It was a fall afternoon; not too cold, not too warm, with sunny skies. Like most people would agree, it’s a good time to use the great weather as some healthy motivation. For upcoming artist Moxiie, it was a good time to go for a walk. While Moxiie enjoys staying active, another major form of motivation for her is, unsurprisingly, music. Alongside rap and reggae artists, she said, “I’ve been listening to a lot of Lauryn Hill lately…I’m sad I didn’t get to one of her shows!” I replied that it wasn’t a goal that was out of reach. She agreed.
Moxiie released her debut EP Jungle Pop in 2011, which contained elements of R&B, Caribbean sound, and electronic pop. In tracks like “Animal,” you can hear the delicate, yet strong elements in her voice, and in the bridge, her Haitian upbringing is spotlighted in the song’s instrumentals. In 2012, she released her first album Savage, which she co-produced alongside various producers like Peter Wade (“Babygirl” by Charli XCX & Uffie and “Feed Me Diamonds” by MNDR), Fredro (Alessia Cara), and REO, to further push the “jungle-pop” sound she was creating.
A strong example of all her jungle-pop vision can be found in “Anyway,” a track she and REO worked on together. In 2017, Moxiie still doesn’t see music as just a job or a way to relax, but one and the same, saying, “When there’s nothing else to do, it’s a task to complete, so I will go to the studio, run a track…[music] keeps up with discipline and exploration of self…so it’s definitely a bit of both.”
Self-exploration is another attainable goal, but it can also be seen as a task for any artist. Writing can be a way to find the mind’s deepest thoughts, and for Moxiie, her songwriting is and doesn’t start off with one thing in mind; otherwise, it defeats the purpose.
“I don’t force anything or try to settle in one direction,” she says. “I just focus on the feeling and my response is the truest response.”
For Moxiie, this is easiest when she’s at home, but overall following her own feelings and not the expectations of anyone else. Then there are the moments where inspiration hits you at unexpected times. I asked if there was any one moment that stood out and pushed her to get on a song right away. Moxiie recalls a time during a parade that led to a songwriting session: “Producer Fredro and I heard a sound during St. Patrick’s Day and we ended up working on my song ‘Anyway,’ just based on that one sound.”
Like many other songwriters, Moxiie was able to multitask and work on various pieces of the track over a period of time. “I can spend maybe one week on a song or even two years. Just because with that, there’s certain things maybe I wasn’t comfortable with or felt like changing.”
Moxiie says aside from personal deadlines on a project, she prefers taking a step back and assessing the song simply because it’s easier spreading her feelings across multiple ideas, remaining honest and fresh in their art.
Moxiie’s recent release, “Complicated” with Swish Allnet, peaked an interest in how her collaborations come about. She says, “It’s a mix of artists reaching out…sometimes someone’s working on a song, or knows someone and suggests we work together.”
Collaborating, Moxiie says, only just started this year, but being able to be neutral and add value to the music produced is important.
Aside from collaborations, there are the moments where Moxiie follows through with a vision from start to finish. Her song “Don’t See You” is a great example. It’s a chill, yet assertive and self-aware confession about someone who isn’t available in the utmost way—emotionally and without deceit. The video for the track is a standout, directed by Melissa Espinosa and with creative direction by the artist herself, oozing with her own cool factor and nostalgia of the 1990s.
“I wanted to translate the feeling of the song visually…I thought of all the references from the ‘90s,” Moxiie explains. “One reference in particular was a Calvin Klein ad. It was a mix of androgyny and freedom but a desirable aloofness. I wanted to show how even though people are standing close to one another, they’re not relating to one another. Kind of like living in NYC.”
Moxiie also explained that she wanted to give “an element of stillness and endlessness in a video,” and referred to the song’s subject as ghost-like.
Moxiie’s newest single, “Complicated,” is another track that immediately showcases her ability to get straight to her feelings, but allows for relatability and interpretation. Moxiie says past experiences inspired the track, particularly about her experience in the music industry.
According to her, there’s a lot of focus on certain values that gets her questioning her place in the thick of it all, but eventually there is acceptance. “One person can’t change the whole industry, but they can color it with their own perspective,” she says. “You also have to realize, that you can’t do anything alone and [sometimes you have to] accept what and how it is.”
She referenced a scene in The Devil Wears Prada where the protagonist slowly realized that even if you live a glamorous life, you eventually become blind to the glamour. Instead, it becomes a job to maintain, sometimes without any happiness at all. Within the music industry, Moxiie perceives those as wanting the idea of the illusion even though it can be a prison.
Growing up, music was a way for Moxiie to process her own feelings even when she couldn’t. “I always wanted to write songs, and as a kid, I struggled with intense and confusing feelings,” she explains. “Music helped me recognize and communicate the feelings that were hard to say aloud.” Now, she hopes her music can do the same thing for her fans.
Looking back on 2017, Moxiie says, “I wondered at times if I was crazy. I asked people, ‘Is [music] something I can do?’ I believed the dream so much, but I wondered if it could actually happen. So for the rest of the year, I just hope to continue releasing music.”
And for 2018? “I’ve learned not to wait for the perfect circumstances to release music and have more fun!” she says. “I want to go into 2018 with more freedom, knowing that I’m on the right path.”
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Moxiie Opens About About Her Song “Complicated” and Her New EP: Photographed by Fredro