Virginia-based art-pop legends, Shelley Star & the Galaxy have their coordinates set to crash-land onto Earth and disperse their debut project on Feb. 4th. Using her multidisciplinary talents of song, dance, and theatrics, Shelley Star taps into a retrofuturistic realm of limitless possibility.
Shelley Star, the cosmically renowned performer, gathered up a band of fellow artists from her home Planet Glam to explore an uncharted musical universe. Flash forward to October 2022, the band has surfaced in the DMV, sending shockwaves throughout the local DIY scene with their otherworldly live performances, Sci-fi storytelling, and a slew of underground gems. In July 2023, they competed in Band Battle #25 at Jammin’ Java and won their preliminary round, going on to earn second place at the finals.
While carving out soundscapes for their debut project, the band has released two Wammie Award-nominated singles. Supportive of their local community Shelley Star & the Galaxy also were part of the very first inaugural Fairfax Pride celebration at Old Town Hall, presented by local drag showcase The Palace. Most recently, the group opened for NOLA funk band Flow Tribe at Pearl Street Warehouse in DC and plans to host a release party for their debut album.
We had the chance to catch up with Shelley Star before their official release.
Q: How did Shelley Star & the Galaxy come together in 2022?
A: I always dreamed of building my own project that could house every creative skill I’ve honed over the past decade performing in local dance companies, writing music, and singing in bands. By chance, I met my now-producer and co-writer Alan Xtra at “The Palace”, a drag show they host in Fairfax, VA, and pitched my idea for pop star persona “Shelley Star” with backup dancers, a live band, interactive props, and wild costumes. Alan was immediately on board and together we created the pop-rock act that is “Shelley Star and The Galaxy”!
Q: What's the local DIY music scene like in VA? Any favorite venues to book or bands to play with?
A: At first glance, the NOVA area is a buttoned-up extension of our politically charged neighbor Washington, DC, but there is a ton of creativity and raw talent here bubbling up beneath the surface! I’ve been able to dip my toe into some wild local musical waters at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Kalypso’s Tavern in Reston, and at “The Palace” drag show at Mackenzie’s Tunes and Tonics in Fairfax.
I am beyond excited to have found two incredible fellow female-fronted acts that will be joining us at our debut headlining show at Jammin’ Java on February 4th! DC’s Dreampop Princess, Ari Voxx, will be performing with her band “the Sad Lads”, and punk rockers BUKO BUKO will bringing the party as well!
Q: How do you all incorporate theatrics into your live shows? What's your view on the relationship between music and visual/performance arts?
A: What’s missing from a lot of mainstream pop music these days is storytelling, and I love the fantastical world we’ve created with the lore behind the beat. “Shelley Star” is an alien from the faraway “Planet Glam” who has crash-landed on Earth, bringing music, dance, and glamour to the people.
I believe that a music concert should be a fully immersive experience, and I strive to bring interactive elements to every performance! I’ve always imagined that the Shelley Star live show will have full stage sets, flying rigs, and giant moving props to dance on, but until we get a bigger budget, we bring the drama on a smaller scale. Audiences can expect to dance in air sprinkled with bubble guns while being dazzled by glowing LED-lit custom props and costumes.
Q: How has the journey been writing and recording your debut album?
A: It has been a joy to write and create our debut album! My producers Alan Xtra and Tungsten Lungs of the band The Hit Singles have been absolutely amazing in co-creating these tracks and recommending wonderfully talented local musicians to contribute as well.
Alan has introduced me to drummer Travis Braunfeld who is featured on the album and now plays in the live band, hyperpop producer sylva woolf who co-created tracks “Asteroid Belt” and “Space Disco Fever” with us, and many others.
Q: Could you describe the local concert you're hosting for the project's release party on Feb. 4th?
A: We are pulling out all the stops for our “Stellar Sunday Funday” album release concert at Jammin’ Java on 2-4-24 at 7:30pm! Bands “Ari Voxx and the Sad Lads” and “BUKO BUKO” will kick things off, and then our band “Shelley Star and The Galaxy” will take the stage and play through the new album from start to finish.
We have all-new looks to celebrate the event, and have partnered with artisans Kidd Tommy and Christyanne Siller to create custom handmade merch for fans to take home! It will be an unforgettable night you don’t want to miss! This event is all ages and tickets are $15.
Q: What are you excited about this year? Are there any plans on your horizon once the debut album drops?
A: Now that our album is finished, I’m really looking forward to performing live again. We are slated to open for retrofuture rock band, m4tr music, on April 5th at Pearl Street Warehouse in DC, and hope to plan a short summer tour on the East Coast! We’ve worked so hard, and now I want the entire world to hear what we’ve made.