Music has magnetizing allure. Songs unearth emotion. From raindrops tapping a window to a soft bone-chilling melody, sound connects us to our most powerful memories and feelings.
Mawule (pronounced “MAH-OOH-LEY”), a Denver-based singer and songwriter, believes music serves as a coping mechanism. His songs often revolve around social issues that hold themes of empowerment, hope and healing.
“Live with no regret is a motto that I really try to uphold,” Mawule said. “No matter what happens to me, I really try to be a positive person. I look for a lot of optimism in everything.”
Personal experiences and his friends’ stories inspire Mawule’s songs.
At ten years old, Mawule relocated from Ghana to the United States with his family. He began his musical career three years after he moved countries.
“Overall, my upbringing has really fostered how I see the world and how I see my environment,” he said. “That does play into how I create my music.”
Mawule’s music style embraces vulnerability. When people hear his songs about issues such as racism and oppression, many reach out to the singer through social media and share their own experiences.
“If you listen to a lot of my music, like ‘Live Again’ is a song that’s very much inspired by my upbringing in Ghana,” he shared. “That’s more about poverty and the experience of living in a third world country.”
As an artist, Mawule uses his influence to address domestic violence and sexual assault. His music video “It’s Not You” follows several women and shows common experiences of harassment and sexual assault. During the planning phase of the song and music video, Mawule reached out to professionals in the field who work with cases of sexual assault and domestic violence to include their perspectives. He hopes the video serves as a reality check and makes people think twice about their actions.
As a university resident director, Mawule often talks with students about sexual assault. The stories that he has heard as a resident director, and from friends, inspired him to create “It’s Not You” so he could help survivors cope and let them know they aren’t alone.
“It’s always hard,” Mawule said. “College is a place where [sexual assault] happens a lot. Overall, on college campuses, there’s a lot of work going on, but I think we need to do more work to really create more education and create more knowledge.”
Mawule’s entertainment platform, called “More than Music,” helps increase awareness around social issues on university campuses. The platform combines music performances and dialogue. Between songs, Mawule poses questions to the audience about a social issue. The format helps communities address sensitive topics in small groups when music helps broach difficult conversations.
“If you are someone that did go through these experiences, [know that] it is not your fault,” Mawule said. “On the other side as men, we need to do a better job of educating ourselves, educating each other and not being a bystander to these incidents and these social dilemmas.”