Published on April 26, 2021
An Auditory Adventure
mightberea releases debut EP, “Atlas”
From the white crests of crashing waves in Noordwijk, Holland, to the simmering glassy-blue of Toronto’s skyline, Andrea Shipka’s debut EP has listeners doing something that’s been impossible for over a year now: traveling. At least, metaphorically speaking.
Working under the pseudonym, mightberea, Shipka’s first release of solo work, tilted Atlas, might be rooted in her hometown of St. Albert, but sets a path across continents. It’s a journey that’s not simply geographic in nature, but personal.
“We tried to tell a story,” explains Shipka. “The album starts with ‘Amsterdam,’ which is about taking those first steps on your first big trip alone or making a big choice where your parents aren’t there, your friends aren’t there, you’re doing something big on your own for the first time. And understanding that you’re not going to be able to be the same person when you come back. Then maybe those people won’t align with you anymore. It’s about coming to terms with that and hoping that they will, but knowing the change that you’re making on your own is for the best.”
While the subject itself might weight heavy in the minds of any 20-something, Shipka addresses this classic coming-of-age tale with fresh, hopeful vocals, glittering synths, floating guitar lines and a steady, confident drumbeat.
Shipka calls the genre ‘cinematic-pop’ and it’s hard to argue with that description. Her songs are equal parts expansive and moody, wide-eyed and reflective. With the help of Arnel Ethier, her co-writer and producer on the album, and a host of musical contributions from local artists, her sonic-style tends to tease out some big feelings and her lyrics consistently conjure picture perfect imagery.
“Noordwijk” is particularly evocative. Inspired by her first trip abroad in 2019, the song is set in a small beach town in Holland. While it begins gently, even tentatively, the song builds into a battle with the ocean’s waves, as Shipka breathes “pull me from the water, I’m drifting out to sea.”
“I have this super clear photo [in my mind] of one night where we were sitting on the beach” she says. “There was no one else there—just the crackling fire. I looked at the ocean and I was like, ‘it’s kind of like grief, because it makes you want to go a little bit deeper.’ I equated that to when you’re grieving someone or in the throes of remembering something beautiful about that person, you can keep going deeper. But there’s going to be a point of no return and it’s so easy to get stuck in that, because it looks so beautiful.
“So I was like, ‘I have this image in my head of this beautiful ocean, but I want this song to slowly take the listener away in waves until, at the end, they’re too deep and it’s all consuming.’”
It’s a darker, more haunting approach than the work she produces with indie-pop band Cypress, where she fills the role of lead vocalist. Known for their bright, energetic stage shows, Shipka tends to trust her band-mates when they’re collaborating on a new song. That changed, however, when she finally recognized she had to set the course for Atlas.
“I definitely learned a lot about who I am as an artist,” she says of her experience recording the five songs for the EP. “I’m very uncompromising.
“I think Arnel was great as my co-producer and as somebody who was outside the project helping me. He was kind of like, ‘this is your project, you have to make all the decisions.’ And once that clicked, I feel like I became very annoying for everybody. I was like, ‘yeah… it has to be perfect. I will not release it if it is not perfect.’ I don’t know yet if that is bad or good. But I think that it inspires continual growth, which is what’s important.”
With Shipka on the cusp of wrapping up her Bachelor of Music from MacEwan University, with a major in recording and production, and a sparkling initial contribution to indie-folk sphere, continual growth from this emerging artist sounds like nothing but a good thing.
Watch the video for "Rochester" now!
Last edited: May 4, 2021