Interview with Kelly of MANifesto

Toronto's MANifesto is the self-described "MAN band" from the brainchild R.Kelly Clipperton (Kelly and the Kellygirls, Merkury Burn) and rounded out by Brayo, Dionisio, Icarus, and Twaine. MANifesto is a decade in imagining and two years in the making. The group will release their debut album, Pinky Swear, next Friday via Renaissance Projects. The album is a collection of twelve pop covers that spans over seventy years from girl groups such as Bananarama, The Chordettes, Fifth Harmony, The Supremes, All Saints, Jade, Exposé, and En Vogue. MANifesto wants to help spread the word of inclusiveness and awareness of the organization Rainbow Railroad, with all proceeds of Pinky Swear going to Rainbow Railroad. Kelly and I discuss the brand new album, where they would be in five years, their upcoming album release, and more! Which you can read all below!

MANifesto's 2021 press photo for the release of their debut album, Pinky Swear. Photo captured by Filipe Paulo.
L - R: Brayo, Dionisio, Icarus, Kelly, Twaine. Photo Courtesy of Filipe Paulo.

You five are set to release your debut album Pinky Swear on September 10th, via Renaissance Projects. You must be ecstatic to be releasing the album?

Kelly: So excited we could spit! Honestly, it's been a labour of love... 10lb-er, no anesthetic with forceps.


Do you have any remarkable memory during the recording of the album? K: There was a moment where we were struggling with an arrangement that we had worked months on... While standing at our mics in the studio, threw it out and trusted ourselves, and the result was affirming and magical.


How would you describe your music to anybody who may have never heard of MANifesto before? K: Dance it, swing it, sing along to it... Joyful celebratory pop.


How did you five meet and when did you say, "Let's start a music group?” K: We met standing on various corners around the city.


Why did you decide on a covers album instead of a collection of original music? K: That was the MANdate from the get-go. Celebrating this genre of music that has given us a lot of strength.


Is original music something you would like to release together in the future? K: I think pulling our pubes out one at a time would be more joyful.


What are your musical inspirations? K: Outside of every single group we cover on the album, we collectively agree Lil Nas X is killing it.


Where would you like MANifesto to be as a group, in say, five years? K: Democracy is brutal... We hope to have the entire concept on its feet at festivals next summer. The future beyond that, we'll need to consult our oracle, but she is in Florida right now.


Are there any plans to celebrate the release of Pinky Swear virtually? Or do current Ontario mandates allow for a live performance with an audience? K: The virtual thing has gotta die... We can see the benefits in some ways, but ain't nothing like the real thing, baby!


I'm sure it's stressful trying to release any sort of music during these unprecedented times, has it impacted the process of releasing Pinky Swear in any way? K: Absolutely. The creation of it was met with challenges and restrictions outside what the making of any album already endures. We had designed to record and perform live in tandem. That couldn't happen, so we focused on making the record.


Lastly, what's in store for the remainder of the year? K: We will definitely be releasing a 5th single in video form. Alongside contemplating gay domination.

Thanks for the time, Kelly! I hope the group is staying safe! Is there anything else you would like to add before you go? K: The proceeds of the sale of our record are going to Rainbow Railroad, an organization very dear to us. We encourage everyone to look them up and help where you can!

Check out more from MANifesto: Instagram | Spotify | iTunes | Bandcamp (Vinyl Purchase)

Album artwork for Toronto vocal group MANifesto's debut album, Pinky Swear.