MAUIMØON, the artist from Uganda who has carved a lane for himself through consistency has recently just put out another body of work, From Uganda With Love. His artistic vision for this project is made very obviously known to his listeners through his flawless execution in production, and by collaborating with La Soulchyld. With this collaboration, MAUIMØON continues his run of cohesive projects with the follow-up to 2021’s Pleasure EP.
‘From Uganda With Love’ bears witness to MAUIMØON’s constant pursuit of next-level sounds. It opens with the keys on the Afro-RnB joint, ‘Say My Name’, a song that can only be described as sexy and genius. MAUIMØON’s tone and wonderful weaving of melodies is reminiscent of late 90’s and early 2000’s classics by greats like Craig David and Joe Thomas. His harmonization technique is especially noteworthy, pulling the listener in and hitting them where they can feel it – something the lead single “Supahawt” does so well. The bouncy ‘What You Want’ sees MAUIMØON and guest mau from nowhere (who was a part of Drummr’s collective pan-African collective album, Yamen Yamen) show off their chemistry over menacing drums.
Here, MAUIMØON uses a vocal technique that aims at giving his voice the low and rough texture typical of dancehall acts. The technique works well and MAUIMØON still manages to sound like himself. Felony’s simple but catchy hook is guaranteed to stay on repeat in your ears and in your head. On ‘Really Need’, MAUIMØON is in the full slow wind on a cold night mode. With a runtime of just under 18 minutes, ‘From Uganda With Love’ is best described as a short trip over a well sequenced sensual soundscape accompanied by a voice guaranteed to get you in your Feelings.
We had a conversation with MAUIMØON, just to have him share the basics of his thoughts in the creation of his project. This article is a result of that conversation.
For someone who’s coming across you for the first time, how would you describe yourself and your art?
I would describe myself as an observer. I see myself in my mind’s eye as a thinker, an optimist. I like to describe myself as a creative and passionate person. My art is melodious, warm, dynamic and vibrant.
You recently released ‘From Uganda With Love’, your second project and first album. This project signifies that you are taking your creative journey further on from ‘Pleasure’, the EP which you released two years ago. Can you tell why you felt the need to put out this project this year?
When I created ‘Pleasure’, most of the songs in the project had already been released. However, with ‘From Uganda With Love’, it feels like the right time to release a project that I have thought through from beginning to end using all the skills I learned since my original EP. After I returned to Uganda late 2021, I began to release music consistently, especially in 2022 to introduce myself to the scene and gear up to release ‘From Uganda With Love’ in 2023. February, being the month of love, felt like the perfect month to complete that process.
You’ve just mentioned the thematic preoccupation of the project, which is love. It feels like ‘From Uganda With Love’ is your offering to anyone listening from any part of the world, who is invested in the concept of love and romance – how important is this theme to you, and to listeners on a broader perspective beyond the music?
Love is a very important theme to me. It has been a constant theme in my previous releases because I feel there can never be enough of it especially as the world keeps going through difficult times. I love singing about it because it’s such a powerful way to connect with people and have a closer relationship with them through their own experiences.
I totally agree with what you’ve just said about the importance of love and its universality. In what ways would you say that ‘From Uganda With Love’ reflects the mood and psychological perspective of yourself as an Ugandan artist? How would you describe its social and cultural relevance to young people of Uganda and beyond?
I would say my mood is well reflected in all aspects of this project. Be it the production-wise, the vibe each track carries, my vocal performance/arrangement, the lyrics each song contains etcetera – I feel listeners can clearly paint the picture of the mood I am trying to get across. In songs like Cherry Sweet I try to bring out my playful side with my harmonies and ad-lib performance, while on songs like Really Need I focus more on showcasing my romantic personality. I feel socially and culturally ‘From Uganda with Love’ has a lot of relatable themes that would resonate with anyone in Uganda and beyond. The EP is a mix of influences from different cultures in Africa and the west.
That’s pretty interesting. You have mentioned a few songs on the project while answering that question, but could you kindly break down each song on the project based on their lyrical meaning, the creative process behind them and how you hope they resonate with listeners?
For ‘Sayin my name’ I used splice to find a sample that I felt would open the project in a way that fit the theme. The lyrical meaning in this song is that no matter what day, I will be there to give my object of affection a good time and she will always be wanting to be around me too as a result. I hope this song will get people moving and give them a vibe of 90s RnB that has been a big influence to me.
Cherry sweet was produced by ransom beatz. The lyrical meaning of this song is basically that the more I find out about this woman the sweeter she gets and the harder I fall for her. I would like cherry sweet to be a fun song people can put on and change their mood instantly, something that gives people butterflies as they reminisce or think of that special someone.
Supahawt was produced by Brizy Beatz, I wanted to make a short and sweet song that would be a feel good track for my female audience. The lyrics focus on telling a woman that they don’t need to hear from others how fine they are, they already know it themselves. I would love for my female audience to play this when they are getting ready for a night out, when they feel on top of the world and even when they need to remind themselves of how fine they are.
What You Want was produced by SOULCHYLD and features mau from nowhere. I wanted to challenge myself to create something unique but still not stray away from the flow of the project. The lyrics talk about being direct with what you want and doing it with words and actions. I hope the listeners will enjoy dancing to this song and take them on a journey.
Really Need was produced by Brizy Beatz. With this I experimented with a fluid and dynamic arrangement and wanted to showcase a more romantic song. The lyrics follow a similar theme to the song before it about being direct and not being shy to call for someone when you really need them. As someone who loves red wine I would love my audience to enjoy this with a glass or two and let this one serenade them through the night.
Can’t believe was produced by SOULCHYLD & Tyler Turner. The lyrics talk about the feelings and changes I am noticing while dancing with a woman that has caught my attention. This is another song I would like for my audience to get moving to and also, a song I hope gets stuck in their head long after it ends.
Felony was produced by Brizy Beatz as well. It was inspired by the arrangement of Really need. I wanted to have another dynamic track that doesn’t follow the Verse, Chorus structure. The lyrics focus on being betrayed by someone you felt was the one. The entire project talks about different aspects of love but Felony focuses on all of that love being betrayed. With this song I hope it surprises my listeners after being used to hearing love songs from the previous tracks before it.
While you were breaking these songs down I couldn’t help but notice that Track 4, What You Want, is the only track in which another artist (mau from nowhere) is featured. Can you share why this is the case, if you don’t mind? What was collaborating with mau like?
What you want was the last song I created and as I was in the process of making the song I felt it could use the creative mind and lyricism of mau from nowhere. In 2022 I collaborated with him on a song titled Sweeta along with Joshua Baraka. It was shortly after being introduced to him and his music, and I was blown away with his verse and his understanding of what I wanted from him for that song. When it came to What You Want I had full confidence he was going to take the song to another level and I feel he exceeded expectations.
That’s very interesting to know. How would you describe how well the project has been received?
Online I have enjoyed seeing the reception from close friends, family and supporters. I was blessed to have the number 1 album in Uganda and look forward to returning home and experiencing it first hand when I perform.
I hope you have a pleasant trip back and get to enjoy yourself on stages. I ask everyone this one question, and I’d like to hear from you too… what matters to you the most (as human) and why?
The happiness I can bring to others with my music to make their lives easier. That’s what matters the most to me.