Interview with Mouraine (Sled Island 2024)

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Mouraine at I Love You Coffee Shop on Friday, June 21 2024.

Edmonton based Hip hop and rap artist Mouraine is performing at Sled Island for his second time. He has a lot of love and appreciation for the festival and all that it does for the province. Mouraine has been an artist since before 2012 and attributes his success to all of his hard work and pushing the boundaries of his music genre.

Mouraine performs at Palace Theatre on Friday June 21 at 9:00 p.m. and at Ship & Anchor Saturday June 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Special thank you to Take Aim Media for organizing the Sled Island 2024 Interviews, and I Love You Coffee Shop for hosting us.


Emil Duguay: If we could just get started here with telling me about a bit about yourself and your background,

Mouraine: Yes, yes. My name is Mouraine. Obviously, you’ve already mentioned that. I’m a hip hop artist based out of Edmonton, Alberta, been doing music for a while now. You know, got, you know, because it is support I have with like, CJSW and other stations across the country, we’ve been able to, like, I don’t know, man lands on some big shows and release my recent album “In Search of Gold”. Yeah, yeah. Man, that’s yeah.

Emil Duguay: Cool, yeah. I was wondering a bit about your history of getting into music and how that all transpired?

Mouraine: Yeah, actually, you know what? I think my story is very similar to a lot of people, where it’s you kind of like, grow up, and you’re watching and listening to your favorite artist, and you’re like, Yo, man, this is so cool. How did they do that, you know? And then later on, kind of like tapping in in your city, and like tapping it with your local community. And I’m like, oh, there’s rappers from my city that are doing this, like, at a local level, or whatever. I’m like, Oh, if I could do this, that’s what I want to do. And I just kind of like, I don’t know, looked up to guys like Paul to Clive Brothers Grimm and just people from, like, around Edmonton, Arlo Maverick, you know? So I was like, oh, yo, this is kind of cool. I could do this. And, yeah, and that’s, that’s just kind of how it started for me. And yeah, had a group with my brothers called “TOA”, The Over Achievers, and were able to like, do like, over like 100 show this one year. And like, we got an award. We opened for Mac Miller. And we’re, like, so young, and that’s just kind of like how started.

Emil Duguay: What was the timeline of that, because I saw online, was that 100 shows in the year was, was that 2020?

Mouraine: No, no, it was way earlier than that bro. It was like, maybe, like, eight years before that, like 2012.

Emil Duguay: So you’ve had, had a long history…

Mouraine: Yeah, I’ve been doing it since I was, like, in junior high, high school. Like, yeah,

Emil Duguay: Okay yeah. Because I was having a little difficulty finding the timeline of your career.

Mouraine: Oh, Yeah, yeah. But I think I kicked off, like as a solo artist, as Mouraine in like 2014 released my first mixtape called “Cold Mornings”, and then followed a couple years later with “Cold Mornings 2” and so on, yeah.

Emil Duguay: And I also saw that you had a lot of different influences. Like you had big artists like 50 cents and 50 cent and like Akon and and that kind of stuff. And then you also had local legends like K’naan on that kind of influence you as well. And then all your the Edmonton inspiration and Mac DeMarco and all that I’ve had a lot of, yeah,

Mouraine: Yeah, guys like Luke or guys like Ka’naan and Akon specifically, was just because I was like, African, like, I was an African immigrant, you know. And I was like, Oh, wait, these guys are also African immigrants, and they’re doing this thing at like, a high level. I’m like, I was able to, like, just kind of see myself in the artist where I’m like, Oh, they they’re similar to me, in the way they talk, in the way they look, and the background they come from, and they’re doing this at a larger scale. So if they could do it, I could see myself doing it as well. So, yeah, definitely, yeah, man. And obviously, like the things they speak about in the music they make, also kind of connects with me, right? Yeah.

Emil Duguay: So yeah, me and my family loved K’naan. He just has such a good image.

Mouraine: Amazing storyteller. Like he’s able to, like, paint the picture for you through the music. And yeah, yeah.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, I liked him growing up as well. Yeah, same man. Um, so yeah, what’s your experience with Sled Island? Is this your first one? Have you had experiences with it? But like other festivals like it before?

Mouraine: I’ve done, yeah, I’ve done a few festivals across the, I guess, Europe and Canada. Obviously, there’s nothing like Sled Island, you know what? I mean, the energy is just different here. It’s, it’s local Alberta. It’s kind of like, you know, repping my home province, in a way. It’s not my first performance. This is going to actually be my second performance at Sled Island. The first one I did was Broken City. It’s now Modern Love, I think. But it used to be Broken City, and we opened up for Tierra wack before, like she. Just blew up and became like, massive, you know what I mean? And I just seems to be a trend with Sled Island. You see an artist, they perform, and the next year they’re like, huge or whatever, yeah.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, it’s good publicity,

Mouraine: Absolutely, yeah, yeah. But yeah, no, this Sled Island is definitely one of my favorite festivals, for sure.

Emil Duguay: Cool, yeah. And I like that you mentioned the energy and how it how it definitely is kind of different than every other Festival, and has so many different artists and very planned from Wednesday to Sunday, so many different venues.

Mouraine: Yeah, absolutely, a lot of a lot of different venues. And it’s just whatever your cup of tea is you just, it’s here, you know what? I mean, you can go, you check it out. And the events are just, yeah, it’s awesome time, man.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. It’s great that there’s so many Hip Hop R & B acts this (year)…

Mouraine: Absolutely, bro, absolutely. Especially for me, I, like, I’m such a advocate for, like, Alberta hip hop and local hip hop, and from Edmonton, Calgary, and I’m like, and I’m friends with a lot of these guys, you know, so it’s nice to kind of see, like, familiar names and faces on the lineups, you know, yeah,

Emil Duguay: Yeah, kind of segueing into that. Now, what’s your experience been? Obviously, your big advocate for Edmonton. And what’s your experience been with performing in Edmonton, growing up there, also doing shows in Calgary, like the province as a whole. How was that experience been?

Mouraine: I think it’s it’s been cool, man, it’s been cool. And just being able to, like, start at a young age in like music and like growing in the hip hop community, we’re obviously, like, interconnected Calgary and Edmonton. You know, you have friends, family, cousins and all of that all around. But yeah, if that’s exactly how the music scene is as well, right? And it’s just nice to be able to see that growth in terms of quality and just, yeah, the level that, like in the bar. It just keeps getting pushed higher and higher. And just to see, like, a lot of quality artists out of here, man, you know, yeah, you can have global stars like Tate McCray or like Curtis Waters or whatever. And these guys are all Calgary folks, you know what I mean. And there’s a lot of other people that are bubbling up in the scene here as well. Yeah, same thing with Edmonton. Same thing with Edmonton.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. So obviously, your career has been, it’s pretty extensive since like 2012 or even prior to that, absolutely, how is, how have you seen hip hop as a genre grow in Edmonton and Calgary since that time?

Mouraine: I- It’s crazy, because seeing it from like, a time where it was like hip hop shows were just open mic nights on Wednesday at like these dingy bars and like that, because majority of the places wouldn’t let us have like hip hop shows and all of that to like, and the show would be like Hip Hop had a cliche of like this. The whole show would just be a bunch of like, dudes, like, just, you know, like, all these hip hop heads and that wanted to be at the shows. And, yeah, like, you walk in and the room is like 90% dudes and like 99% Hip Hop heads that are like, I don’t know, it just wasn’t the most welcoming, not well, like, I fit in, obviously, but I’m saying like, it wasn’t the most inclusive, well, inclusive room, you know. But now it’s like, hip hop, bro, you go to, like, shows, and it’s like, it’s crazy, like, you just see everybody and everyone at the shows, and, yeah, yeah, I just Yeah. It’s been a lot of growth, for sure, for sure. 

Emil Duguay: And there’s such a large like, cross section in hip hop with emceeing, rapping, B boys, graffiti artists, facts, I love that.

Mouraine: Facts, facts, yeah, hip hop is like, it’s more of a way of life and like, you know, I know it sounds like very cliche, but I think it’s a way of life, how you live, how you talk, how you dress, how you know what I mean. It’s all about finding that purpose within you and just being able to, like, express that somehow. Yeah,

Emil Duguay: Yeah, exactly. So kind of tying that into your last album, yeah. How was that release, and how was the writing process for that? And how, how do you feel? Like you’ve grown up until that point, because I was listening to it, and there’s so many different kind of sub genres within it. Like, there were some songs I was a bit more pop hip hop, like, a bit more poppy kind of hip hop, and then there was, like, a lot more hard, like planet the apes, like, there was a lot more harder kind of hip hop songs as well. And there’s a couple collabs on there as well. Like, how was that process?

Mouraine: Yeah. So kind of the idea of when the album kind of came about was, like, during COVID where, like, I think a lot of us face that same struggle. Of, like, being lost and confused, and, you know, like you had like, all these plans. You’re like, Okay, I’m gonna finish school, go to college, do this. And then it’s like, no, you’re not. Nothing’s happening right now. Yeah. But so I just had that like, time to sit and think to myself and just be like, Oh, what am I gonna do? You know, and I just had this time of, like, kind of, like, soul searching and just figuring out, what do I want to do? I want to continue this music thing, or is this even going to work out? There’s no shows right now. Is the industry still going to exist? You know, do I still get to do what I love? And that’s what I kind of like? I don’t know. I took a pause and I realized I was chasing, like, wrong things and I was doing why was I even doing music? It was like, was I just doing it to, like, make money out of it? And they call it a day, or, like, they want to just blow up the glamorous and I was like, You know what? Nah, that’s, that’s not what it was for me, you know. And then that’s where the title kind of came from, in search of gold. Where I was like, Yo, I’m, what is it that I’m really searching for, you know? And what is this gold that, like, I’m trying to find. And it was like, Yo, like, I don’t know, I was able to, like, look around me. I had, like, support, I had family, I had the opportunity to be able to chase my dreams and that kind of thing. And I was like, yo, yo. This the kind of like, or just I had peace, you know. So, like, this is the kind of gold I want in my life, you know. So that’s basically how the album transcended, man.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. So it’s not really gold, it’s, it’s the the peace in mind that you’re looking for

Mouraine: Exactly that’s, I think that’s like, what the like gold is not necessary. It’s like a metaphor, right? So it’s like, gold is not necessarily the material gold, but it’s more of that purpose, that piece, that you know what? That’s your like, you know, having that peace of mind is definitely gold. 

Emil Duguay: Yeah yeah, exactly. And I know, yeah, COVID was a difficult time for a lot of artists, and it was hard to promote your music, but I’m glad that you were kind of able to marinate your feelings. And

Mouraine: Yeah, it was, yeah, it’s an amazing time for me to be able to kind of tap into, you know, like, you said sub genres and, like, try all these different sounds and kind of dive in and explore my creativity, you know what I mean? So, yeah, yeah, because there’s, I’m a human being. I’m well rounded. You know what I mean. It’s not like, I’m not hip hop, hip hop all the time. I’m also like, I like pop music. I listen to that shit, you know. I like Bieber, I like and whoever else you know, I like a lot of I listen to folk music. I listen to like me, like music all around so, and I’m sometimes I’m hardcore and I’m ur and I’m angry and I’m mad and I’m sad. And as humans, we have all these emotions, and we’re interested in all these different things and topics. So it only makes sense that I also express that in my music, right?

Emil Duguay: Yeah, exactly. Yep. Well, Said, um, so a bit more with Calgary. I saw that you’re also coming back for Stampede. You’re also Yep, yeah, performing as well, yep. Um, have you had any cool experiences while being in Calgary, or anything notable about the city as a whole? 

Mouraine: Yeah bro, Calgary’s lit man. Every time you come to Calgary, it’s drive down on 17th, Ave on the weekend. It’s insane, bro and like, yeah. And during Stampede, I always like to come by and check out some of the shows, because I love concerts. I love live music, so I’ll always find every excuse I need to come and check out a live show. So Calgary, during the summer, that’s the place to be if you want to check out some good music, for sure, or just have a good time. So, yeah, that, yeah, Calgary is fun man. 

Emil Duguay: You seem like the type of guy that’s kind of chasing the energy. And because stampede is such high energy, you’re for it, yeah,

Mouraine: I provide the energy. Yeah, for sure, though, no, no, I definitely it’s not necessarily the energy. I think it’s more of because the energy is allowed. Sometimes it’s more like, I don’t know, I just enjoy the music, bro, I think that’s what I’m there for, yeah, kind of like, just to get that inspiration, you know

Emil Duguay: Yeah, um, is there anything online or as a whole, that your fan base like, doesn’t know about you? Like, is there any, is there anything that isn’t easily like, found out you were, like, a fun little fact nugget about you that people don’t know?

Mouraine: That’s a good question, yeah, I don’t know. I speak Arabic. That’s one I don’t know. I don’t know. Oh, I think, actually, I think when people like listen to my music, because sometimes my subject matter is a little bit heavier, so people think I’m very like, you know, but what? When people meet me in real life, they’re always like, Oh my God, you’re so funny. Or like, you’re, you’re, you’re so, you know, they always think like the music translates to fully who I am as a person, but, like, my personality is very, like, outgoing. I’m super excited. And I’m like, I like dad jokes. I’ll say some corny stuff all the time, you know. So, yeah,

Emil Duguay: Yeah, you’re really, once you get to know you, you’re a very humorous kind of outgoing guy, oh, yeah, nice. Um. And this is also kind of another big. Question I have for you to end kind of near the end of this interview, but I was wondering this is a big question, what makes you happy, just in general, like, what, what? What is the your biggest sources of happiness? 

Mouraine: I think, oh, yeah, that’s a big question for real. I think what makes me happy is just being able to be alive, being grateful and just being in the moment. That’s a lot of the times I’m the happiest where I’m like, oh, even when things are not going the way I want it to, I’m like, Oh, I’m here, I’m breathing, and I’m happy for that, you know, yeah, yeah.

Emil Duguay: Fair enough 

Mouraine: Gratitude I think, yeah,

Emil Duguay: Awesome, yeah. Is there anything else that I feel like I should ask you or that I missed?

Mouraine: Um, no, not really, man, that’s that’s pretty got it all. You got it all. You got it all. Make sure you go check out my album “In Search of Gold”.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, yeah. Where can we find you?

Mouraine:, and you can find everything on there thanks to Spotify streaming and wherever else, social media.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, awesome. Thank you. Thanks so much for thank you for coming down here.

Mouraine: Yeah, I appreciate you for having me.