Atlas, Andrea Shipka’s debut EP, recorded under the moniker Mightberea, is racking up the streams on Spotify – 6,000, to be exact. For the aspiring St. Albert singer-songwriter marketing her first concept album, it’s a big step in the right direction.
Inspired by her love of travel, the five-song synth-pop or “cinematic pop,” as she calls it, projects a sense of deep reflection. The intimate songs offer a space to ruminate about life’s uncertain relationships and acknowledge the strange journeys people go through.
“There’s a lot going on in it. It’s like waves. It feels very sad, almost like a good-bye to this era,” said Shipka, who has a music degree from MacEwan University in recording and production. She was also a major contributor to Amplify Festival and is currently lead vocalist for pop band Cypress.
Recorded during the pandemic, “The EP is very nostalgic. It’s meant to evoke emotion. Hopefully there’s nostalgia of the past, but it’s also OK to let the past go. It’s about places and the shape of who we are.”
Since graduating from Paul Kane High five years ago, Shipka has travelled to Europe, visiting Holland, Belgium, and France. Each song is named after a city. However, they are less about places than relationships that leave open-ended questions. Much like a tourist looking through the lens of a camera, Atlas is a series of relationship snapshots.
The first song, Amsterdam, is about saying goodbye to a partner before jetting off to parts unknown.
“The song is about understanding that through life you separate and when you come back you will be different. It’s about saying good-bye at an airport. It’s exciting, but underneath there’s a current of melancholy,” said Shipka.
The second song, Noordwijk, is a memory of the singer standing beside the ocean her last night in Europe before returning home. While reflecting in the darkened night, a wave of nostalgia swept over her.
Her message is clear. “It’s nice to tiptoe into nostalgia, but if you go too far, you can get swept away.”
Next on the EP is Milan. This song focuses on a friend named after the renowned Italian city.
“Four years ago, I went through a terrible breakup. He was the first person I called. He taught me to be open to experiences. The music is very grounded. This was also the first song I recorded acoustically. In the first 30 seconds, it’s just me and the piano and a couple of synth notes. I can hear a door close, and all the synth notes come in. It pushes into something new and pays homage to my roots.”
Borrowing a leaf from Taylor Swift, Toronto is a song chastising a former boyfriend with a roving eye.
“It’s about falsity in a relationship. In this song, I wanted to make clear some people are like hotel vacations. They take up space in your life, but it’s OK to let them go. It’s described as a slow burn.”
Rochester, the first single release with a video, completes the EP. Shipka was intrigued with the name Rochester after discovering the New York city had a parallel hamlet in Alberta. Written during the pandemic in December 2020, it is self-produced on her basement computer.
“There’s a lot going on in it. It’s like waves. It feels very sad, almost like a goodbye to this era.”
She teamed up with Arnel Ethier to lay the base tracks and co-produce the album. Several musicians joined the project, adding, “the sprinkles on top.” They include Garrett Fitzgerald, who plugged in the beats and synth sections; St. Albert’s Stephen Badry, a collaborative guitarist from Cypress; and Daniel Outhet, who filled in synth text.
Although Shipka has barely completed one EP, the energetic artist’s next project is already underway. It’s an instrumental album under the pseudonym Caelin Rivers.
“I love to theme my projects. I have so many different facets. That’s in hopes that the person who needs it will find it.”