Lady Midnight came about in 2012 when Rimpel and her fellow members in the experimental electronic group Vandaam were searching for an album name. Rimpel suggested “Lady Midnight,” but “as we kept saying it I felt like that was more my name,” she says. “Lady Midnight fit my mysterious night-owl tendencies more than the name of the album.”
In retrospect, a solo project was inevitable. “The collaborations didn’t always function very well,” she says. “There was albums’ worth of work that just never got released. I think that’s part of the creative process, too, when you work with somebody. There’s never any guarantee that things are going to get finished or that they’re going to get released. It’s been a long journey to get to this point.”
Rimpel has a musical pedigree: Her father was a drummer and her mother a singer in Sabroson, the first Minnesota salsa band. With a photography degree from MCAD, Rimpel was managing teen programs at the Walker in 2010 when a friend encouraged her to audition for local Afro-Cuban outfit Malamanya. She joined the group and soon made the leap to a full-time music career. Now Rimpel teaches songwriting composition and performance to participants aged 16 to 23 at Kulture Klub Collaborative, a nonprofit focused on youth experiencing homelessness.
Last year, Lady Midnight released a three-track EP, 8:40, with producer Mike the Martyr. The songs, which incorporate sampling and bilingual English-Spanish lyrics, reflect “things that I’m thinking about or things I’m unsettled about,” Rimpel says. Her full-length debut is due in spring 2018 from Sound Vérité Records. “I’m excited for people to finally have something substantial, to really see what is the aesthetic and sound of Lady Midnight,” she says.
While Lady Midnight’s live show includes dancing and avant-garde fashion, Rimpel doesn’t want her alter ego to be solely a spectacle. As a descendant of African and indigenous healers, she also believes music has restorative powers. “Songs are the vibrations of our prayers, our souls, and the expression of our deepest energies,” she says.