WeTalk with Swiss singer Mibsy: making the audience a part of the journey
WeTalk. Pop culture. Swiss-Made is a Social Media campaign launched by the Embassy of Switzerland in the United States. WeTalk aims at promoting the diversity of Swiss culture and innovation by featuring prominent Swiss stakeholders. Sharing perspectives from artists, athletes and entrepreneurs, WeTalk provides its audience with fascinating insights into the diversity of contemporary Swiss culture. Watch Mibsy’s video here!
Last year, the Embassy of Switzerland celebrated Black History Month with a wide variety of impactful voices from the U.S. and Switzerland. This year, due to COVID-19, it will be celebrated digitally during the month of February. As part of this important celebration, the Embassy of Switzerland recently sat down with the up-and-coming Swiss singer Mibsy, who lives in the French-speaking city of Geneva, over video chat to talk about her multi-cultural background, the role social media played in entering the world of music, and much more.
Swiss artist Mibsy was born in Lausanne, Switzerland to Eritrean parents and traveling to the north-eastern African country during the summers was always a highlight for her. She grew up surrounded by various cultures and mindsets that helped define the person she is today. Her passion for music goes back to her childhood, when her uncle gifted her a CD, which led her to spending days singing songs by Mariah Carey and Beyoncé in her bedroom instead of going outside to play with the other kids. In her words, “I was lost in my own little world.” She took her first steps into the world of music when she started sharing her work by posting videos to Instagram. A couple of years later, in 2019, Mibsy released “Mon Chéri” (“My Sweetheart”). Asked about her song and what she wanted to share with her audience, Mibsy said she wanted people to forget the world around them and dance and sing.
Can you talk a little bit about the ways in which different cultures shaped the person and artist you are today?
When you grow up with two cultures, you are used to interacting in and being confronted with different ways of seeing the world. This made me automatically an open-minded person, because I was “trained” to understand people who were different from me: people from Eritrea, the country my parents originally came from, on the one hand, and people from Switzerland, the country where I was born and raised, on the other. You also learn to adapt yourself, not only when dealing with one culture or the other, but also by mixing the two and creating your “own culture.” Although it can sometimes be challenging, it’s something I am grateful for.
Your passion for music goes all the way back to your childhood. When and why did you decide to share your work on Instagram?
It’s been almost five years since I started doing music more seriously. In 2016, while writing my first song, I realized that music was what I wanted to do with my life. When I realized that music was my true passion, I couldn’t help but sharing my work with people. I first posted videos on Facebook, and when I saw people reacting positively, I decided to post more and more, and I then moved to Instagram. Following that, I decided to release “Mon Chéri,” and I slowly started writing songs in French as well.
Switzerland’s cultural and musical scenes are constantly changing. What does the future of Swiss artists and music look like?
Here in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, I see more and more Swiss artists killing it! I really feel that something is happening right now, and that the next generation of talented francophone artists has arrived. I think we have a vibe that’s different than, say, the French one, and while it’s already starting to be recognized, this trend will likely continue in the future.
You sing both in French and in English, how do you pick the language for your music?
I think it really has something to do with both the style of music and with what I want to say. I think it also depends on the beat I’m listening to. Some beats just sound more “French” to me, and others sound more “English.”
You mainly use social media to share your work with your growing audience. Can you describe your content-creation process? How much influence do your followers have on that?
It’s true that I often ask my followers what they would enjoy seeing on my page, or what songs they would like me to cover. I think it’s important to make them a part of the journey in that way, because nothing would be possible without them. You can make music for yourself, but when you share it, it’s because, in a way, you are looking for a connection with your audience. This truly is one of the most beautiful aspects of my passion for me.
2020 was an exceptional year for many reasons, including for the cultural scene. How did the pandemic impact your work and what are your artistic goals for 2021?
2020 was a special year because the only way of interacting with the audience was virtual. It allowed me to focus on growing my social media audience, so it was beneficial in that sense. On the other hand, it was hard not to be able to do concerts anymore, and not to be able to meet people face to face. I really hope that this situation will get better soon, and that cultural life will thrive again soon!