Posted On 19 Jun 2018
MOONZz just released her new focus track, “Dissolve.” The song is the second track off of her latest Aftershock EP. She also recently did a collaboration with Spotify / Sephora, where she debuted hair and makeup looks for the festival season, and even did a takeover of the Sephora Instagram account.
Praised by Noisey as “blessed with a fierce set of pipes that execute R&B runs with effortless aplomb over downtempo trap-influenced beats,” MOONZz has garnered well over 20 million Spotify streams since the release of her debut EP, Trust Cycles, in 2016. She burst onto the scene with her first single, “Satisfy,” which has been featured in four ad campaigns for Victoria’s Secret, including Body by Victoria and Dream Angels. 2017’s hit, “Navigator,” has over 8 million streams and has garnered admiration from the likes of EARMILK, MILK and Nest HQ, who called the track “a prime example of her abilities as both an artist and storyteller,” and has even been featured in the 2017 / 2018 Hulu Holiday TV Campaign and appeared at DoLab at Coachella in 2017 with Daktyl.
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Learn more about MOONZz in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
A: Just had a writing session in hollywood. Usually I’d hike up to griffith park but I’m actually heading home to pack for a trip to Colorado to celebrate my friend’s wedding!
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
A: 2018 has been really really exciting, and I feel like I’m in the best headspace after releasing this EP. I’m learning to love the process/creative flow. Writing, composing, producing, reworking and recording are the most rewarding experiences in the world. From the start of the year, I’ve had this newfound sense of self-worth and self-love. One goal I had for this year was another commercial sync with a song of mine (“Navigator”) and that happened in December/January, starting off the year with a sweet celebration. Also, Victoria’s Secret used my song, “Satisfy,” in another commercial in March! So, that was a really magical early birthday present. I’m working on the next goal: my album. I’ve also started diving in and developing my live show experience. I’d like to create an immersive, comforting, safe space for everyone that comes to my shows. More shows and more intimate opportunities for me to play for fans is high up on my goal list as well. I love performing.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
A: Oh yeah. I feel so blessed to have my mom and dad. I started playing piano at like 4 or 5 years old. It felt so magical right away. They pushed me to practice my instrument everyday and that really pushed me to start writing my own music early on. I remember lots of melodies, little things here and there. I’d figure out lots of songs I heard on the radio by ear and then write my own melodies afterward after studying the structure… I have lots of memories of performing for my family, especially performing my early compositions for my dad, while he sat there in our “piano room” listening patiently, with his loving eyes, always pushing me to keep on creating. It’s the support and love from my parents that really pushed me to keep working hard at my craft. I’m so grateful for their love.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? Has there been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
A: Hearing stories (on Instagram, Twitter, through email) from all my beautiful fans/friends around the world, and just knowing my songs resonate with people is an indescribable feeling, mainly because I write them from personal experience – from people/experiences that have hurt me, challenged me to rethink my relationships, etc. It’s a powerful feeling that continues to surprise with each release.
A challenge as an artist honestly is learning how to live & combat creative blocks – I practice everyday and record random melodies here and there, but would hit these walls with constant pressure to write something I LOVED and just tear myself apart if it didn’t come out as I envisioned. It’s been a personal journey and a constant daily exercise to accept that some songs I write are just the stepping stones to the next song, that might be the best song I’ve ever written (we’ll see!).
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? If you don’t think that it has affected you at all, why is that?
A: I feel like I’ve always been a sponge wherever I live… I lived in Boulder, CO for 4 years while in college and really discovered my love for electronic / experimental looping. The quality of life, hiking and all the weekly shows heavily influenced my music and writing at that time.
I really love soaking up my surroundings… now I live in the Los Feliz neighborhood (East Hollywood) and it’s full of so much beauty – I try to take time to explore everyday. I also love people watching and writing stories of friendships, strangers, and everything in between.
I find it interesting that sometimes musicians choose to go by something other than their own name so why did you decide to go something other than your own name?
A: I feel like MOONZz is an extension of myself. Fierce, loving, strong, confident. To me, it’s always been a reminder to search for the light, but never be afraid of the darkness that leads you there.
What did it feel like recently releasing your EP, “Aftershock”? Do you remember the first time you heard it all the way through? Did anything surprise you about putting this collection together? How long did it take?
A: It feels like the most cohesive collection of songs I’ve written to date. When I got the masters back, I cried while blasting them, driving through Griffith Park. It felt freeing.
“Shadow” was the oldest song featured on this EP – I wrote it over two years ago. Overall, the EP took about 8-9 months.
Let’s talk about your track, “Dissolve.” What was the inspiration for this song? How did it and some of the other songs on your EP come together?
A: It stemmed from a vivid dream I had… I was walking in a deserted place, across from a silhouette in slow motion. The idea of “feel the weight begin to dissolve” was visually pleasing, like turning into dust, as soon as you stop worrying. while in the studio with my friends Mick and Mike at 10k Islands, we jumped right in and wrote it in a few hours. I ended up finishing the record with my friend/producer, Scott Robinson. We recorded a ton more harmonies to create the dreamscape world I kept imagining. He really knew how to bring it to life.
The other songs of my EP were each written with different producers/writers/dear friends of mine.
“Aftershock” was written over the summer, with my friends, Avena Savage and Daniel Weber. I wrote down the word ‘aftershock’ after all the earthquakes struck Mexico City. The idea of the aftershock of a person in your life was so fascinating to me – like not being able to control when you would feel the shocks of the memories. I knew it would make for a brilliant song. It reminded me of so many relationships I’ve had, so it struck a chord for sure.
“Echo” and “Shadow” were written to my inner-voice/inner naysayer. I feel like my anxiety was at an all time high and I was learning how to guide myself through the struggle. I’ve learned that my shadow can teach me so much about myself.
“Where Do We Go” started from a melody I heard in a dream. I woke up and recorded it immediately and went to work with Nicki Adamsson and Mike Hunnid at Ten Publishing on the waltz dream.
What was it like collaborating with Spotify and Sephora? How did you come up with the hair and makeup looks for the festival season? When it comes to all of that, what inspires you and your look?
A: Oh my goodnesssss, it was such a fun collaboration! The Sephora/Spotify team presented the three looks, with the focus being the colors/accents we chose (eye makeup, lip, jewels, hair). I feel like my look is an extension of how I’m feeling on any given day – so i loved the contrasting looks. I love metallic and monochrome everything. I feel like I’m inspired by NYC/Tokyo street style – it’s comfortable yet sophisticated.
How do you think you have grown as an artist since your 2016 EP, “Trust Cycles” was released?
A: It’s night and day from my first EP. So much suppressed emotion went into Trust Cycles – relationships and anxieties I wasn’t ready to face – I was still learning what I wanted to sound like and make people feel when they listened to my music. I feel like I’m always evolving, but releasing it was as cathartic as can be, because it opened up a new door for the next iteration of MOONZz.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows this summer?
A: An ideal MOONZz show creates a safe, inclusive, loving environment for everyone. I just had a beautiful SoFar LA show in Venice with 130 people in someone’s backyard and it was so intimate, it felt like a dream. Living room shows make my heart happy.
I’m performing at The Rockwood Music Hall June 25th in New York, that I’m very much looking forward to. Some other shows will be announced soon. I can’t wait.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
A: I wouldn’t say my music touches on our political climate. I just want to make my listeners feel empowered and capable in the skin they’re in. Women/Men/LGBTQIA/whatever your color, it doesn’t matter to me. To love and be loved. To treat people with respect and spread that love around.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?
A: Honestly, I’ve learned to love it because I get to share the ups and downs of my life. I feel like it’s really important to be as transparent as possible with myself and with my fans, and I really believe this last year has been exactly that.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
A: I’m a huge fan of everything: jazzy, left of center, future soul, pop. Nai Palm (of Haitus Kaiyote) is a constant inspiration. I love her so much. Love Little Dragon, always. Same with Phantogram. Taylor Mcferrin is one of my favorite producers to date. Recently I’ve been into Mallrat, Caroline Rose, Jack Garratt, Lauv, King Princess, and Kimbra to name a few.
Since I was like seven I’ve always been a huge Fiona Apple and Tori Amos fan. Because of their vulnerability and strength through dark times, I felt inspired and capable of pursuing music and living the life I’m living.
If I could work with anyone, I’d love to work with:
Miike Snow / Andrew Wyatt
Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala)
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you?
A: My Kaoss Pad, for looping and all the creative melodies/stream of consciousness.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
A: I think The Handmaid’s Tale or High Maintenance or Broad City… I also think hearing my music in the next James Bond film would be indescribably cool.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
A: Art = vulnerability. So, any way that resonates in someone’s life is exactly what I want them to take from my music. Hardships and challenges are there to help guide you. So trust that you will get through the darkness.
Where can our readers connect with you?
A: Instagram for your viewing pleasure: @MOONZzmusic
Twitter where I share random thoughts/ rants/ and weekly inspiration: @MOONZzmusic
Thank you for taking the time to interview me.