Operandi is a song launched by Ippah, Anthony Bro-Petit and Henry Benoit. The video features the Swedish Team Svea and it’s about chasing your dreams even though they are frightening. We have talked to Ella Filippa Velander about this international vaulting song project!

This music video is one of the rare ones, which shows vaulting and the whole project has even been implemented by equestrian vaulters from Sweden and France. The lyrics are written and sung by Ella Filippa Velander, the song is composed by Henry Benoit and the video is made by Anthony Bro-Petit. Scroll down to watch the full music video!

Who is Ippah?

My name is Ella Filippa Velander, I live in the south of Sweden, in a city called Malmö. I grew up in the countryside in the south of Sweden, my parents run a horse farm and are both very active in eventing (competing, running a cross-country course, arranging events and cups), and I’ve been riding my whole life. I began vaulting at the age of 9, and I was competing in both vaulting and eventing for several years. In 2010, at the age of 11, I joined the Swedish Vaulting Team. A big part of the Team Svea we are seeing today have been around since then – me, Natalie Brixland, Marie Li Korse, and also our lunger Ronja Persson, and our coach and lunger Daniela Fiskbaek. 10 years later and still going strong! Haha, it’s not called a vaulting family without reason!

I am 22 years old, I’m in my second year of studies at Spinneriet, a program for artists and producers in urban music, at a folk university called Glokala Folkhögskolan, in Malmö. I finish my education in the beginning of summer 2021.

Where does your artist name come from?

My artist name Ippah comes from my real name Ella Filippa. When I was a kid I couldn’t pronounce my full name so I would just say Ippa, which has been my nickname ever since. No one really calls me by my full name, except for in formal situations, or when my mom is mad at me! 😉 When I started thinking about putting music out, my nickname felt like a natural choice for an artist name, and I thought the “h” at the end was pretty!

Please tell us a bit about the idea behind Operandi and the artistic process!

The lyrics of Operandi are about going after your dreams even though it might be frightening, and facing the fear together with the people you trust. When I wrote the song, I had in mind the two biggest wishes I had for this year; releasing music, and learning the flick-flack off the horse, something I’ve been wanting to do for years. Rapid Heartbeat Operandi is to me the act of jumping even though you’re scared, trusting your instincts and going out of your comfort zone for that dream you really want to come true!

The process of Operandi was actually a long one! In the beginning of 2019, Anthony contacted me (Anthony Bro-Petit, former Vaulting World Champion, with the French Team Noroc in 2016) suggesting that him, me and Henry should do a music video together. I was super excited, I knew Anthony from vaulting and I knew that he was an incredible film maker nowadays, and the Henry he was referring to was no other than Henry Benoit, the artist/producer, who had been making music for vaulters like Noroc, Lambert Leclezio and Team Lütisburg. 

We began planning over video calls, Anthony from France, Henry from the US and me from Sweden. Henry and Anthony booked plane tickets to come to Malmö at the end of the summer, and I went all over the city to send them pictures of cool buildings and environments where we could film.

Henry sent us the first draft of the song – a mysterious, cinematic 4by4 beat, and I began working on the lyrics and the melodies.

After the European Championships in Ermelo we all went back to Malmö, and the day after we began working on the song. We were a group of 10 people connected to vaulting in one way or another, from France, Sweden, Austria and Australia, who stayed a week in an Airbnb, working, sight-seeing and partying. It was a lot of fun, getting to know all these vaulting people outside of a serious competition context!

At the end of summer 2019 we had a finished song and a finished music video, where I was rapping in front of the camera in different sceneries of Malmö city. It was a cool piece, but I didn’t really feel connected to it; I wanted something more personal for my first release. However, I liked the song and I loved the collaboration with Henry and Anthony.

I came up with the idea of doing a vaulting music video, and in the beginning of this year I contacted Anthony. He was down to keep working on the project, so I talked to my team, and I began planning for the music video – thinking of a story for the video, deciding what moves we should do on the horse and what footage I wanted “on the ground”, going scouting for beaches wide enough for vaulting, buying outfits for us to wear in the video, deciding what hair and makeup we should have… The list goes on!

international vaulting song project
Photo: Anthony Bro-Petit

At the same time, I was rehearsing Operandi in school for a live show we were about to do, and one of my teachers came with the input that the song was missing something for it to have that final bang. Me and Henry went back into the studio and kept working on the track, rebuilt almost the whole instrumental, bringing us to the track we are hearing today! I am working on a little “behind the scenes” video of Operandi that I will publish to my YouTube and socials, with clips from the original song and music video, and how it transformed into what we are hearing today!

The people who supported me with my ideas and helped me plan and decide for everything were of course Anthony and Henry, my parents(!), and my team – the Svea Family – especially my coach Daniela, who has a background not only in vaulting but also in gymnastics and dance. She is always supportive of my artistic ideas, and she is both very creative AND gets things done; knowing who to call, where to scout, what to keep in mind.

Anthony came for a week at the end of summer this year, and we filmed my music video as well as two music videos for Henry Benoit’s artist project Le Wanderer (stay tuned!), and a music video for a Swedish reggae artist called Terry Bible. Four videos in a week was a lot – especially when every video was to be filmed outside, and the weather forecast said rain for the whole week… Gotta love Swedish summer! 

However, the sky was dramatically grey on my day of the shoot – matching perfectly with the clothes, and the tension of the song.

How do you earn money with the project?

You get money from streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer) and YouTube, but the bigger incomes would be from radio and TV, sponsorship and commercials, live plays (a bit difficult in these times), and merchandise (products I sell connected to my brand). I am very lucky to have income from the Swedish government, since I am a university student, so I don’t have to worry too much about my finances at the moment. My main interest in sharing Operandi is simply showing this collaboration that I’m very proud of, but of course any money I make off of it is a plus, and spreading the word about Ippah will be important if I want to be able to live off of music in the future!

What are your future plans as an artist and vaulter? Any more songs and videos coming up?

I have a couple of singles and videos coming out in 2021, not involving vaulting this time, but dance and acrobatics! I’m still in Team Svea, we were aiming for a medal at the World Championships in Sweden this summer, which unfortunately was cancelled because of the pandemic. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to compete in Budapest in 2021 instead, and I’m still training and competing as an individual as well! 

After this summer, when I’m done with my education, I would love to go abroad again and study language and train vaulting. In 2018 I went to Köln to study German and train in the club of Norka, it was such a great experience! 

Vaulters in the video: Natalie Brixland, Klara Sjöström, Marie Li Korse, Olivia Neilands, Julia Lindquist, Clint Fiskbaek, Ella Filippa Velander

Lunger: Daniela Fiskbaek

Horses: Dickens Hardsyssel, Havhöjs Bello Nero