GREEN BAY, Wisc., (WFRV) -Jesse Mancha is the first in his family or migrant farm workers, military members, truck drivers and educators to pick up a guitar.
A regular at the rooftop bar at Titletown Brewing in Green Bay, listeners admire his tip of the hat to Hispanic tradition with original songwriting that allows him a unique sound for a very individual voice.
Originally from Texas, he recalls vividly his family’s journey to Wisconsin.
“We were very poor,” Mancha recalls. “In fact our car broke down on the way up here and my dad sold it for 20 bucks. I’m dead serious. Our first night in Green Bay was spent under a tree.”
At a young age, he recalls being treated differently because of the color of his skin and the funny looks he’d get when he spoke about Hispanic Heritage Month to his classmates or neighbors.
“People never took it seriously,” Mancha tells Local 5 News. “They just waved it off.”
For the self taught artist, music became a way to define himself. He loves to tell a story in Spanish or in English and his favorite genre is Honky Tonk.
And while he observes Hispanic Heritage Month, he’d prefer to be called Indigenous.
“We are indigenous. We are native to this land.”
Asked whether he would prefer to be known as a great Indigenous artist or a great artist who happens to be Indigenous?
“I just want to be known as Jesse Mancha,” he replies. “I’m proud to be Mexican. But as long as people see me for who I am, that would be cool.”