“When I was 13 my mum bought me a blues guitar. I’ve still got it to this day.” Felix Mpunga always wanted to play music and during a long summer he decided to use the guitar as his gateway to music.
“Playing basketball reps six days a week I didn’t have time for music, guitar was a side thing, so I learnt covers.”
Originally from Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries in the world, Felix moved to New Zealand in 2004 (aged 11) with his mother and sister.
“My mum has always encouraged me to play and my sister pushes my music out for people to listen to, sometimes without telling me.
He was given a MacBook and a USB condenser microphone for his 21st birthday, then for Christmas got a MIDI keyboard, which helped him realise the tunes in his head and bring them to life.
Released at the start of March with a gig at Bar Bodega, his first EP, ’The Age of Uncertainty‘, was recorded all by himself earlier this year, isolated from distraction at home in Christchurch.
“I’ve waited for years and now is the time to do this.”
The folk, soul EP is refreshing with beautifully rich vocals and thoughtfully deep lyrics touching on his background and journey thus far through life. Stripped back to an acoustic guitar and a few beats Felix’s voice fills all the gaps missing from other accompaniment. Last track Losing My Way is particularly touching as you can hear his influence of traditional Zimbabwean singing mixed with the influence of Aotearoa.
Currently studying International Relations at Victoria University (where he has been since 2012), Felix has an interest in journalism as well as music. When his time at uni comes to an end in June he plans to travel abroad playing music, including heading to Brisbane for a collaboration project called Without Borders; a collaboration of 15 musicians all chipping in to create a ’mix tape’. Though still in its beginnings, the project has already got attention from hip hop managers and marketing magazines in Australia.
He intends working hard to improve his live show, making them relatable and to master the art of showmanship.
“Being really good live is an important thing, and after a bit more time and experience I would also like to add more different electronic bass to my sounds.”
Felix is already working on a second EP, aiming to release it in July this year with hopes of playing some music festivals and getting into a professional recording studio in the future.