Meet Our Music Tutors: Natalie Ripepi

Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to some of our very talented music tutors. This week we start off with Natalie Ripepi, who is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Perth.

How long have you been a music tutor at the College
This is my second year as a guitar and vocal tutor at Santa Maria.

What do you enjoy about the role? 
I enjoy everything about my role! I love sharing my passion for music with the students. I get so much satisfaction seeing the progress they make from week to week. It’s been lovely getting to know the girls and staff at Santa Maria. I love walking in every morning and hearing all the different rehearsals that are taking place. I love being surrounded by music every day! There is so much talent at the school. The students have also taught me a lot as well. They’ve introduced me to loads of new music that I hadn’t heard before. I really enjoy it.

What is your music style?
I don’t really fit into one definitive genre, but I would say that my style of music is mostly contemporary acoustic pop/rock with a tiny bit of country influence.

What instruments do you play?
My main instrument is guitar, but I also play a little bit of piano and drums (and voice of course).

Who is your favourite musician / or influence and why? 
I am influenced by so many different musicians, so this is a tough question to answer. I really love Jeff Buckley. His voice and versatility were mind-blowing. He was such an amazing musician and could really do anything. It was such a shame he died so young. I also love the simplicity of songwriters like Tracy Chapman. Her songs are so simple, but so moving. 

What is the best music concert you’ve been to?
One concert that changed my life was seeing Tori Amos live. I didn’t know much about her at the time, but she completely blew me away! It was just her and a piano. I’d never seen anyone play and sing the way she did. I was still at WAAPA at the time and always thought that I would need a band to perform live but seeing her hold an entire concert hall in the palm of her hand gave me the confidence to go out and perform solo. I’ve been to several of her concerts since and she always amazes and inspires me.

Tell us a little about your own musical pursuits.
I’ve been performing professionally for over 20 years now and have released two full-length albums of my own music. I’ve toured overseas and have been fortunate to be nominated for several songwriting awards in this time. I was thrilled to win the Best Song Award in the Easy Listening category of the Indie Music Channel Awards in America in 2013 for my song So Many Ways.

I still perform every weekend at both public and private events, including weddings, corporate functions, restaurants and wineries. I also have a degree in Sound Production and Design from WAAPA and have enjoyed getting back into producing music. 

I’ve recently started mentoring young people to help them achieve their music goals through writing and recording their own music. I have just finished recording a Santa Maria student who wrote her first song and has entered it into the WAM Song of The Year Awards. I’ve also given talks to various music classes in Perth schools about establishing a career in the music industry and will be doing a songwriting /recording workshop in the coming months. This year, my goal for myself is to write and produce another album.

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