Perth rapper Johniepee processes the tragic murder of his aunt in moving new single ‘Perfect’.
Loss: a formidable event which, in part, defines the human experience. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that touches us all and comes mostly without warning. Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things a person can go through – it’s important more than ever in these times for us to reconnect with our families and ourselves. All of us process loss in our own way; Perth artist Johniepee does so through the creation of something new.
“Perfect” is an ode to John’s aunty, Dianne Barrett, known affectionately as Aunty Di. A prominent musician in the Perth community, the singer/songwriter went missing during Mother’s Day 2019. After a massive state-wide search, the news reached John and his family that Aunty Di had been murdered. It was news which sent shock-waves through the family, as well as Perth’s creative circles.
John admits that while constructing “Perfect”, he wasn’t fully aware of what it represented for him. In our interview with him, he elaborated:
“I started writing a song about being the misfit, being an outcast or the black sheep as that’s where my mind was at the time. It wasn’t until I began to record the vocals that I realised this song was about my aunty. She was a free-spirited musician who never shied away from breaking social norms. I had already completed recording the song when I got the call from my uncle informing me that Aunty Di’s body had been found. It was an extremely painful time for me and my family, but brought us much needed closure.”
The artwork for “Perfect” features a photograph of Aunty Di busking in Hay St Mall. Along with her solo efforts, Aunty Di played a large role in the Spirit of the Streets Choir, mentoring musicians who may have had no other outlet for their talents
“This photo sums her up perfectly, spreading her message of love, joy and happiness through music. It’s a snapshot of the incredible person she was, frozen in time. Music makes us beautiful and she was the epitome of that.
If it wasn’t for her, my life would’ve been very empty. She brought joy, craziness and music into my world. I hope that “Perfect” hits home for those who never feel good enough because of their appearance, beliefs, sexual orientation, skin colour or whatever it may be. We’re all perfect in our imperfections and I hope this song touches lives the way my aunty always strived to.
The silver lining in this tragedy are the valuable lessons she taught me and anyone around her. I’m determined to focus on the positives and create new energy from the ashes of a scenario I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
Listen to ‘Perfect’ below
Words by Zachariah Distefano-Peek