduring careers on the global party circuit.

Custom tailoring an aggressive hodgepodge of melodic anthems and militant percussion for each room and audience, Manny always delivers the goods. Perhaps the only thing more remarkable than his impressive talent and keen sense of perception is how he has managed to stay at the top of his game for so long, with nary a scratch on his record.

Atlantis is the largest gay and lesbian tour operator in the world, hosting 20,000 guests annually on all-gay cruises and resorts.  Manny Lehman is the musical chameleon whose abundant innate gifts, coupled with a renowned stamina, have helped him fashion one of the most prolific and enduring careers on the global party circuit.  The one thing both know how to do is offer an unforgettable experience.  Now Silver Label, America’s #1 dance label, has united the two powerhouses ─ allowing fans to bring the adventure home ─ with the first in a series of new Atlantis branded music albums, MOVE: Atlantis Dance 2008.

The idea for the Atlantis branded music series originated with Silver Label head, Victor Lee. “Atlantis is the number one gay travel company in the world.  We are the number one dance music label. It seemed a natural and perfect partnership,” explained Lee.  

Oscar Yuan, Vice President of Marketing for Atlantis Events, agreed.  “Music sets the tone for so much of an Atlantis cruise.  This series of new albums invites our guests to bring some of the adventures they experience on board home with them.”

Manny Lehman was the obvious choice to produce and mix the first Atlantis Branded album, continued Lee.  “Not only is Manny a Silver Label artist and one of the main DJs on the Atlantis Cruises, he is one of the top gay DJs in the USA.”

One of an elite crew of DJs who has headlined every major event on the gay party circuit -- twice, often more -- Manny credits his highly-acclaimed performances in 1999 at both the White Party in Palm Springs and Montreal’s Black & Blue Recovery Party as the catalysts that sent his career soaring into overdrive. A pivotal gig at South Beach’s Club Amnesia soon followed, as did later residencies at the legendary Twilo in New York City, Miami’s Crobar, Factory and Here in Los Angeles, Nation in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Avalon (fka Limelight) and Roxy.

Manny has left an indelible mark on dance music culture through his various roles behind the scenes. During his stint developing new talent as an executive at A&M Records, Manny discovered powerhouse diva CeCe Peniston. He later executive produced her first single, “Finally,” which went on to become one of the definitive club anthems of the early '90s. Always on the lookout for tomorrow’s stars -- “I love to find diamonds in the rough and help polish them up,” he says -- Manny continues to develop new artists and has founded his own management company.

He also lends his talent to more established artists, not the least of whom are Janet Jackson, Cher, Madonna and Sara Brightman. His chart-topping remixes of “Come On Get Up,” “When the Money’s Gone,” “What It Feels Like for a Girl,” and “Harem,” respectively, have solidified his status as a hotshot remix specialist. His version of Ibiza’s “VIP,” and his original production of “Harder,” featuring Stefanie, were massive underground club hits that pushed the boundaries of his talents to the edge.

Manny’s production prowess is further evidenced by the critical and commercial success of his various compilation mix CDs. Bangin’ (Progressive Beats) (Tommy Boy), Party Groove: Winter Party (Centaur), Circuit Sessions Volumes 01 and 04, and A Night in Orbit (4 Play Records) have each paved the way for his latest endeavors : the double set CD Freedom ( Tommy boy), which featured the two original productions, “Anthem” and “Freedom,” and the dance remix for the title song from Rent, “Change of Seasons,” ; the haunting dance remix of “The Wings” title track from Brokeback Mountain ; and Manny’s current Tommyboy Super-Project which is another double set CD, featuring eight original tracks, including the new single by Dance Diva Taylor Dayne, “ I’m Not Featurin’ You."

Move: Atlantis Dance 2008 marks a departure from Lehman’s trademark sound of aggressive vocals, pulsating drums and hard tribal beats.  “The album leans a bit more European than what my fans might be used to,” explained Lehman.  “We consciously tried to appeal to a wider audience due to the diversity of the Atlantis clientele.”

Still, there is no shortage of diva power.  Kristine W, Ultra Nate and Inaya Day are all prominently featured, along with Manny Lehman’s un-released version of Taylor Dayne’s “I’m Not Featuring You."

“I’m really excited to be a part of this project,” continued Lehman. “Atlantis has taken over where the circuit parties left off.  Atlantis offers a unique experience where guests can create their own universe for a week, enjoy different cultures and create new circles of friends in a positive fun environment, then go dance their ass off in the middle of the ocean!”

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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