Editor: Tony Ho
In my previous blog, “Mawule – The Man Behind The Name”, I wrote that my premise for the Chosen LP was to encourage fans to reflect on their unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices. I am a reflective person, always thinking about my impact in the world, the choices I make, and how each and every life experience continues to paint my blueprint on this world. With this in mind, I wanted to release a collection of records that would give listeners insight into who I am and the values for which I stand.
At the beginning of this entire process, I was recovering from an ankle surgery and also struggling with other health issues, so I decided to focus on improving my overall health. When I was physically immobile, I devoted my time to writing lyrics. I always had a pen and paper by my side and the voice memo app on the iPhone was virtually my best friend as I recorded ideas that came to mind.
I wrote nearly 25 songs, but narrowing the songs I wanted to put on the album was a lot more challenging than I had previously thought. However, I was able to select the following songs for the new album: “Simple”, “Fall For Me”, “Anything”, “It’s Not You”, “Chosen”,“Get Your Name”, “A Wish”, “Live Again”, and (later added) “Black is Beautiful”.
Every song on my Chosen LP will have a personal message to which listeners can easily relate. Chosen is a reflection. Chosen is about empowerment. Chosen is my responsibility. Here is a brief description of the songs from my Chosen album.
“Simple” is a song about moving on. Sometimes when a relationship is over, people struggle to find the courage to move forward. Some people spend their time reminiscing over the past, while others feel stuck and regret that they did not approach the relationship differently. “Simple” advises people to remember that life is short and encourages listeners to find the strength to transition to the next chapter of their life.
“Fall For Me” ft Jerney
“Fall For Me” is about trust – one of the key elements in a successful relationship. I wrote this song about a personal experience where I wanted someone I was pursuing to give me a chance. I wanted her to break down her walls and not be afraid to fall for me. The song is about recognizing when that special someone is standing right in front of you.
“Anything” is a song I wrote to communicate my value of living a humble lifestyle not dictated by materialism. I want to be with someone who will love me at my highest and lowest points and not for how much money I possess. This song is about the pure and genuine love that can be fostered in a strong relationship.
“Black is Beautiful”
“Black is Beautiful” was a last-minute addition to the album. I wrote this song in collaboration with Bianca Mikahn and III Seven to highlight Black pride while recognizing some of the challenges that many people of color face as a result of racism and oppression. The song is about liberation and maintaining tenacity in the face of adversity.
“It’s Not You”
The sad and disturbing reality is that a few of my close friends have been victims and survivors of sexual violence. “It’s Not You” addresses this heavy but important societal problem which needs to be resolved. I want to disrupt rape-supportive culture, so I wrote this record to continue building awareness and to decrease the victim-blaming that typically occurs within our society.
“Chosen” is a song with a double-meaning. This track is about being noticed and accepted – both in a romantic setting and in the context of my musical career. Some of us go above and beyond to pursue our romantic interests as well as our vocational pursuits. However, a lack of progress can sometimes lead us to question whether or not we should continue to invest further time and effort.
“A Wish” is a song that depicts the exciting dating phase of a new relationship. It portrays feelings of deep infatuation after you first meet someone whom you have fallen for “head over heels”.
“Get Your Name”
“Get Your Name” was inspired by a friend who was totally unhappy in a stagnant relationship and didn’t know how to leave. As a result, they were constantly fantasizing about the perfect escape each time they made a passionate connection with a stranger. A lot of people have experienced this kind of dilemma, so I wrote this fun song to share this fantasy.
“Live Again” is a song of hope, where I express my thoughts and feelings when I see people living on the streets. I wrote this song to communicate my faith and hope for life to get better for individuals who experience homelessness.
I have put forth a tremendous amount of effort into these records and I want my audience to have a meaningful listening experience as they derive their own understanding and connection to the Chosen LP. My life experiences and the interaction of my intersecting identities shaped the songs I wrote and selected for this album. Nina Simone once said, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times“. This very statement reflects what I try to accomplish with Chosen.
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