Manak was born as Latif Mohammed on 15 November 1947, to Nikka Khan, in the village of Jalal in Bathinda district of Indian Punjab. Sardar Partap Singh Kehron (Punjab Chief Minister) penned the name Kuldip Manak, after being amazed by the quality of his voice at a school prize giving. He completed his education from Jalal Government High School, where he was a keen hockey player. He had an inclination towards singing from an extremely young age. He was constantly persuaded by his ustad to graft in his raags and perform on stage. In his early career he became the baadshah of kaliyan. He had lyrics written by famous writers such as Debi Maksoospuri, Dev Threekewala and Jandu Litranwala. His most known tracks were gadeya millade sohne yaar, tere tille ton and dulleya ve tokra. Manak learnt the hazuri raagi methods of gaiki.