Queen of Loops hits town
The Queen of Loops who wowed New Zealand's Got Talent judges in 2012 performs at Tillermans in Invercargill tonight.
Mihirangi is touring to promote her second album Somebody Shake the Tree before heading overseas for a sixth international tour.
The freestyling, beat-boxing singer grew up on the road, travelling alongside her parents who were both backup singers. Her mum, Corinna Fisher, performed with artists such as Gladys Knight and Joe Cocker.
Though music was always in Mihirangi's life while growing up in at her ancestral Rereahu marae near Benneydale, it was not until a performance at a festival seven years ago in front of 10,000 people that she found her true voice, she said.
Her mother's style was more Chaka Khan, which she had always imitated - but when she got up to sing with her mother's friends, sister-duo Vika and Linda Bull, she decided to switch gears and perform a traditional Maori song.
While she was singing, the heitiki around her neck that her mother had given to her shattered, she said. When she finished, both sisters were crying.
"They said to me, ‘Whatever you were holding on to, you just got rid of.' That is when the me became me. It was the best moment in my entire life."
While she has studied different types of singing - from opera to funk to Benedictine chants - a major turning point came when she discovered "looping" tracks of her voice, one over another.
The effect - in combination with her instrumental talents - meant she could leave behind the 12-piece band she had been performing with to go solo.
"It was a guitarist who came in with a loop panel and I ended up taking it home with me and spent about a week in my bedroom playing with it.
"Looping has definitely given me more freedom - it means I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I am my own band."
She has performed alongside Arrested Development and opened for Public Enemy.
Mihirangi plays at Tillermans tonight. Doors open 8pm. Tickets $20.
The Southland Times