q&a: mimi velevska
Mimi Velevska is one busy young woman! She’s just launched her latest single, ‘Damn’, and has now released the official video clip for the track … but managed to find time to chat to Lip about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, social media, and doing what you love!
Describe your sound in five words or less.
Passionate, soulful, loud, fun
You’ve listed the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a major influence on your sound – what do you love about the band? Have there been any other musicians that have resonated with you as much?
After reading Scar Tissue (Anthony Kiedis’s autobiography) it just made me realise that life was too short to not be the person that I was and wanted to be, and the type of performer I was just edging to bring out on stage. It helped me grow as a person.
Once I started delving into their music, it bought together everything that I wanted: fun, funk, soul, energy and rock. I bought every single one of their albums, and just listened and it just hit me, all of their music and the progression of the old to the new styles and it really clarified what I wanted out of my music. It then opened up a world of music that I never grew up on, and changed my musical diet.
Vocally – Aretha Franklin was the first female vocalist that I think most soul-genre singers would look up to. But certainly Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and Nina Simone are other major influences.
I just delved into past generations’ music, that I never grew up on, was never played in my house or listened to by my friends. From Black Sabbath, Guns n Roses and Hendrix, to Pearl Jam, No Doubt, Rage against the machine, Soundgarden, Lenny Kravitz – lots of 90s rock. I wish I could be back in the 90s as my 22-year old self!
Who do you most admire?
When writing my EP ‘The Bona Fide Electric’, it’s an album that’s been inspired by and written for those who are indeed “Bona Fide Electric”. They’re risk takers, they live and breathe electricity and are captivating on stage: Anthony Kiedis, Gwen Stefani, James Brown, Tina Turner … they make me want to be an incredible live performer.
What inspires your songwriting?
Musically, the idea just grows. Lyrically, a conversation, an argument, frustration, someone who I wish would court me, lovely people, a good night out – it’s interaction with strangers and people you love and everything in between.
How important do you think using social media is for musicians nowadays? Have you found it’s played a big part for you in gaining fans/exposure?
Absolutely – It’s now an integral part of our every day lives which as a musician you must embrace and want to be a part of. The internet isn’t going to go away, so you have to use it as a tool and to your advantage. It allows for anyone to create something for themselves and I think it also allows for audiences to be exposed to a diverse range of music.
A song I wish I wrote/played is…
There are way too many to name! From ‘I put a spell on you’ by Nina Simone, her phrasing and emotion is incredible. Most Hendrix songs would be in there, ‘Seventeen’ by Stevie Nicks and something from Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Appetite for Destruction.
I couldn’t live without…
Cliché answer, but music. Music is the medicine to cure a soul, it gives me life and energy and is addictive and possesses you.
The best advice I ever received was…
My dad would always say ‘if you think you can or can’t, then you are right’. It’s his interpretation of the Henry Ford quote: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” You have to try different things, find your own way, and accept rejection and that not everyone will like what you do. Hard work will get you a long way and you have to persevere. You don’t know where this life can take you, and I want to experience this crazy ride.
Do you think the music industry treats female musicians differently to male musicians? Do you think it’s more difficult for women to establish themselves?
I’ve never really seen my gender as something which can hold me back from achieving goals thus far in my life. In today’s day and age especially, I don’t feel like I can’t achieve anything that I set out to do or achieve. I guess I’m the type that sees the glass as half full, always.
Check out the clip for Mimi’s new video, ‘Damn’, below!