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Interview: MOZË Is No Longer 'Afraid' With Her Debut

MOZË is a Melbourne singer songwriter kicking off her solo career with her breath-taking new track ‘Afraid’. MOZË is the newest project of Zoe Marshall, allowing her to express herself more than authentically than ever before. Zoe is no stranger the Melbourne music scene, releasing two EP’s and touring with her band Zoe and The Milkmen. Drawing influence from artists like Amy Winehouse and Jorja Smith, MOZË’s sound strikes a perfect balance between delicate and powerful.

'Afraid’ introduces MOZË as an introspective lyricist with velvety vocals to send chills down your spine. Winning us over at the first note, ‘Afraid’ captures hearts and minds with it's unfiltered beauty and swelling instrumentation. Written during 2020 lockdowns, ‘Afraid’ is the result of Zoe's soul searching as she grapples with the uncertainty of pursuing music.

I've been afraid of sitting in silence/

But I found a reason to stop all the crying/

Someone is happy, nothing but lovely/

Cause they found a way to accept everything

Speaking on the inspiration behind the single, MOZË shared:“After going through a breakup during lockdown, losing my job, not being at university, friends moving away and feeling pretty helpless I guess I felt like I had nothing to lose. So, while I started to find my worth as a woman, I finally became a little more courageous and honestly just said fuck it!!”

Heck, are we glad MOZË took the plunge to bring us this incredible single. We had a chat with MOZË about her music journey so far and the exciting things to come.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process behind creating your debut single ‘Afraid’?  


"‘Afraid’ was such a pleasure to write because it kind of just tumbled out of me. Honestly, I don’t remember the actual process of writing - it was almost as if the song had already been written in my mind and I just needed to sit down and document it. Last year I lost my job, went through a breakup, my passion for music disappeared and I had no motivation - so I really felt like I had hit my own version of rock bottom. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but I also wouldn’t take it back because the version of me that existed then has grown so much. I almost had to get lost to realise what was holding me back! It was this insane fear of failure, not being good enough and yeah just being afraid of the unknown. The moment I realised I lost my passion and drive for music, I knew that I needed to experience life in order to ignite the flame again. Through meeting new people, making conversations fuelled with life and saying yes to everything I started to become a little more courageous. I was so terrified of failing in music that I wasn’t diving in, but I was the only person with these fears – they were fabricated in my mind and I wrote ‘Afraid’ as a way of telling myself to go for it! My subconscious mind already knew - I just needed to write it down and belt it out to understand."

As both a songwriter and a producer, who are some of your biggest musical influences?   


"Ooft, I find inspirations everywhere for different things. In terms of how I write, I think the artists that I grew up listening to will always stay with me. I was always so obsessed with Coldplay – and have written them numerous fan letters thanking them for inspiring me to pursue music... when I first saw them live I remember saying ‘that’s what I want to do when I’m older’. I saw them again later and watch Lianne La Havis open for them, who I would now say is my ultimate musical influence. She is an absolute queen. I love Carole King, Amy Winehouse, Jorja Smith, Erykah Badu and Billy Holiday – there’s definitely a trend of female empowerment. In terms of my production, which is more of a recent passion, I find a lot of inspiration from Bonobo, Fourtet, BAYNK, FKJ, HNNY, Khruagnbin, James Blake, Bon Iver, SAULT – god I could just go on! I really enjoy finding a balance between organic and soulful harmonies and giving them an edge. I like this because I feel like it gives the listener a reality and transcends them into another dimension."

You had the opportunity to be mentored by Woodes and undertake a writing session with Tia Gostelow. What was that experience like?   

"Woodes is an absolute queen, I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have met her. She is my all time inspiration because seeing her in her element as an independent, self-produced female artist made everything clear. She believed in me, and that is something that I will never forget! She is insanely talented and smart too – so beside the fact that she gave me the confidence to become an artist, she also gave me mad tips on production, song writing and performance – oh and on the industry! Elle also invited me to open for her howler show in 2019, and invited me to perform with her earlier this year for piano day – these experiences will stay with me forever. It was actually Elle that told my to apply for the song writing session through The Push."

"I chucked up 2 songs from my sound cloud and both got through, so I got to choose which song I wanted to use. Since I knew ‘Afraid’ was going to be my first single I showed her that. It’s a really vulnerable thing showing someone a song, especially one that is so exposed but seeing Tia’s reaction to the song was really lovely. She was impressed, and excited about it too – and having someone so influential react to your music in that way is really special. We talked about what it was missing, and she suggested strings to lift it up. I told her I had also written an extra verse that I was holding back on adding, because initially I thought that no one would be willing to listen to someone they didn’t know, but Tia – and Lisa from the push – both said that wasn’t true. They said that people would be willing to listen to my voice and story; I just needed that extra bump of confidence to throw myself in. Now I couldn’t be more proud of how that song turned out!"


How has it been transitioning from your band Zoe and The Milkmen to being a solo artist?  


"Both thrilling and terrifying! I love Zoe and The Milkmen so much, but I guess we somewhat always knew it was a fun university band. We were all in college together so our gigs were filled with a bubble of friends, and we kind of became known within that. We were lucky enough to open for Alex Lahey and Touch Sensitive on two separate occasions, which was an insane experience. Throughout all this I wanted more control of my sound, I knew that my writing style and voice suited something more intimate and for a lack of a better word – poppy. What I have realised doing MOZË is that I literally cannot compare the two projects; they’re both quite different. I have found more passion in MOZË because it’s more for me than anyone else, I have control over all the decisions, I get to decide how hard I work and what I make. While I loved the band, there was a lot of admin choosing the time, rocking up to rehearsals, writing the songs, booking the gigs – but now it’s all on my own time and I don’t have any excess weight."

What advice would you give other emerging solo artists preparing to release their first single?  

"Honestly releasing your first single takes the longest. I probably should have released something 6 months ago, but I never felt ready. That’s what I have learnt – you will never actually be ‘ready’, because ready for you could be unreachable. I have been learning as I go, my release for ‘Afraid’ wasn’t perfect in that the timing was off and it released under a French artists page called Moze – but now I have learnt something new in the process and I know how to battle it. I will learn something else for my next release too, and I can’t wait. My advice would be to just release and don’t wait for perfect, otherwise you’ll be waiting forever."


What does the rest of 2021 look like for MOZË?  Do we have some new music and gigs to look forward to? 

"I have a heaaap of new music on the horizon! My demo EP is almost ready to come out, along with 2 music videos. The music video for ‘Afraid’ is actually coming out next week (on the 20 th ) and I cannot wait! It was such a transformative experience making it, and ties really well into the meaning behind ‘Afraid’ – so stay tuned. I have also started my second EP too and I’m really excited for that, and I am preparing to write an album in 2022! There is plenty to look forward to, and this is the beginning of something super exciting. It’s hard to predict where I’ll be, who I’ll be and what I’ll make in the future, but I am so confident in this project and can’t wait to grow and transform as an artist. I have a gig on the 5 th of August, if it still happens... I am extremely keen to gig around, but due to COVID it’s been a bit here and there and everywhere, but I will be belting it out to everyone as soon as I can!"

Check out the brand new music video for 'Afraid' below and keep an eye on MOZË's socials so you don't miss a thing!

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