SOUND OFF: MOZIAH
Aug 16, 2020
MOZIAH is a 23-year-old Haitian-American pop artist that exhales creativity and art!
His upcoming EP “ZYEBOY” shows that he entered the music industry to stay and through his music, he fights against injustice and in favor of a more inclusive world!
MOZIAH grow up in central New Jersey, where has been surrounded by artistic inspiration. After watching his dad sing around the house as a kid, Guerrier sang in church choirs, theater productions, and even played in a punk-ska band in high school.
That energy and passion for creation were what made him pursue an artist career. At age 18, he started to release music.
In 2018, he wrote and co-produced his first EP “Dax Nextdoor” which gained hundreds of thousands of streams across platforms and launched himself to the world. And, well, now in 2020 he is working on two more EP’s full of influences and stories to tell.
1. “ZYEBOI” is your upcoming EP where your music has more hip-hop feel rather than the soulful beats found in your other tracks. What prompted this difference in a creative direction?
We (my co-producer Theodore and I) started working on these songs at the end of our first album Dax Nextdoor. It was to originally serve as a fun break from the more involved, genre-hopping work we tended to do. We’re both big hip-hop fans so we were hyped to narrow down.
While actually making it, our lives began to get stressful. I was stretching myself thin commuting to New York from New Jersey nearly every day and Theodore was getting busier and busier with work; so it became a tiny outlet for all up pent up stress life was putting on me at the time as a first-gen dude of color trying to keep going.
2. The EP is being released quite intentionally at this moment, what made you decide to release it now as opposed to earlier when the project was completed?
Aside from previewing it secretly with our second EP, Finesse Hudgens, we held onto it for a while.
Once quarantine and police brutality cases started to rise, this project came to mind again. That familiar chaos, frustration, hype, and anger started to return and started to show themselves in my other peers of color. This project became a little larger than me. It became a time capsule for a genuinely chaotic and frustrating time to be in.
3. What do you want people to take away from ZYEBOI?
I have two very different EPs coming out this year and they’re both teaching me to meet myself where I am.
Rather than continuing to grind blindly, writing these songs was a way to check in with why I was doing what I was doing, as well as a way to call into question the things currently in place.
We’re all kind of doing that right now; because we actually have the time to now with COVID. I hope we continue to make space to check in with ourselves and the world around us once things pick up again. The first step to solving a problem is awareness, after all.
4. Who are your musical inspirations?
It’s hard to narrow them down (I draw from A LOT of places). But three of my biggest influences are Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, and Janelle Monae.
Stevie’s a master of creating worlds and moods in albums. Kendrick’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’s storytelling aspect encourages me to find intent and authenticity in my work. And Janelle’s just really cool to me. I love the way she works with different genres to make something cohesive.
5. Your live performance at Rockwood Music Hall is being streamed on July 23rd! How does it feel to be able to see yourself performing amidst a time when live performances are still almost nonexistent?
I feel very lucky too! It’s been a mixed bag not being able to do shows; so I’m very happy to use live streams to stay in touch with everyone. It’s also been great to reach new people in real-time in a way I couldn’t with a traditional, town-specific show.
6. What has been your favorite part of performing live? Do you have any notable moments you can share?
Favorite part of performing live is A LOT of it. I’ve trained in theatre for seven years; so I geek out making stuff for the stage.
My favorite part is making the live experience different from our recorded songs. You can access our music anywhere and everywhere these days; so I work closely with my band to make the live experience something you REALLY can’t get on streaming platforms. We love throwing a good party.
7. ZYEBOI is one of two EPs that you are releasing this year, can you tell us about the other project and why you decided to create two EPs?
These two EPs are kind of fraternal twins; because they were developed at the same time; but they look and sound different from each other on the surface. I don’t want to say much, but it’s about a lesson I’ve learned very recently.
8. You graduated from NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts with an acting degree. Do you see acting in the future for you?
Totally. I made my TV debut on Episode 3 of Pokemon Sun and Moon: Ultra Legends last winter and continue to study and practice between projects. I hope to keep being a part of dope stories and projects in the future, be it in the MCU, Black Mirror, High Maintenance, or in FX’s ATLANTA.
9. What made you decide to take the leap from theatre and acting to music?
I’ll be honest, I don’t see them as different things. They’ve gone hand in hand in the past, but they also scratch the same itch for me. They’ve all been great ways of sharing my perspective and getting information out there.
10. What has been the proudest moment you have had in your career?
I had two separate people reach out to say that my music helped them through a rough time they were going through. As someone who’s been through rough times and had a playlist or album inspire me, that was special to me. Simply to hear that my work was there for someone like someone else’s work was once there for me meant way more than any other milestone. It reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place.
11. What is a question you want people to ask you? Can you answer it for us?
“What book are you reading rn, MOZIAH?”
Dog, so glad you asked! I’m reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and it is FUEGO. I’m getting a time machine to let my younger self borrow it. (Keyword: borrow — I want it back after).
12. What does the future look like for you? What do you hope to achieve?
I hope to achieve more freedom and access to entertainment. A lot of my work so far, visually and musically, has been a pitch to be a part of bigger stories. I’d love to score and act in some really cool films and then one day bring my own animated series to life. I’d also like to travel more, learn to code, and run a marathon one day.
13. We see an evolution in your music, what other genres and creative directions do you want to incorporate into your music?
Creatively, the experience around the album excites me. With each album, I really like finding small ways to make worlds people can follow and interact with.
In the past, I’ve sneaked recurring melodies into songs, motifs into my music videos, and most recently, a three-digit code into our previous EP, Finesse Hudgens. Those kinds of things excited me as a listener, reader, and moviegoer; so I love giving listeners different ways to connect the dots how they like and make their own stories and interpretations with my work. I hope to find more and more fun ways to make each release experience special.
14. What has been motivating you right now?
Shoutout Coach Bennett from the app Nike Run Club. That dude is great and has been a pioneer of incorporating dad humor into guided runs. A legend in the field.
15. Can you tell us a secret?
I’m really two hyperactive private school kids in a trenchcoat. No cap.
ZYEBOY proceeds will go to BEAM, the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective.
Don’t forget to follow MOZIAH on social media to stay on top of all news and t fall in love even more with this talent and an incredible artist: Instagram and Facebook.