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Mau’s life-changing power of music

Festival 2018
16 Nov 2017 by Fiona Self

Hip hop artist Patrick Mau, known as Mau Power, has shared his music all over the world, but it was at home in the Torres Strait Islands where he discovered its true impact. 

At GC2018, Mau will perform on the Festival 2018 Queensland Music Stage, presenting a fusion of traditional Torres Strait Islands dancers and contemporary music.

Through his music, Mau’s on a mission to cross cultural boundaries, connect people and inspire and empower the next generation.

His Aria award-winning musician and grandfather, Seaman Dan, introduced him to music.

When Mau was seven, he would watch his grandfather perform and record his albums, attributing his love of music to those early years on Thursday Island.

“I grew up around music, it’s part of my culture, music and dance,” he told GC2018.com.

“My grandfather invited me into the recording studio, he was recording his first album at the time, Follow the Sun.

“I remember going in there and that’s when I knew music would be part of my life.

“It changed my life and music has just been who I am ever since.”

Mau is a strong believer in the unparalleled power of music to connect cultures and he uses music as a way to share the story of the Torres Strait Islands.

His vision, for his music and the work he does with local communities, is to connect cultures.

“We need to get the Torres Strait story of culture out, through music, out to the rest of the world to be able to have an understanding of the culture and what we do,” he said.

“You know, when people speak about Indigenous people from Australia, they say ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ without knowing or understanding the layers and concepts.

“Even though we are all similar, through the stories you’re able to learn about a culture.

“That’s the ultimate goal, to be able to have that understanding so when you speak about cultures, you have a contextual background of what you’re talking about and you can connect on that level.

“To really know the Torres Strait story and have a better understanding of the identity of the Torres Strait Islands is what really comes through the music and the stories.

“It’s the great emotional life, everyone feels music.”

Mau is the first rapper from the Torres Strait Islands to break into the international music scene.

“When I started out, my communication to the outside world was very minimal outside the region, but music became a great avenue to get out there,” he said.

“The whole journey has been more of a discovery journey.

“At the beginning you’re not focussed on making a name or creating a brand, it’s just about being able to be a creative and having opportunities to record the story and the song.

“It’s about getting out there and being known, not only from an artist perspective but where I come from and the community I represent. 

“As time goes by, you find a voice and people start connecting with the music and it becomes something more.

“It’s a journey I would never change and it’s made me grow personally.”

Mau’s success has taken him all over the world, recently touring in London and Guam.

His music reverberates strength and confidence, but when faced with doubts, he focusses on how challenges will help him, and his music, grow.

“You always doubt yourself,” he said.

“It happens regularly, every time you move to a different level in your career, whether it’s production or performances.

“Right now this is a whole new level. I could never foresee that this would ever happen, but now it is.

“I like to look at challenges as the growth period. If there are no challenges, people don’t grow and we can’t really know what our full capabilities are unless we are tested.

“Even if the test is just to reconfirm to yourself that you have chosen the path and now you have to be able to commit to everything that comes to it.”

When he isn’t touring, Mau spends much of his time travelling and working with young artists.

His work is guided by two themes that he’ll be sharing with audiences at Festival 2018.  

“Inspire and empower, that’s what it’s all about," he said.

“The world is full of a lot of un-empowering and uninspiring and negative things, you want to be the one to inject it with positivity and be able to show that from remote communities in Australia, you are still able to have a voice and you’re able to share that around the world.”