“Transatlantic Calls” – An interview with møya rey
Sailing intently across a sea of multiple cultural currents, møya rey arrives on the shores of the scene with “Transatlantic Calls”, a sweet-scented potpourri of influences and styles that converge into an artistic expression of many implicit historical and geographical circumstances. møya’s distinctively Afro-Caribbean roots wrap themselves around R&B and Hip-hop in a sinuous but harmonious explosion of flavors and textures.
Smooth, sensuous, bold, and never lacking in class and subtlety, møya’s sound sports urban syncopation to spice the tried-and-true soulful Motown formula. With her dominant inclusion of French and Spanish, rey cuts through barriers like a hot knife through butter, this refined multi-cultural edge quickly becomes an integral part of her musical identity, no doubt giving her upcoming repertoire a huge strong point across all borders. Her upcoming EP “Lost In Translation” will be a testament to that.
For the Dominican-American born and raised in New York, the lush and sophisticated percussion-driven sound is more than just the backdrop to her bright voice, it’s also a signifier of the heritage circulating through her bloodstream, powering the creative force that an entire generation of listeners is eager to hear and see themselves in.
How best to get to know this soon-to-be star than this here interview we’ve prepared for you? Take a look:
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet discovered it? where do you like to take the listener to with your sound?
My music is really a project that aims to synthesize the nuances of black culture. By that I mean, I draw influence from a multitude of Black/ Afrocentric cultures such as R&B, HipHop, Jazz, Afro Tunes and Soul. I would say those are my greatest influences but my ear is tuned to many wavelengths. I love when I am exposed to different genres, namely those that have black influences. I want my music to emulate what shapes me. My music is how I make sense of all the different parts that shape me.
Is “Transatlantic calls” a reflection upon your own multicultural upbringing and origin? You do drop some Spanish and french lyrics in that mix.
The entire EP is a reflection of my upbringing. It’s something natural. I grew up speaking English and Spanish and learned French and Portuguese during my undergraduate years at NYU.
I don’t sit and plan which verses will be in a certain language. I write whatever I feel, if at that moment I feel something in a certain language then that’s how I’m meant to express that emotion.
Speaking of which, have you ever written songs fully in one language other than English, is it something you can see yourself doing?
Yes, I have a song on the EP, Dile, which is fully in Spanish. I have written songs and poems in French and some poems in Portuguese as well, but those are not on the project.
As a Dominican-American, has your experience been one of difficulty fitting in with predominant cultures, or did you find yourself already belonging to a cultural space from the get-go?
I feel I always belonged to many cultures. Dominicans are a diverse group in culture and in shade. Mix that with the diversity of NYC and I felt like I pertained to all cultures. It wasn’t until I started to think critically about things like historical racism, colonialism, and segregation that I realized how apart these cultures are “meant to be”. But people are a social species so we share cultures whether we realize it or not and we carry that with us.
Which song are you the proudest of in this EP?
Ahhhh this is so hard because I love each one so dearly. They all come from a different place and mix different genres so I guess it depends on the day haha. Top 3 songs are “Transatlantic Calls”, “Dile”, and “Open Letter”; not in any order.
Who has been your biggest fan and supporter so far?
My friends are my biggest supporters. Most importantly my producer Arty who really pushes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to think big and outside of my own imagination, and my friend Andrea who sees the light in everything I do, even when I’m unable to see it for myself.
Did you feel like you’ve internalized any lessons or realizations after making this EP?
Most definitely. This EP was born out of the quarantine period, which I experienced 1.5 years of in Paris, France. Isolated in a foreign country with strict lockdown rules was intense and I had to find a way to keep my peace. Meditation and music set me free from the confines of not only my room but of my mind. I transcended time and space when I looped the beat and wrote my songs.
My lessons are very personal to me but I got more connected spiritually and developed spiritual practices that allowed me to feel more connected to my spirit guides which I believe are my ancestors.
What are your plans looking like right now? Are you able to take “Lost In Translation” to a live audience or do you have something else lined up?
Once the EP is released I would love to perform it to a large crowd! I’ve done some shows in New York City after returning from Paris, but my songs aren’t released yet. I want to have songs out and have people learn the lyrics so that when I perform people can sing it with me
Pictures by Kevin Jackson (@burban.pics)
FOLLOW MOYA REY