- What first got you into music? Do you remember the moment or the song?
Growing up, there was always music playing in the house. My parents are from Jamaica so reggae and dancehall is what I grew up on. But my dad would play all types of music from jazz to rock. My parents split when I was 4, then my dad, sister, and I moved across the wold to Okinawa Japan. As a way to comfort myself, I gravitated to music. I loved melodies in any genre. At like five years old, I had Destiny Child’s Writing on the Wall album And that’s when I really started paying attention and actively listening to how the songs were put together and how to match pitch and harmonize.
- I was in the studio with Stan and DJ Youngboii, and they were so hyped saying hey you got to check out this new artist Mo Shakray! So, they played a few songs and I hear the Soca Vibes and club vibes, but your harmonizing is amazing! Did you take any singing classes or work with any vocal coaches?
When I was younger, I was too shy to let anyone hear me sing. I don’t play instruments either, so I would just match pitch by ear singing along to my favorite songs and I learned to harmonize that way. I just hear the chords in my head most of the time. Eventually, in middle school I joined the choir and started slowly creeping out of my shell. By the time I hit middle school I was in the choirs you had to audition for and started vocal lessons for a while.
- What is your creative process like? Do you go to the studio with a song already written and a beat or do you create on spot?
I usually write in my car. I mean I can write wherever, but I prefer my car. It’s comfortable for me. I like to smoke while I create and I’ve gotten use to not being able to smoke in the house so my car is the next best thing. So I’ll write in the car then take it to the studio so I can just focus on capturing the performance of the record.
- Ok so if I took your phone right now and check your music playlist who would be the last 3 artists and songs that you have played?
I’ve been getting into Latin music recently, so Celia Cruz, Sech, and Rosalia. Celia’s music has amazing energy! Sech has really dope melodies, and I really like how Rosalia flows.
- Now I heard you mix your own music also, is this true? And if so, what got you into doing that?
Yes! I had to go to college for something and in high school I was struggling with what that something was gonna be until my step mom at the time took me to a studio in San Diego. It was the second studio I had been too but that engineer really knew what he was doing sonically. I could immediately heard the difference. I asked how he learned and he told me he got his degree and UCSD. At that moment, the wheels started turning. I told myself I was getting my degree and be my own engineer. That also seemed like the best way to get my foot in the door in the industry. So, that’s what I did; only I got a Bachelors of Science in Audio Production from the Art Institute in Los Angeles.
- On your song Shining you say, “Melanin is so perfect I can sell you what I got”! Bars! How do you come up with your content? Where do you draw inspiration from?
My music is vastly influenced by my life. Things related to me directly and indirectly. Usually they’re inner thoughts. I love my complexion! People tan to look like me, you know? I have depression and anxiety, so I used to write sad stuff with a “ woe is me” type vibe. I’ve done A LOT of healing and inner work, so now I write things that help me feel empowered. Like “yeah, I actually am that bitch”.
- Now I heard you just signed with GYDO and are working on some other projects too. What’s coming first, are you working on an album? Do you have specific release date or timeframe?
I did indeed! The project with GYDO will be out next June, hopefully June 2 because that is my birthday. I do have a joint project with the homie, Majorino, coming out before that though. There’s no date but definitely before the year is out.
- How do you feel the Internet and this Streaming era has impacted the music business?
It has made things both easier and harder at the same time. It’s easier to get your music out to streaming services and whatnot, but because of that, the market is oversaturated with music. The trick is getting past the over-saturation. And you have to really research and have the passion in order to do that.
- Now there are going to be a lot of indie artists in the background watching you make moves, sign deals and gaining traction! What advice would you give to the next up and coming artists?
I still have a long way to go myself, but if anything I would say : be yourself. Be patient with yourself. Pay attention. Learn the business.
- It’s been a great conversation with you, and I wish you great success, where can people find you on social media and streaming services?
Everyone can find me on IG @Moshakray, and Mo Shakray on all streaming platforms. Every months I release a single, and I have a Spotify playlist “Mo Vibes” with all the singles complied in it, which is the best way to stay updated!