Clapper Sounds with The Mufasa

For our 24th Clapper Sounds Interview, we’re highlighting Clapper creator and musician, The Mufasa!

The Mufasa (or @TheMufasa) is soul and blues musician on Clapper. His profile is all music – covers and originals – and he hosts weekly sing-a-long lives to show off his skills. Many of his covers are soulful versions of new and old favorites, recreated so well you might not even realize they’re covers. We sat down with @TheMufasa to learn more about how he found his sound, what kind of instrument he’d be, his advice for new musicians, and more.

Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. Listen to his music as you read to get to know The Mufasa and his hypnotic sound.

Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?

My first memory would be staying at my grandmother’s and hearing a whole bunch of soul music. Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cooke playing in the morning while she cooked breakfast. I stayed at my grandmother’s a whole lot like during the summers, and she always had that old soul, blues music playing. That kind of sparked my interest in music. What actually started my artist’s journey is when my grandmother passed. I was around 15 years old and needed an outlet. My brother had a guitar he never played it, so I would sneak in and play that guitar. It was a great way to endure the pain of losing someone I loved. Because guitar is painful, learning and playing a guitar is very painful. It was a good outlet emotionally and physically, and that’s kind of what started the artist’s journey for me.

Has your style of music changed? Or have you always preferred the genre you currently work in?

My style has changed and evolved throughout the years. I think with life came more experience. And with that experience came a different version of myself. And one I’ve kind of landed on would be soul. Once I started the artist journey, it was a whole lot of acoustic, electric guitars, and pop music. But, you know, when you’re young, you get your first love and for most of us does not work out. It didn’t work out for me, and the emotional longing and suffering came along, then that just hunkered down into blues and soul. From there it’s kind of evolved, and I sit in where I’m at now because I’m way comfortable. And I love the emotions I can get out doing the soul type of music! 

How often and for how long do you practice?

If I’m gonna be honest, there’s not a whole lot of practice involved. I would say when I was learning the guitar and and how to sing, it would be hours upon hours a day just to stop to eat. Nowadays, I’ll see a song, I like it, and I’ll start learning the chords and trying to twist it to make it my own. That’s about as far as practice goes nowadays. I probably should practice a whole lot more but as for my journey right now, there’s not a whole lot of practice involved.

To make a song my own, I find the chords and slow it down. Make it a little bit more gritty, find spots in the music that the lyricist wanted to show emotion and bring it out. I make elongate the vowels in that word, verse, or chorus and make it more pronounced. So you feel more than what you would if you were listening to a normal pop song with a fast beat. I like to get that that pop music, slow it down, and make you listen to those words instead of just the music.

If you were an instrument, what would you be and why?

An alto saxophone. When you look at it, it is very complex and what you have to do to make the sounds is very complex. But in all actuality it’s a very simple instrument: you blow air through a tube and it goes out holes. I feel like that is me. I look and maybe sound very complicated, but when you get down to the nitty gritty of it, I’m a very simple kind of guy. And the alto saxophone works in a lot of different areas, like marching band or jazz or blues. It’s a chameleon of sorts. So I feel like I would fit really well as an alto saxophone. And I play the alto saxophone! Along with the barry sax, some trumpet, piano, and guitar.

What are you most proud of to date? And what keeps you making music?

I’m most proud of raising my three kids. That is my greatest achievement: being a dad and staying with my kids. I adopted them when they were three, five, and seven and I always wanted to be a dad and get to be really involved. That is and will always be my greatest accomplishment in life is being able to be there for my kids, raising them, and have them be successful. Those are my prides and joy.

What keeps me making music is life in general. Life throws you curve balls, life lifts you up and slams you down. Life is a good force to keep making music because within life, there’s always emotion. May it be happy or sad, lonely, or joyous there’s all sorts of emotion in life. It may be kind of a general answer but life in and of itself and the emotions it carries for myself, my friends, and my family. You can draw off that, put it down the music, and feel it.

Deciding to be an artist can have its ups and downs. What advice would you give to that young artist who is just learning to play guitar, or starting singing lessons and whose dream is to be a musician?

Never stop. Keep moving forward. You hear it all the time from large artists: don’t stop at your first no, don’t stop at your second no, don’t stop at your 20th no. You keep moving forward. Stick to what you like, don’t try to conform to anything that you think would work. You stick to your true self and the opportunities and your community will start growing. So keep moving forward, be true to yourself, and growth will happen.

Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram. Enjoy the Clapper Sounds Live Session with The Mufasa!