Maimouna Youssef, who is famously known by her stage name Mumu Fresh, is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, rapper, and activist with the vision to make some difference in the world through her music.
As a third-generation singer-songwriter and musician, Maimouna came from a musical and blended family in Baltimore. She grew up listening to various musical genres, which shaped her passion and skills to assimilate the various styles with ease while creating her own unique sound.
So on Dec. 11, the American musician took to the stage on the closing day of Sole DXB, the popular Dubai street culture and music festival, which returned after a two-year hiatus.
Before the show, Youssef said “Many times, people who come to my shows say that they experience a full range of emotions. They feel the joy, they feel hyped up. Sometimes they feel emotional, they cry and then they dance. So yeah, you can expect to have a full range of emotions and feel renewed and restored after.”
While also talking about her Musical education at home – when she was a child, she, however, expressed that “My grandmother was a gospel choir director, so I learned that very young in my grandmother’s house. My mother became a jazz singer, so I learned to sing jazz when I was very young. And she was very particular about what kinds of music could even be played in the house. If she did not think a person was a good singer, they could not be played in the house. So, she curated the playlist in the home, and I heard a lot of blues, a lot of gospel, and a lot of jazz. Funnily enough, I did not hear a whole lot of R&B music, honestly. I kind of studied R&B on my own.”
Over the years, in her music career, Maimouna has collaborated with various artists including The Roots, Salaam Remi, D Smoke, Anderson Paak, Bruno Mars, Femi Kuti, Zap Mama, Nas, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Common, Raphael Saadiq and Tobe Nwigwe, and many others.
Her favorite track “Dance Daughter,” released earlier this year, says a lot about the “unapologetic joy and care” she has for music.
In an interview, she quoted that her parents were fans of rap music as well, so she grew up listening to KRS-One, Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest. And then her brothers were into Wu-Tang Clan, and at that time, hip-hop was very heavily influenced by Islam.
Moreover, Maimouna is more concerned with creating something that helps women, in particular, to heal, to let go, to be able to release, to feel some relief after struggling for so long and so hard and holding families together. In her family, she’s a lot of things to a lot of people. And she has to remind herself to be nothing but herself. As everyone needs her, she feels that she needs herself too. So, she won’t come last.