aside by Julia Ismail October 20, 2017
Moha didn’t live a conventional childhood. In his younger years, he moved around frequently, living in Senegal, France, and throughout the United States.
Speaking both the native Senegalese language of Wolof and French, Moha maintained a love for his native Senegal above all else.
“I mean, it’s a place where people make up with love for all of the money and opportunities they lack. It has to be seen to be believed. It’s an incredible place where one can never really feel alone.”
Moha’s inspiration to tell a story over a beat isn’t derived through other music. Instead, his inspiration comes from the internal experiences within himself.
“I don’t think I am much inspired by other music. I was not really allowed to listen to music growing up so when I started making music, I did not have much reference to help shape mine. It was just what was resonating within me. That behavior followed me since and now I still make what feels right to me. However, on a daily basis, when I am not writing mine, I try and listen to as much World Music as possible. I feel like in that genre, the musicians try and display what their culture is like. I find it super interesting.”
In his newly dropped single “A-Side,” afro-beats are infused with a modern pop twist, as Moha tells a love story over synthesized vocals.
“A Side” is the perfect example of the genuine, emotionally-charged storylines that Moha delivers his audience. In the single, the singer guides us through a classic story of a man who cares for a woman, but can’t seem to stop her from slipping away, though he does everything to gain back her attraction.
Moha plays music that naturally vibes with his emotions at that moment. He hints that there won’t be a consistency regarding music themes, shifting from one to another, flowing with his incalculable moods.
“Even though the story is truly continuous, it all did not happen the same day. I was in a different mood, wearing different clothes and all that stuff. So the music is really going to be very different. The only guarantee I can give is that it is going to be from me and very real…”
Moha didn’t always imagine that he would be a professional storyteller.
“It kind of just happened naturally. When I was 15 years old, I started to feel the need to exteriorize all these images I was seeing in my head. It was truly for my own sanity. I was this loner kid that never really spoke much but was very in tune with my surroundings.”
The Senegalese artist first emerged into the spotlight with his debut EP Things Won’t Always Be The Same.
Performing without the use of social media since day one, Moha moved to New York City in 2015, within a year he performed 300 live shows that he booked himself.
When asked how it felt to connect with his audience without social media, Moha shared a refreshing view on the world of internet connectedness.
“I just feel like a screen cannot really portray all the nuances in one’s behavior. I would say being social media free helped me narrow my focus because the only thing I could bank on was people wanting to see me again because they’ve had such a great moment… Unedited, everything real, you know? And I felt like with social media, you could edit and change anything. It is less spontaneous which is very much so the opposite of who I am. Hence, much harder for me.”
His fanbase’s word of mouth and his dedication for music has led Moha to venues like Webster Hall, Mercury Lounge, and Rockwood Music Hall.
Now, Moha has merged into the spotlight, taken the music industry by his own hands. A singer, piano, and guitar player, Moha has just released his album FIT.
The title is a direct translation from his native language, Wolof. In Wolof, “FIT” means “Courage.” On Monday, Moha will be debuting his FIT show. The show will include 10 songs from his debut album, and is described to be an “energetic and emotional journey of endurance.”
Along Moha’s vocal tunes, he has an 8-person live band that accompanies him, riding the emotional journey of his words through music.
What makes FIT so unique is the special purpose of each song. FIT is the beginning of a trilogy album, a story building from the ground up.
“The listener could play a record from beginning to end and put together all the pieces. If a song is skipped, then the story is not complete. It’s like a book.”
Moha hopes to continue sharing his experiences and his stories with his growing fanbase and the world.
“I want to share with the world my story. Things I have seen or things that have happened to me throughout this journey between these countries. Again, it all stems from the fact that if I don’t communicate them, I might lose my mind… Haha… And it’s always more pleasant with a nice groove behind, no?”
You can purchase tickets for his live show from DoNYC.