No artist on the local hip-hop front has flown the Torres Strait Island flag as prolifically as Mau Power, aka Patrick James Mau. With seven mix tapes to his name, his own hip-hop collective and label (One Blood Hidden Image) as well as numerous Deadly Award nominations, the 31-year-old MC is now gearing up to release his new album.
Two years in the making, “The Show Will Go On” portrays Mau Power’s maturation into fatherhood, his recent experiences and the next chapter of his ongoing journey. Mau says that the album’s title reflects the idea of the album.
“It has to do with the concept for the whole album, which is telling a story of survival and understanding of culture – of hip-hop culture, as well as my traditional culture,” he explains.
“How storytelling and sharing of knowledge keeps culture alive through the generations, and how the methods of survival and storytelling through hip hop and traditional storytelling have similarities – this is why they marry up really well.
“So the title is saying this is how it’s maintained, this is how it’s passed on. There’s also the individual journey. It captures a particular point in my journey, where I was going through extreme changes and finding my direction and identity of who I am.”
The extreme changes Mau Power is talking about include the birth of his two daughters – a life-changing experience that impacted on his writing and music.
“As an individual, you should grow and your music reflects that. It’s not different in what I’m trying to portray – the identity of who I was at the beginning is still there – it’s just a more mature, growing understanding of who I am,” he says.
“The stories that I write and the songs are personal stories projected in a way that is relatable to everybody, for people going through the same things, or those who have gone through those things at some stage.”
One song on the album, “Transition of Life”, depicts these changes quite well. It’s about Mau diverging from a “negative path” and becoming more of a positive role model and leader within his community.
“I became a father, I had two daughters in that time space, so it reflects going from a child to a father. Also, it’s a reflection of my journey of going through a negative period of my life, of being incarcerated then coming out and into a business mindset and turning that negative experience into a positive teaching method and a positive story to be told,” he says.
Mau Power did all of the recording for the new album at Beat Tank Studios in Melbourne over a period of two years.
“I do a lot of writing in the Straits, but there are times when I need to be outside of the Straits to capture inspiration. When I leave the Straits, I reflect back from an outside perspective on my life there,” he explains.
“Sometimes you have to step out of your own environment to see it in a new way. A lot of my writing was done in Melbourne. The reason I recorded in Melbourne is because the sound and the energy was there. I searched around for the sound that I wanted and that’s where it was.”
Mau, who was one of, if not the first major Torres Strait Islander hip hop artists to make a living from the art, says that the foremost goal he tries to accomplish through his music is to inspire.
“The message we provide is not focused on ‘These are the problems’, or ‘What should one do’, not giving solutions but giving people the opportunity to feel, ‘I am the master of my own destiny’, and ‘These problems or issues surrounding me can either enslave me or empower me’, he says.
“We want empowerment, self-determination, that’s what I believe. Sometimes you can’t change the world, but you can change an individual, and then inspire them to change the world.”
“The Show Will Go On” will be released early this year and followed by a national tour.