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Mo Pop Artist Feature: Shortly

“I want Shortly to be a community and a symbol for self actualization, confidence, and growth”

Detroit’s own Alexandria Maniak will be debuting her Mo Pop Festival performance alongside artists such as Bon Iver, Alvvays, Clario, Rex Orange County, and many more respectable artists. Maniak is the prime mover behind her solo project Shortly, signing with Triple Crown Records at the end of 2017.

Maniak has made appearances at BLED Fest and Spring Fling this year, along with two most recent tours supporting Many Rooms and Bad Bad Hats. She will be embarking on an upcoming fall tour this September in support of Mom Jeans and Just Friends. It is very exciting to see Maniak on another Mom Jeans tour, with her first time touring with the band being summer of 2017.

Maniak released her first single through Triple Crown Records, “Spare Time”. Maniak recorded the single with guitairst Austin Williams at Headroom Philadelphia, and was recorded by Joe Reinhart.

Contributor Alexis Backus had the chance to talk with Alexandria Maniak regarding Mo Pop Festival and whats next. You can catch Shortly’s set on Saturday July 28th on the River Stage at 2:15pm.

Alexis Backus: When was Shortly formed and what is the origin of your band name?

Alex Maniak: Shortly was officially formed in June of 2016, upon quitting the band that I had been writing with for years, in pursuit of independence. I used to go by my given name for solo music, but the sound I attached to it was different from the way that I felt and the kind of music I’d been writing for myself since. “Shortly” was a name that I chose quickly and with the intention of representing the feelings that I found surrounding my body of work- the puberty of emotion, and the waiting to share it.

AB: What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs, if any?

AM: My songs are about a lot of things provided by a freeform writing process, like journaling. I touch a lot on previous relationships, romantic and platonic, unavoidable circumstances, and yearning to change. Ultimately, though, my songs are an illustrated self-reflection- I like to explore the way that these things felt and have felt since, and find resolution in that.

AB: With your most recent single “Spare Time,” do you have any other releases in the works? 

AM: In December, my guitarist and good friend Austin and I headed to Philadelphia and recorded a good handful of material. I have it, and you’ll have it soon, too.

AB: What made you want to start a full band for Shortly and how have your live shows evolved since? 

AM: I had just come out of a full-band when I started this solo project, so unlike I would have when I was an acoustic singer-songwriter and pianist, I found myself picking up a strat, hitting things with sticks, and humming bass parts in my head. It felt natural to me to compose entire environments, so I recorded them that way from the start (Matthew was recorded a month after I began the project). I started a full band to help create the environment I heard in my head when I played the songs alone, and I think that the full band has done just that. The lyrics and the emotion are still there, but so are the things that were happening in my head the whole time. It’s like a skeleton covered in a body, though I wouldn’t say that playing solo is bare-bone – more closely related to a different body altogether.

AB: What can we expect from your set at Mo Pop Festival? 

AM: At Mo Pop, my closest friends and I are going cut ourselves open to showcase what we’ve been developing for these last two years. We will be playing through the unreleased body of work Austin and I recorded, and I’ll share insight on all of it. It will be a blend of everything I’ve done thus far, like a fireworks display of a solo project.

AB: What excites you most about being a part of this years Mo Pop Festival lineup? 

AM: Being a part of a Mo Pop Festival lineup at all.

Separately from that, it seems like everyone playing holds a different heartstring of mine! Bon Iver and Sean Carey’s music are deeply influential for me and were the tunes to many morning cross country practices, piano covers, and late night drives. Billie Ellish and Clairo and Alvvays have been empowering for me as a female artist finding my way through genre, exploring pop, anti-pop, vinyl, red pants, and electric guitars. Rex Orange County and St. Vincent have served as a soundtrack to many days in my new apartment and sound like sunshine.

AB: What is your ultimate goal and direction for Shortly?

AM: My ultimate goal for Shortly is to keep it up. I realized when I started this project that it just kept going and going, and that it felt natural. I work, and then I play music. It doesn’t feel like work so much for me (unless I’m driving the tour van), so I just want to do that. I want to keep writing songs that are true to the way that I feel, that are explorative lyrically and instrumentally, and have the allowance to grow and change with me and the people involved in the project. I want Shortly to be a community and a symbol for self actualization, confidence, and growth. That’s what it is for me.

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