Born Ebenezer Yebuah, better known by his artist name, Mawule, was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. He and his family moved to Denver when he was 10 years old and he’s remained here ever since. Music has always been an integral part of Mawule’s life, starting with his active involvement in his church’s gospel choir. But success in the music industry has never been the only goal in mind for Mawule.
His lifelong fascination with human relationships and an interest in becoming a couples counselor drove him to pursue a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies, as well as a Masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Colorado State University. As a student, he produced his first song titled, ‘Let You Go,’ which caught the attention of two producers. While education remained his top priority, he continued to write lyrics, concoct amazing beats, and produce music as a hobby. Upon his realization that a life without music was not an option, he re-emerged as Mawule, which means “Only God Knows” in the Ewe language, native to his birthplace.
Mawule’s music reflects his passion for the human connection and he uses it as a source of both comfort and empowerment for others. He is inspired by what is real about relationships, including trust, doubts, and abuse. His songs bring awareness to the objectification of women, harassment, and sexual assault– all donned in a cloak of deep lyrics and catchy rhythms.
Get into his interview with us below and keep up with him via Twitter & Snapchat @musicmawule.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Who are you and where are you headed?
I was born and raised in Accra, Ghana and grew up in Denver. Colorado. I started my music career back in 2009 and due to conflicts I experienced with my previous management, I took time off from music to focus on my education. I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies and Masters of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University. I was discovered by my now producer Glenn Sawyer as I was completing my master's degree back in 2013/2014 and that began my re-engagement with music. Since then I have released an EP, and full album, and six new singles which I plan to release in the coming year. I have also built a new music entertainment platform that combines storytelling, dialogue and music performances to create more intimate shows and meaning engagement with my lyrical content.
What led you to pursue music? What musicians do you admire?
Music helped me find solace from bullies and the struggle of assimilating into a new culture at a young age. It was my form of healing and coping during many difficult times. The more I wrote and engaged in conversations with peers, the quicker I realized that more people could also benefit from hearing my stories. So my life experiences led me to pursue music. During these times and still today my admirations come from artists like Bob Marley, John Legend, Avant, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Al Green, Ray Charles, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, and many more.
How did your experiences growing up influence 'Anything?'
Anything is about genuine love. My upbringing in a low income household with parents working multiple jobs to provide for my siblings and I inspired the song. With that in mind, I worked with my director Mia Ginae to portray this genuine love with the storyline of a single black father working hard and struggling to provide for his daughter. The goal was to shed a positive light on a black male image: spending time with their children, significant others and loved ones.
Why is Black parenthood important? Why does the Black family matter?
Black parenthood/Black Fatherhood is important to me because we don’t see that well represented. Though shows like Black-ish have transformed what Black parenthood and fatherhood can look like, we need it portrayed in different forms of media. The Black family matters because society shows us so many ways institutional racism and systematic oppression infiltrate and dismantle the strength of Black families. It matters because we are shown that it’s fragile. The struggle of being Black in America and its inherent control of Black Lives makes Black families even more needed and transformative to uphold the powerful nature and progress of Black people.
Talk to me about R&B or music today. Where do you see yourself fitting in? Where do you hope to go?
R&B and music today is evolving. Sometimes I am conflicted between the old style and the new. I appreciate the elements within the evolution but believe the lyrical content of some music is drowning just looking at what hits that trending status today. I don’t think I fit in because no reviewer has been able to really categorize my sound. I personally like that because my music has a home with different types of music appreciators. I hope to be touring on college campuses, high schools, and middle schools and other educational realms with my music platform. I want to engage people on that interpersonal level through music.
What do you hope people take away from 'Anything' and your career?
I would hope for people to be inspired. To be reminded of the purpose of what they do, the why and for who. I want parents to be inspired to know that their hard work and efforts do not go unnoticed.
What can we expect from you moving forward? How can we be of support?
You can expect more thought-provoking music and complimentary music videos. The community of music lovers can support by listening to my music, sharing my music, sharing their feedback, and promoting within their means of influence.
In the end, how do you want your story depicted? What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
Simply as a musician who was dedicated to his craft and saw his talent as a social responsibility to promote what is real about life in creative art that helped people understand, soothe, and navigate challenges.
'Anything' was selected to be screened at the DC Black Film Festival this week (August 17-19th). If in DC, stop by the festival and check 'Anything' out. And be sure to keep with up Mawule on Twitter and Snapchat via musicmawule.