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A white pair of neatly folded bed sheets and a quaint couch peer out from behind returning sophomore and burgeoning R&B star Mille Manny as NewsOne recently chatted with him about the upcoming semester at Tennessee State University (TSU). The 19-year-old business major student is one of many returning TSU undergrads who were not able to secure on-campus housing due to the HBCU’s record enrollment this year. According to News Channel 5 Tennessee, more than 2,500 first-time freshmen and transfer students are expected to attend the university for the 2022-2023 academic year. To meet the growing demand for on-campus housing, school officials have put some students in temporary hotels until dorms become available. Manny is one of them.

In August, the university opened up a new 700-bed residence hall to expand housing for students, but the facility has been reserved for a select number of freshmen and upperclassmen. “A lot of freshmen got the brand new dorm and everyone else was just sprinkled throughout the campus,” Manny told us about the housing situation over a lengthy zoom call. “Those who weren’t able to fit were put in off-campus hotels.” Last year, Manny had access to on-campus housing, but now, due to the shortage, the university has placed him at a Best Western hotel near campus until a dorm becomes available.


He’s making the most out of the situation

Over the last few months, some students and parents have complained about TSU’s lack of housing. Some feel as though they have been cheated out of the traditional on-campus experience, while a few returning undergrads expressed safety concerns about the location of their temporary hotel lodging. But Manny seems to be handling the situation with ease. 

“I can’t complain. I got my own room. My own bathroom and we get breakfast in the morning,” he said with an endearing smile. “For me, I would say it’s more good than bad. The only downside is that it’s like 10 minutes away from campus. So, I have to drive to school, but most of my classes are online anyway. “

In early August, TSU sophomores, juniors, and seniors were offered the option to sign up for online classes due to the university’s housing shortage. It’s not the ideal on-campus experience but Manny has been making the most out of the situation, and he’s not letting the minor setback stop his education or career goals. On move-in day, Manny bumped into a few other musical peers currently making noise at TSU, including Nashville artist LotisMusic and his producer buddy Ty. So when he doesn’t have his head buried in the books, Manny often links up with them to make music at the hotel.

“We all came together and made like five songs,” Manny, who recently performed at TSU’s Back To School Bash, gushed. “It was really just a vibe. It felt like we were on the road traveling and we stopped at a hotel right before a show and just made a song.”

The trio is currently putting the finishing touches on a track called “Life Ain’t Fair,” a tune about overcoming life’s unexpected hurdles. “It’s literally that right there. Life ain’t fair but you can’t let life stop you from doing what you want to do or discourage you from anything,” he explained of the track’s powerful message. 

Mille Manny’s rising music career

Manny always dreamed of becoming a singer as a young child. “I just felt that music was something that I was always good in. I remember watching movies as a kid and seeing a person dancing and singing on stage, and I would always say, ‘That’s going to be me.’”

Now, his musical aspirations are slowly unfolding. In 2019, Manny appeared as a contestant on Lifetime’s reality TV show Miss T’s Music Factory. The rising star ended up winning the competition but, the victory was short-lived. Sadly, the show was canceled before his episode aired. The minor pitfall didn’t stop his ambition for music. After hard work and some serious sweat equity, the talented artist landed two synch placements on NBA 2K the following year. 

Fans are still reeling off of Manny’s 2021 debut EP First Semester, a 6-song collection that chronicles his life in college and showcases his positive and self-assured energy. Manny was blown away by the reception from some of his fellow peers at TSU when he released the project.

“I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have any expectations for it. I was just excited to put it out,” he recalled of the significant moment. “It was a pretty good turnout. The whole campus had flyers everywhere. People were supporting me.”

Now, the bubbling musician hopes to use his business degree at TSU  to help scale his music career. “I feel like you have to know how to market yourself in order to be successful in this industry. I don’t like to call it the music industry, because it’s more than that. It’s a music business,” he said. “If you don’t know the business side of it, you’re gonna be messed up in the long run.”

Manny doesn’t know when he’ll be receiving a dorm on campus, but with his music career quickly soaring, the young star may not be in school for much longer. “I feel like I’m about to be out of here anyway, to the point where my music is taking off,” he added. “I feel like it’s happening sooner than I think.”

Check out Manny’s latest single “Foreign Lover” below.


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