An introduction to London-based singer-songwriter Moniah, who talks about her latest single “Spaceman” and more.
One of the best kept secrets in London’s R&B scene, singer-songwriter Moniah (pronounced Mo-nye-yah) remains relatively unknown despite consistent support from radio stations and platforms such as BBC Radio 6, Croydon FM, DUMMY, Wordplay Magazine and more.
Her latest offering “Spaceman”, an emotionally-driven song with jazzy undertones debuted earlier in the week on Sian Anderson’s radio show on BBC 1Xtra. The single is taken from her upcoming debut EP due out later in the year.
We had a chat with Moniah a few days ago, read our conversation below:
How are you doing? Where are you based?
I am well thank you. I’m currently based in South-East London, born and raised.
Do you come from a musical background?
My mum used to love singing growing up but it was always just a hobby for her. Growing up we would sing hymns together and she would always encourage me to sing the songs I learnt at school.
The 5 artists who inspired you to pursue a career in music are?
Ashanti, her ‘Foolish’ album was the first album I owned as a child and I listened to ‘Dreams’ over and over again. That song really encouraged me to believe whatever dream I have, I can achieve it. Anna Wise, I think she is incredible! A very haunting voice and unique style. What I love about her mostly is that she’s always been so deeply involved in the production of her music videos. Her creativity is true artistry for me and she’s incredibly bold with her songs like ‘BitchSlut’ but all of her songs carry such a deep meaning. She truly owns her individuality. Moses Sumney, when I think of the phrase ‘dare to be different’ I think of Moses Sumney. He is a master of his voice and creates the most beautiful music with elements of alternative music and soul. James Blake, I think James Blake is one of the greatest artists to come out of the UK. His fusions of classical, electronic and soulful music are stunning. I went to see him live and it made me really appreciate the composition of his music and the way he uses his voice to complement it – for sure, he’s a genius. Laura Mvula, I went to see her live too and I was so moved by her presence, her story and her music. I’m so happy that she is still making music, she’s been recognised by Prince and is a multi-instrumentalist – I think she’s so talented. It is always inspiring to see someone who looks like you doing so well.
Nice!Which one of those artists would be a dream collaboration?
James Blake without a doubt.
How would you describe your music to a complete stranger?
Categorically, I’d say Alternative R&B but musically, I’d say it’s a fusion of many variations of soul and R&B. This is my third single release over the last year and as an artist, I am getting to know myself musically and I’m exploring all elements from many genres. So I would describe my music as Alternative R&B however be open to more.
Talk us through the creative process for spaceman. What’s the song’s message?
‘Spaceman’ was written about emotionally unavailable men and the ‘space’ it creates in a relationship. I collaborated with producer Rob Wilks who has also worked closely with Lianne La Havas. It was written as if it were a conversation, ‘you need too much space man’. Throughout the song Rob Wilks and I incorporated many motifs in the instrumentation to reiterate the rotation of space and the endless notion of being ‘over’ this emotionless relationship. While creating the song, I thought something was missing and that’s when I contacted Jay Phelps, a very talented trumpet player and so much more, to play a rendition over it.
Do you have any upcoming live shows?
I plan to perform at some intimate gigs around London this year which are yet to be confirmed. Please look out for any announcements on my Instagram page.