After spending a decade in a highly successful girl group, singer and actress Jacqui Carpede is ready. For what for you may ask? Well…
She may finally be branching out on her own. Live SA sat-down with her at Anti Est. in Braamfontein to find out what she’s been up to. Jacqui isn’t one to feature in the press often so she begins the interview by emphasising that this move is in no way indicative of Jamali’s demise.
“It’s been a long time since Coca Cola Popstars… I feel as though I’m the one that’s bearing the brunt of this whole solo situation. It wasn’t my idea. It was all of our idea to pursue individual interests… It just so happens that an album happened for me.”
The album she is referring to is her solo debut, “Ready to Love.” She already released the album earlier this year. It enjoyed a lot of airplay on community radio stations around the country without receiving as much attention from major radio stations. That prompted her to re-release it with a few additional songs, different packaging and an entirely new look.
The first of three additional tracks is a catchy, up-tempo single called “Buya,” which you can listen to by clicking here. It’s definitely one of those songs that will be on heavy rotation on local radio stations all summer long. The music video meant to accompany the single is yet to be filmed. Jacqui explained it is “still a work in progress.”
Like the rest of the tracks on the album, “Buya” was written by Jacqui.
“I feel like you can’t write or sing anything that you don’t know anything about. For me, it has got to be an experience… It has got to be something I’ve been through or something I can relate to otherwise I can’t put it into words, so yeah it was inspired by experiences, life, other people’s experiences and the 10 years in Jamali as well …”
Apart from pushing a solo career, she says “there’s loads” she would love to pursue on her own.
“I just have to find enough hours in the day, that’s all. I want to be able to take my son on a decent holiday. I want to be able to do a dress line. I want to do more acting but I’m enjoying doing the album right now and focusing on just that. I’m enjoying that more than anything else that I would like to do,” she adds.
Acting is one of those things. She has appeared on eTV’s romantic telenovela Mzansi Love as well as shows like Donkerland, Binnelanders and City Ses’la.
“[Acting] is just another form of expression. Because with music, even when you’re singing, you’re also portraying an emotion and you’re sharing a story and you’re a character within a song. The same applies to acting. It’s a whole new person that you can become and it’s not the norm. It’s not everyday that you get to live somebody else’s life or live in somebody else’s shoes and I find that incredibly exciting and intriguing to be somebody else for a while.”
My curiosity about her new look gets the better of me and I switch the direction of our conversation. Jacqui’s look in Jamali was very soft and lady-like. Now, she seems fiercer and more expressive. I ask whether the new look was a conscious process.
“Noooo… It was a natural progression. It was growth as well. And it was also finding out who you really, really are… And what kind of artist and woman you want to be. When I was in Jamali, it was a collective. We need to look a certain way, we were chasing a certain market. It’s pop… It’s young, it’s fresh, it’s cute. We were still young.
Right now I’m at a space where I am a grown woman. I can wear what I wanna wear, do what I wanna do. Say what I wanna say. It’s my life, it’s my opinion. But I can still look sexy doing it. It’s just a different grown version of Jacqui,” she answers.
“Does that also make it easier to fight for your songs seeing as you wrote them and are therefore so invested in them?” I ask.
“Luckily, with Jamali, we loved (and still do love) each and every one of the songs because the way we performed and interpreted the songs was the same as we would have if they were written by us but now that it’s mine… It really is mine and mine alone. I can edit it the way I want, I can share it the way I want, I can be angry, I can be sad, I can be happy, I can be excited because it’s my story.”
With so much emphasis on Jacqui’s solo career is she ready for the prospect of failure?
“It’s very important to look at failure as a chance to try again and try a different approach because you need to do things differently in order to get different results.
What failure teaches me – okay… it’s not always about me [laughs] – but what it teaches me is to try a different approach, to listen to someone else’s opinion, listen to a more experienced person… I don’t see it as failure, it really truly is a lesson.”
That outlook has contributed to Jacqui getting to this point in her post-Popstars career. With the success that Jamali has enjoyed, one would think that they won the competition but they were actually the runners up. Talent search winners aren’t always able to maintain a career and stay relevant. That fact has also probably informed her view on talent search platforms as an effective way to connect talent to the industry.
“Yeah, they are an effective way. Apart from just entering singing and drama competitions, I always tried to get involved and find out what was going on in the community. And to find out what’s happening with any chance for me to perform and to be on stage where people can see me and experience what I have to offer and share my talent… So, just make yourself available and visible until you get the opportunity to record albums or act on television or movies or whatever.”
To end things off, I asked Jacqui what she should like her fans to envision when they hear the name Jacqui,
“Energy… Just a lust for life. You only have one life so please use it wisely and enjoy it. I didn’t do enough of that before. Even with Jamali, I didn’t just stop to smell the roses. Like ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing. It doesn’t just happen to anyone every day.’
Right now, I’m just trying to enjoy it. Enjoy the difficulty. Enjoy the successes. Enjoy making my own decisions and doing something that I really want to do.”
Follow Jacqui on Twitter @JacquiCarpede