So, I’m in the studio, doing what I do, and in walks Doni Glover. He hosts a show on our sister station, WOLB and he’s accompanied by this beautiful woman who I had never seen before.
He says, “I’m sorry to bother you but I wanted to introduce you to this young lady. Her name is Maimouna Youssef. She’s a singer and she’s amazing.” She had a few CD’s with her and I asked for her information because I wanted to know how I could get her to speak at a domestic violence event I’m hosting with my sorority. She was really nice and I’m glad we exchanged info.
One night, I looked over and saw her CD and I put it in. WOW! This girl is A-Freakin-Mazing! She goes by the stage name MuMu Fresh and she’s toured with Common and Queen Latifah and so many other big name performers; but you’ll read more about that in her one-on-one.
It wasn’t the fact that she could drop names as to who she’s collaborated with that made me want to feature her on ThisRadioChickRocks. It was her talent and her spirit that made me want to use this outlet to introduce her to you.
If you’ve never heard of MuMu Fresh, well, you’re missing out! She’s a beautifully talented young woman and she’s going places!
Where are you from?
I was born in Baltimore, grew up between Baltimore, Virginia and DC.
How long have you been singing?
I’ve been singing on stages since I was 5 years old
What genre of music do you really like to listen to the most and why?
I listen to all types of music. My playlist may go from Heavy 60’s & 70’s Soul to, contemporary Alternative Rock , to Krishna conscious chanting songs in a matter of minutes. For example the last three artists that played on my ipod this morning were John Mayer, Big Krit, and James Brown. But out of everything Hip Hop is probably the genre I listen to the most.
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to)
My “let it go” song changes… My “let it go” song for a while, when it first came out, was “Sorry” by T.I. and Andre 3000. Andre is definitely my favorite MC and he murdered that song. I had to have listened to it over a hundred times.
Before that it was “Ital” by Lupe Fiasco. For a while it was A.D.H.D. by Kendrick Lamar and Trophies by Drake, Otis by Kanye & Jay. But my “let it go’ song of all time maybe be “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince
You’ve worked with lots of singers, songwriters, producers in your career. Was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable experience where it went terribly wrong? Describe.
My very first time recording something for a national artist was when I was 18 years old. I was recording a chorus for Pete Rock and C L Smooth and I just froze up in the studio. I wasn’t used to recording and I didn’t know how to manipulate my voice in order to stack vocals properly and really produce the necessary vocal texture for the track. So they ended up not using what I recorded and I was really disappointed in myself. It was a great lesson though because in the long run, it made me work harder in the studio to learn the art of recording and today I’m able to do things in the booth that I had no idea how to do then.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?
I’ve had so many great ones but the best celebrity encounter was probably with Lauryn Hill first, backstage at The Dave Chapelle’s Block Party when I performed with Dead Prez and then again at The Kennedy Center in DC when I opened up for her through Black Girl’s Rock’s “Rock Like A Girl” Concert hosted by MC Lyte.
But I have to include that most recently while I was on tour with Common for the “Nobodysmiling” tour, I got to rock with Queen Latifah and perform “U.N.I.T.Y” with her. The experience was absolutely incredible and then Raekwon the Chef had me super hype when he came on stage with us and started spitting his verse to C.R.E.A.M. , (I just lost it. I’m a big Wu Tang fan) And I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that D’angelo had me in absolute tears, watching him play and sing when we toured with him in Australia this year. It’s so hard to say but these were all moments that I will never forget.
What’s the biggest misconception about MuMu?
The biggest misconception about me is that I’m really serious and unapproachable. Maybe its because I am confident and I often talk about serious issues concerning my community and I have some amount of celebrity status, so people tend to think I am very serious and unapproachable as a person or they expect me to be standoffish before they even meet me. People are constantly surprised at how approachable, silly and down to earth I am. I love to laugh, I always cracking jokes, acting silly, and finding any reason to make light of something. I hate drama and I love to see people and situations work together for everyone’s greater good.
What genre of music would you say doesn’t get the most credit?
Jazz doesn’t get enough credit for how much it has influenced some many other genres.
What are your thoughts about independent artists and nationally recognized artists?
I’m glad that both exist. The music scene is better because of the diversity that both Indie and Major label recording artists provide. Indie music was born out of the sentiment of not taking “NO” for an answer. Indie music was born out of rebellion and a need for self-autonomy. If there were no Indie artists, big business corporations would have a monopoly on the music and would suppress free speech and creative authenticity. But even with that being said, Indie artists still can learn a lot from the mistakes and successes of the major label recording artists just as major label recording artists have been learning a lot from Indie artists about how to be more hands on with their business practices, more accessible to their audiences through social media and grass roots marketing approaches, and about how to be authentic and true to their artistic integrity in order to create more meaningful music.
Do programs like YouTube, and Spodify give artists a bad name or a greater advantage of being recognized?
Programs like youtube, Pandora, and spotify definitely give Indie artists an advantage because it allows music lovers worldwide to discover us without major label marketing, promotion or distribution. Some of these programs also allow us to receive residual online income when they play our songs and great organizations like sound exchange collect them for us monthly. Major label artists may sell more records but at the end of the day may still end up taking home the same amount of net earnings as an Indie artist who doesn’t have so much label debt to pay off.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be consistent, professional, on-time, and true to yourself and your life’s purpose
What’s the biggest misconception about women in this industry?
The biggest misconception about women in the industry is that we are victims. Women in general are powerful beyond measure and when we believe in our power we can accomplish anything. We don’t have to play this man’s game as much as we believe that we do. No man made me, so no man can break me, I’m property of the Divine Mother Goddess.
A great poet once said, “I Don’t Have to Lie Or Lay to get what’s for me anyway” – Raquel Ra Brown
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B?
What’s wrong with Hip hop and R&B is that these industries are not being run by real musicians or real art appreciators anymore. In fact, these markets are run by individuals and companies who do not care about the future of Black and Brown people or any people living in urban environments who consume this music as food. Mainstream Hip-hop and R&B is no longer authentic or pro-life and it is poisoning the people who consume it.
You’ve performed with Common and Queen Latifah. Who would you want to collaborate a song with and/or tour with?
I would love to collaborate with Andre 3000, Raphael Saadiq, Kendrick Lamar, and D’Angelo
What was the funniest thing that happened to you while on tour or during your singing career?
Probably tripping over a cable onstage and falling over a monitor and then trying to make a sexy roll up and come back move. It was hilarious! I kept singing though. That’s the reason I always take the lenses out of all of my glasses and just where the frames onstage. The band laughed about that fall for the longest time after that.
Who do you think is the most underappreciated artist out there right now?
I’d say Ledisi may be the most amazing and unappreciated vocalist out there now
Who’s in your iPod/radar?
The music I most recently added to my Ipod is Mali Music, The New D’angelo Black Messiah, Kendrick Lamar, Big Krit, Alice Smith, Gregory Porter & Common.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, 1) I envision myself having completed and released 2-3 more critically acclaimed albums that I really feel proud of creatively. 2) I’m really excited about building up my youth artist development company. 3) Before 5 year’s time, I would like to be in a position to sponsor my own company’s world promo tours 4) I’d love to delve into acting. 5) And lastly before 5 year’s time, I plan to complete my first screen play to become a feature film
If singing wasn’t your “thing”, what else would you be doing? If I weren’t a singer, I’d be a filmmaker
What do you want your legacy to be? My legacy will be continually promoting and perpetuating Black Excellence
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is sleep. I love love love to sleep. I hate to stay up past 10pm ever and that’s so unusual for an artist. I’m an old lady at heart
How can people reach out to you?
You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org 202 286 2688 http://www.mumufresh.com http://www.youtube.com/maimounayoussef
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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