Ishall Manifest, a new destiny By Kathryn Gleason Ishall Manifest has been blessed with music his whole life. Born Floyd George III on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas in 1967, Ishall was initially inspired by the omnipresent crooning of his Uncle Gene George, who would sing his way through his shifts at the family restaurant. It is his Uncle Gene's style that dominates Ishall's voice today. Ishall learned to compose melodies from his grandfather, Floyd George Sr., who he described as a 'manic' whistler. 'I couldn't escape the music,' said Ishall, 'Whatever was going on, there was always music in the background.' Ishall's father Rahsul is also an accomplished singer. Rahsul garnered his first wide-spread attention in the U.S. when he won five consecutive 'Night at the Apollo' talent competitions. Rahsul has toured nationally with his groups Lambsbread and Born In The Hills, and is now a solo artist based in the East Bay. Ishall sings to represent his home in St. Thomas. He left his beloved island home of Charlotte Amalie as a 21 year old after Hurricane Hugo decimated the tourist industry that had always supported his family. With only a handful of gold chains to finance his move, Ishall headed straight to New York City to seek his own fame and fortune. Ishall started singing in the streets of NYC, it was there that he met up with another young singer named Kemo. The two would practice for hours in underground garages to hone their sound. Ishall and Kemo enjoyed a quick ride to recognition, and were soon performing regularly at the Palladium nightclub. Their gig ended abruptly when Kemo was shot in the head on Halloween in 1993. Kemo would not be the first of Ishall's friends to face extreme violence. His friend and musical collaborator Jah Buddah was murdered in Oakland in 2002. Ishall carries his music and it's messages that promote hope and positive human values for his community and all those who can no longer speak. 'I come from a decade of lost children,' said Ishall. 'A lot of my friends are either dead or incarcerated. No I try to do everything in opposite. When you see so many of your peers fall victim to the times-you want to be able to do something. I try to spread love.' After moving around a bit, Ishall started working as a chef, capitalizing on the training he received from his grandmother at the family restaurant on St. Thomas. Ishall said he enjoys the creativity associated with cooking, as well as the tradition of putting love and nurturing vibes out for the people through his gifts. The music is never far away, though, as co-workers and friends can attests, Ishall is always singing! It has long been his vision to be a working artist. 'I never really thought about singing as a way to accomplish riches,' said Ishall, 'but it is something I have always wanted to do. It's the one thing that gives me reason for life.'