Mumu Fresh Celebrates Black Music Month, Recalls Musical Influences And Offers Words Of Advice To Aspiring Musicians

Maimouna Youssef, also known by her stage name, Mumu Fresh, has been dubbed a quadruple threat, using her artistry to serve the masses as a singer, emcee, songwriter, and activist to name a few. 

She has no plans of letting up anytime soon and in honor of Black Music Month, aspireTV sat down to chat with her about how she manages to balance it all, the work she leads within the community to support fellow creatives, and more.

“Most artists can do multiple things,” said Mumu Fresh. “Because there’s a creative force that’s moving through you that doesn’t compartmentalize, it doesn’t have to put things on shelves, right? It’s not selling anything. So the creative energy is just available to tap into if we want to put forth the effort and the consistency to grow it and develop it.”

No stranger to tapping into her creative spirit, Mumu Fresh has traveled the world, building a relationship with fans, and sharing stages with acts like The Roots, Common, Anderson Paak, Bruno Mars, D. Smoke, and a host of others. 

When it comes to the musical influences that inform her creative process, Mumu Fresh says her mother’s musical taste is to thank for her desire to have music that spans across genres.


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“I pull from everything,” she recalled. “I’m grateful. Shoutout to my mom because she really kind of curated the playlists in my home growing up. We couldn’t listen to whatever we wanted, especially because she’s my music teacher. Early on, I had strict assignments of who I could listen to because she was shaping my voice. So things that came on the radio, my mom wouldn’t even let me listen to it. I had to listen to Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone, you know? Alice Coltrane. Artists like that. That was the kind of artists that my mother respected either for their tone, their sound, and also for their political content. That shaped a lot of how I would end up understanding politics and an artist’s role in communicating social change themes.”

What’s more, the GRAMMY-nominated singer, who is the Musical and Cultural Ambassador for the US State Department, and also the former elected governor of the DC chapter of The Recording Academy extends her hand out to help others on a similar path or with aspirations to break into the music industry.

“When I would be on tour, women in particular would come up to me and ask me questions like, ‘How did you book the show? How do you do this? How do you record?’ There were questions that people would just ask me and I would find myself giving the same information over and over again and I was like, ‘I need to have a class.’”

“We were in the pandemic and normally I wouldn’t have a lot of time to teach, but during the pandemic, everyone was home and I love to teach, it is a passion of mine. I enjoy it as much as I enjoy performing. Just seeing people have an aha moment, and I’ve been a part of programs where people convolute the information so much that you always have to keep coming back to them as the source as opposed to teaching them how to fish. Don’t just keep giving them fish. That’s what I wanted to have the opportunity to do for other artists. To give them the tools that they needed to truly be independent. I had an artist come to me and say that he had been researching me online and that he realized that he thought he was independent, but he wasn’t. His label was independent, but he was not, meaning he did not have the ownership that he thought he had. That stuck with me and stayed with me and made me want to start and I started one program at a time.”

First up was her songwriting class, but since then Mumu Fresh has taught eager students about contract reading, and performing, and she even developed another course titled Heartsong, which focused on the mental health of the artists through songwriting.

She has big dreams for the university that she’s been building over the last four years. 

“Every time I teach a class, I expand my network,” said Mumu Fresh. “It’s a really beautiful, fulfilling process and as far as the legacy of the university, I hope for it to become an actual brick-and-mortar school one day. I want it to be an art school one day and even franchise these schools all around the world.”

At the end of the day, MuMu Fresh aims to mentor those on a mission to fulfill their purpose through creative endeavors, which is why she has a deep affinity for mentoring. 

“It was so much I missed, and partly because everyone’s kind of figuring it out in real-time and making mistakes, and hopefully, the mistake isn’t so bad that you can’t recover from it. What I saw was a lot of artists just lose their love for the art because the business is so cold-blooded,” she explained. 

“What I would tell artists is to try and separate that in your heart. The love for art versus capitalism. It’s not the same thing. You can do your art without making it for sale, but if you want it to be for sale, take some classes, learn something and it doesn’t even have to be in a formal school setting, but studying under someone like learning business. If you’re going to sell music, you have to learn the business aspect of it.”

You can check out several aspireTV exclusive, long-form performances from Mumu Fresh right now by visiting

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