Local Mic: MOZIAH




Meet NYU alum MOZIAH, whose Gnarls Barkley-esque vocals will be the soundtrack of your life in the brightest technicolor. His passionate storytelling and ability to create relatable experiences within his songs tempts  listeners to add his tracks to their daily morning commute playlist or self-curated boo’d up season playlist. BLENDED’s Holly Grace Jamili got the opportunity to sit down with this R&B visionary to speak on the lush sound of his finsta-inspired project “Finessa Hudgens” and the refreshing meaning behind his artist name.  

When was the turning point in your life that you knew that you wanted to make music?

I think music was always a part of my life and it was always a thing that kept me going overall and I really like how you’re able to share your perspective with it. Childish Gambino’s manager Fam Udeorji said “what we are doing is selling perspective” and I guess that always stuck with me, so I always want to keep it in the mix because it’s cool way to speak for yourself and offer how you see things. 

How did you come up with your artist name “MOZIAH”?

It’s actually my middle name! So, my dad picked it out. I love it, because my first name is Marcus and that comes from the Roman god of war, Mars and everything. And then my last name, Guerrier, means “warrior” and I found out that my middle name Moziah means “savior.” I liked that. So I kind of gravitated towards that. 

It’s a twist on Marcus Garvey’s middle name. His [name] was Marcus Mosiah Garvey and I’m Marcus Moziah Guerrier. He had an “s” instead of the “z”. 

In your past album Dax Nextdoor, you make references to experiences you had while attending NYU. How has your artistry evolved since then?

I think between Dax Nextdoor and “Finessa Hudgens,” Dax Nextdoor was sort of like Stevie Wonder released an album called Music of My Mind and it was the beginning of an era of really really good Stevie albums between Music of My Mind and Songs in the Key of Life. The way that he described Music of My Mind was that “This is me at 21.” Dax Nextdoor was me at 21 [too].

Whatever my next album is, it’s gonna be me at 22 or 23 and I liked that. I felt like Dax Nextdoor was sort of like my combination of my time in college. I made it when I was 20 and finished it around 21. So, for me, it was a transition from school to working life. Then, “Finessa Hudgens” picks up from where I was then to where I am now and whatever is on my mind then. Dax Nextdoor was me at 21 and “Finessa Hudgens” is me at 22. 

Can you explain your process for creating your latest EP Finessa Hudgens starting from the production to the album title and how it differs from Dax Nextdoor?

“Finessa Hudgens” was named after my finsta. I have a finsta called @iamfinessahudgens and in making it, I feel like my finsta or most people’s finstas...was the personal stuff, or the stuff you only want two or three friends to hear. So, my mindset with it was like whatever stuff that I would tell two or three friends, let’s put it into the album, let’s put those thoughts into the public space...the feelings of being lonely and lost...You know “Brontosaurus” talks a lot about going through a funk... The truth is hard to talk about, but it’s worth it because it can be there for somebody else, you know? So that was my mindset with “Finessa Hudgens.” We cared about people’s experiences overall. We wanted to offer a bit of a gift where they could get a little more if they want.

How would you describe your distinctive style of music?

I call it pop music because that’s where I want it to go, but I grew up a Haitian kid. Both of my parents are from Haiti and there’s a specific kind of music [there]. So, I take a lot of Carribean influence. I used to play punk ska, so I wanted to make stuff that made people move. And I studied theater since I was 13.

Was that your major?

Yeah! I was a drama major and I went to a performing arts high school before that, so I love stories and motifs and stuff in music, because that was the thing I was around the most. I have a lot of different influences. I try to keep them around. My dad would play John Lennon and Bob Marley in the car and I have spent my entire trying to put those two together. 

What do you hope to accomplish for yourself and for those who listen to your music?

I always liked stories. I want to make stories that people could make a part of their story. I really like artists like Kendrick Lamar. There’s so many ways to do music and I think it costs a little bit more to put it on streaming and to get it out to everybody, especially the way Kendrick does it. But I appreciated it, because me being from central New Jersey being able to appreciate this guy from Compton, California’s album... I can make it a part of my life and make it a part of my commute playlist and my workout playlist and have it as a piece of motivation or a piece of whatever I need it to be. I think I make music, I like that service over all. I want to make music that can be a part of your story and you can use it inside your life. 

One of my favorite songs that I’ve made is “Eastriverstatepark” and if I’m doing my job, “Eastriverstatepark” is about you. It’s not a song about my experience, but a song for you to use in your life. It’s about you and your girl... you can make it a part of a mixtape that you give to somebody or you can make it a part of your morning commute. It’s meant for your soundtrack.  

Do we see a tour coming up? What’s coming up next for MOZIAH?

Right now, what we’re working on the most is just doing more shows and connecting with people as much as we can. I just did a show yesterday and I did one before that and I think I just want to really do want to travel and keep finding ways to give people an experience with what I have. 

You can stream MOZIAH’s newest EP “Finessa Hudgens” on Spotify and keep up with him here.

Lead Image and All Photos by Holly Grace Jamili