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article imageInterview with Mau Power Special

By Adrian Peel     Oct 7, 2014 in Music
The Indigenous Australian, a rising star in the world of hip hop, released a new album earlier this year (in July) and a brilliant new single earlier this month. Digital Journal was on hand to find out more.
Now I'm the first to admit that rap music is not exactly my area of expertise, much less rap from Down Under, but I have to say I was mightily impressed with the latest offering from the charismatic and clearly very talented Mau Power (real name Patrick Mau), undoubtedly a name to watch out for over the coming months.
Entitled "
Freedom," and featuring a stunning vocal performance from Aussie legend Archie Roach, the thirty-something's new single is powerful, uplifting and worthy of the buzz it's been generating.
"'Freedom' was a song that I created around 2012," recalls the Torres Strait Islander (the area between Australia and Papua New Guinea), filling me in on the story behind it. "Around that time I had a performance in Melbourne, which I performed just before Archie. Archie came on and did a shout-out to me for the songs that I do.
"I was like, 'I want to do a song with this guy', but I left it for a couple of years. I was working on the song and it was one that I wanted to put on my album, The Show Will Go On. The song spoke about the movement to self-emancipation - emancipating the mind from mental slavery and the empowerment of being free from everything around you.
"I wrote it paying homage to the cycle of life for my culture and all the teachings and knowledge that I have acquired from those before me through until now, referring back to people like Eddie Mabo and Archie Roach because the way he wrote music encouraged me from a very young age.
"When I wrote the song, I had Archie in mind because I thought his vocals would come across well with the chorus. He has been one of the pioneers that laid the foundation for someone like me to have the opportunity and I really wanted to have him on the single. He accepted and that's how the song came together.
"It's an empowerment song that speaks of being able to empower oneself and rid yourself from all the things that hold you down within society. There are things that you can do in order to be free and move forward on your own journey."
"I've been working on promoting and trying to push the single," adds Patrick, who records most of his material in Melbourne."We just came off filming the video clip, which is now circulating, and designing and planning our upcoming shows and a tour for next year."
As mentioned, the unique-sounding musician's latest album (his debut, in fact) has the very positive title, The Show Will Go On.
"It's a conceptual album," he explains. "It's a semi-autobiographical story of my journey and my life. What I wanted to do was actually create a whole album from start to finish that takes you on a journey, that tells the stories that will introduce Mau Power to the audience.
"I refer to albums that I believe were classics, albums like Illmatic from Nas, Me Against the World from Tupac, Ready to Die by Notorious B.I.G. - I could go on with a whole list...
"Also, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, the collection of Marvin Gaye... When you brought the album home, you brought a piece of the artist - they were invited into your house.
"These are the things that I was really listening to and into, so that's how the album concept came about. The Show Will Go On what it represents is an artist balancing two cultures, that of the indigenous Torres Strait culture and that of the hip hop culture, and how they fuse together to create the identity of a person standing within this society today.
"Throughout the album, you go through all the trials and tribulations, the valleys and peaks and we kept it on a universal level, so when people listen to it - even though it's my story - it's written in a way that they can relate to it because it's their story.
"I know people that are going through the things that I went through, or have been through the things that I've been through, will go through the things that I've been through, and they can have these songs as a reference. That's how it was designed and we put it together with that concept in mind."
Reflecting on how he first got started making music, the native of Thursday Island, off the coast of northern Queensland, remarks, "Well I was born into a musical culture because of my
Torres Strait heritage; traditional music and sounds that reflected our everyday lives. When I was around four, five, six, my grandfather, who was a jazz musician, took me to his gigs and I saw him perform.
"I loved the way music made people feel and how performances can make people feel, so I was hooked on that environment. Then around seven years old, the hip hop culture came through. It was an exciting time. Young people were all together, great dancing, beatboxing, rapping, and it was so easy to be hooked on that.
"I then learnt about what the culture was and it became my lifestyle. So I started thinking about pursuing hip hop music as a career. When I was around 15, I wrote a song which was dedicated to the brothers that I grew up with at that time. I called the song 'Homeboys' and I recorded that when I was 17.
"That song picked up in the region and when people heard it, that solidified my name as 'The Rapper from the Torres Strait'. Everybody accepted it and embraced it and then I saw that I was getting local shows off those songs. Then I thought, 'Well, I could do this as a career'. I started pursuing it from there and I'm here right now."
"Freedom" is out now.
The Show Will Go On is available on iTunes.
For more information, visit Mau Power's official Facebook page.
More about mau power, archie roach, Rap Music, Australia, Freedom
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