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Behind the Scenes with Shortly @ Mo Pop

Behind the Scenes with Shortly @ Mo Pop

Indie artist and Detroit native Shortly, real name Alex Maniak, brings honest lyrics and unique delivery to her music.  After taking a step back to examine and redefine her sound, Shortly found herself back in front of her hometown this weekend at Mo Pop.  After 5 caught up with her Saturday after her set to talk about all things music and, of course, Detroit.

What caused you to take a step back from music and redefine your sound?
I was becoming very commercial, and commercial can be really good but I felt like I couldn’t be something that I wanted to be.  I grew up modeling and acting and so I grew up saying I’m not allowed to cut my hair, I’m not allowed to be these things, I’m not allowed to get a tattoo or get my nose pierced because there are limits to what you can do when you’re in that part of the talent industry. I had just started writing songs that didn’t feel authentic because they didn’t come from my heart because they had to fit an image, so I kind of stepped away from that and started playing rock bands and stuff like that.  But even then I found that when I reached out to be in bands a lot of times I ended up being tokenized, so I was just playing keys for bands.  I realized when I was being treated poorly by a couple of bands, and when I would be writing music on the side and didn’t feel comfortable playing it for my band mates.  When I felt disconnected from the music I was writing and the others I was writing with was when I realized I need to take a step back.

What was the process of redefining your sound like?
Stepping back for me was kind of looking through my journals and looking at my entries and seeing how I actually felt, and what I actually wanted to write about.  It was playing guitar the way that I thought I wanted to for fun, and writing the way I wanted to and talking about the things I wanted to talk about.

Do you find it easier to write music now that you are writing music for yourself and not a band?
Yes.  I can take [my music] and I can shape it, it’s kind of like clay.  It’s malleable, I can turn it into whatever I want it to be.  It feels like more of my own project, or just a project than it feels like a mold that I have to fill.  So its a lot easier to write music, but at the same time its harder because its on my own, and I want it to mean something, but I don’t want it too much to mean something.  Its kind of been finding that balance that is difficult, but writing the music itself doesn’t come so hard anymore because its what I write naturally when I pick up the guitar.

So you’re from Detroit- what was it like to play a festival in your hometown? 
To play a show in my hometown this big was terrifying.  I’ve played larger shows before but the people in this crowd are different, and there are a lot of people.  Usually with this kind of crowd there are less faces, so it’s easier for me to play but here there were people from all over my life.  Playing in my hometown is always an experience.

Does the Detroit music scene influence you as an artist?
Yes, especially the indie-alternative emo scenes, and a little bit of the pop scene happening.   Everybody in my band is in different Detroit bands, so I have those roots and then I grow from them.  I’ts not like trying to fit into the mold of Detroit, I think Detroit has a thousand different genres right now, so it influences me by being here.

Who are some of your musical influences?
There’s a lot of them.  I grew up listening to a lot of Simon and Garfunkel with my mom, and some oldies, I love Cyndi Lauper a lot.  On my dad’s side there’s like Aerosmith and 80’s hair metal, and out of that there’s like Balance Composure, and punkier, alternative stuff.  All of those play a part in it, I think that some of my favorites to pull from artistically are, Phoebe Bridges.  I love Phoebe new record really struck a chord with me because it reminded me of the different ways you can work with elements of music to make them whole.  Actually, Sean Carrey- S.Carrey, is one of my greater influences for the same reason.  Manchester Orchestra is one of them for the same reason, stuff like that.

What can fans expect in the future? Any new music or touring? 
I don’t have an exact release date, but I can say that I went to the studio with my guitarist Austin in December and we recorded a good handful of material.  We are gonna be rolling it out this year, which is very exciting.

 

Photo Credit:  Facebook