Interplay: June 2024

Q&A with Ms Chipeta

Interplay Program Coordinator, Jennifer Trijo sat down with Ms Chipeta to discuss the inspiration behind Ms Chipeta and also recent gigs.

@ms.chipeta What a beautiful feeling being back on stage with my band! Thanks again to @meenadesilvamusic for having us and the loveliest audience for supporting.

Special thanks to @johnstod_ for grooving with us for the night! 🎸

📸 @prettybullproductions

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Hi Olivia, you go by the stage name Ms Chipeta. Can you tell me what inspired this name?
I decided on the artist name Ms Chipeta as a way of connecting to part of my heritage and taking pride in my African roots especially since the genre I play has its origins there too. My given last name, Rek-Chipeta (German on my mother’s side and Malawian on my father’s side), linked me to cultures I previously didn’t feel part of and for most of my life I have gone by a different name. This project has given me the opportunity to honour that side of my family and myself.

You’ve been doing quite a few gigs and sharing your original songs around Adelaide – most recently supporting Meena De Silva at The Jade – tell us about an upcoming or recent gig, and how it feels to share your own work on stage.
Yes, it was incredible to be back on stage opening for Meena de Silva! My band and I also played at a house party last weekend which was such a fun, intimate vibe. Everyone was dancing, and it was great to chat to people afterwards in such a relaxed setting and hear how they found the experience. Performing is my favourite thing; there is something cathartic about sharing my own words and music with a live audience. I have an upcoming show at the Wheaty on September 26 as well as an appearance at a local music festival which I am very excited for!

As a singer-songwriter in the Interplay program, how have you found the first 6 months of artist development activities?
Wow. Interplay has been such a feast for the brain and creative spirit. There is so much food for thought and insight into different creative processes and practices from other artists and industry speakers. I’ve loved connecting with these people and especially with my fellow interplay artists as we’re all developing musically and artistically in this program. It’s a beautiful community!

As a Malawian-German artist, how has your heritage informed your artistic practice?
The music I make is in the contemporary realm of soul/rnb music. Even as I grew up in a white Australian household, I spent a lot of my time listening to rnb and soul and it feels natural to write and sing in that style. My experience of being a minority definitely influences the way I think about music. I’m aware that the soul genre is not super popular in the local music scene. But I’m okay with that!

Previously you’ve performed as a front-person of local bands, now you’re establishing a solo career. What has been your experience of being in charge of your creative direction?
I love being able to write from the heart and fully understand the emotion of the songs I’m performing as well as being able to shape a set the way I want it and be intentional with everything I play. My band and I just had a day recording two songs at Forest Range Studios and I am so excited to be in the process of releasing my own original music for the first time! Even in this project there is a spirit of collaboration and some co-written songs with some incredible musicians. I’m also grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to play and sing for other peoples’ projects as it’s all experience and skill development. I’m big on collaboration as everyone has gifts to share and things to learn.