The singer, poet, feminist and entrepreneur fuses her Indonesian and European/ South African cultural roots with her strong belief in the feminine divine to create an inimitable artistic presence, both on stage and off. Calling herself a 'God Queen' and a 'channeller of other-worldly wisdom', the work of Alphamama extends far beyond her musical contributions.
This month Alphamama performs at Global Rhythms music festival in Sydney and took the time to answer our questions.
In terms of music, what are you working on at the moment?
[Alphamama] I've been working on a new record called 'HoneyFire' for a little bit now and it should be ready within the next few months. It's quite an eclectic mix of poetry, music and spiritual themes.
Have you been pleased with the response to the 'Stranger In Asia' single and video?
I'm always grateful for every person who comes into contact with my music or enters my world. Even though I feel that a lot of my artistic expression slips through the cracks because I don't write to target the masses. I just create what feels true and authentic for me; that's important.
Where did the idea for 'Stranger In Asia' originate?
'Stranger In Asia' came from a trip to my father's homeland Indonesia, a place that I've always felt a strong connection to. The last time I went there I was seeing things with different eyes, realising how much suppression and oppression existed toward women's sexuality.
I felt that the innate, divine feminine essence within all human beings was degraded and I felt very alien and foreign in the world. From there, I wrote the song and the lyrics and tried to depict all the themes visually in a creative way.
How does your cultural heritage impact the music and art you create?
I think that I'm hugely influenced by my cultural background. And it's unique. My mother is from South Africa with a European heritage and my father from Indonesia. Two very different cultures that through love and commitment, my parents were able to pass on to me. I feel that it has given me very unique ideas, values, music tastes and more.
I realise that every time I create art or perform, I am drawing on the stories of my parents, my ancestors, my conditioning and also my own unique perception that comes from my own consciousness. I really want to include more of my culture in my art, especially since Indonesia is a such a rich resource of complex, musical diversity and it's Australia's closest neighbour. It's a shame that we haven't really even scratched the surface of that connection.
What's the most important thing people should know about you as an artist?
Probably that I see my whole life as my artwork. Music is only one expression of what I'm here to do.
Outside of music one of the projects you head is the God Queen artist collective. Can you tell us about the work the group does?
God Queen is my way of fulfilling my purpose here. It's to inspire and support conscious-women artists so that we can become world leaders. It's a vehicle that aims to drive highly talented women artists with a heart to improve the world to reach global platform. That is my dream. A world in which women, art, music and spirituality are at the top of human values.
It's always been a philosophy of mine that if I'm going up, we're going up together. So, through God Queen, I mentor young, women artists, educate, coach and provide a sense of strong community and holistic support. It is an independent label and artist development programme, but it's also the legacy I want to create here on Earth.
What do you have planned for your set at Global Rhythms Festival?
I'm really excited to bring back the energy of the Sydney music scene when I was creating my first record in 2010/ 2011. That year was so full of life and the energy on stage was tangible. When we were experimenting, finding our own flavour and just being in the flow of music while tapping into the the different cultural sounds we were exposed to. Latin, African, hip hop, jazz, house. The set will be juicy, emotional, honest and fun.
As a mentor, what have been some of your successes?
I've seen some amazing transformations. Billie McCarthy created her own cabaret show debuting at Sydney Fringe Fest after doing my mentoring programme, smashing her Pozible campaign by thousands. Alice Night released a record and did two national tours and performed at Bigsound after doing it. I mentored a young reggae drummer from Newcastle named Lisa Purmodh for years unofficially and she's now touring the world playing with Beenie Man, Stephen Marley and some other huge, reggae superstars.
A couple of artists I've worked with have let go of drug addictions, which has been highly rewarding for me personally. I've been mentoring young women unofficially since 2010 but only in the last 2.5 years run specific programmes.
What advice do you give young female artists hoping to make their own way in the world?
One of the most important things I teach is permission. Give yourself permission to want and get the things you wanted when you were a little girl. Before people told you that you couldn't. Before you were made fun of. Before your voice got drowned out or squashed out of you. I believe that our inner power is bigger than any obstacle in our way and that we have everything we need if we can learn to see and acknowledge our own unique value. Stay away from people who make you feel like shit, keep your vision strong and be resilient.
Any emerging artists you think we should be aware of?
Yep. One of my mentees Nardine Gharsa is dropping one of the most impressive and inspiring records I've ever heard shortly. I've been working with her for a couple of years now, developing her sound and watching her grow as an artist and take action has been so epic. She just won a grant to complete her record from the Arts Council so you should be hearing a lot from her very soon. Apart from Nardine I love Ines, Billie McCarthy, Dawn Laird, Thandi Phoenix, MILAN, Ginger and The Ghost, Miss Blanks, Mariam Sawires, Wallace, Kaiit.
What other projects are you working on?
Right now I'm pretty focused on providing immense value and support to my community. Workshops, coaching, programmes and one-on-one sessions take up a lot of my time along with recording my record and performing gigs. However, I have been cooking up a fierce female mixtape for some time now. I think it's almost ready to start manifesting.