Finding her voice
Jessica Mauboy takes control in The Secret Daughter
FEW women enjoy the creative and career control Jessica Mauboy does. Even fewer indigenous women.
And the 28-year-old knows she is in an exceptional position, deservedly so, with both the TV and music industries at her feet.
“It does feel wonderful, to be asked by [production company] Screentime or the network, ‘What do you think we should go with?’,” the Darwin-born performer tells TV Guide.
“Giving my piece [opinion] a lot, I’m really proud of that. To continue to be open and free like that would be great.”
Mauboy’s ascent shows no signs of slowing, with a second season of Seven’s The Secret Daughter a dramatic vehicle for her immense musical and acting talents.
She helped write the scripts and performed all the songs on the soundtrack, which debuted at No.2 before the series has even aired.
Her first album from season one made history, launching into the No. 1 spot on the ARIA chart last year, and making Mauboy the first indigenous artist to do so.
With 18 tracks on the latest album, she understandably struggles to pick a favourite, but a moving moment where she performs Amazing Grace in language is a standout.
Mauboy and the late Dr G. Yunupingu, a renowned artist, worked together on the performance, their only collaboration coming just weeks before his death in July.
“It was [a privilege]. I’ll forever keep that in my heart and my mind. It will take me a really long way, for sure,” she says.
“He was down the line on the phone and I was in the studio. I was doing a cover of his version that he had made in Yolngu [language]. He helped me through with the dialect and the pronunciation of the song and how to sing it.
“I was moved, kind of more speechless that I was in that moment with him … it was all very surreal to me that it was finally happening. And then we got the sad news. But with that track we’re able to honour him.”
The haunting song is used on screen as a throwback to the childhood of Mauboy’s character, pub singer Billie Carter. In the new season, she continues to explore issues of identity, still unsure about her biological father, which leads to one awkward moment with co-star and on-screen half-brother Matt Levett.
“I secretly love that, I think it’s a lot of drama,” she says, with a laugh.
“I love that there was some kind of confusion, and that got the audience off guard a bit, kind of squirmish in their seats, a bit, ‘Oh my gosh, what is happening?’
“That’s what entertainment is about, making things a little bit uncomfortable,” Mauboy says, teasing, “there is a very special moment for Billie where she finds a bit of love and romance.”
In real life, Mauboy has found happiness with longterm boyfriend Themeli Magripilis, who made his acting debut in her recent video for Fallin’.
She scotched recent reports of an engagement, saying “I am just living my life and enjoying it”.
She is more forthcoming about the potential for a third season of The Secret Daughter, confirming “if I got a call tomorrow, I’d be working on the project in a heartbeat.”
THE SECRET DAUGHTER
8.35PM, TUESDAY, SEVEN
Family ties: Jessica Mauboy with her TheSecretDaughter co-star Rachel Maza.