Now, this 22 year-old wunderkind, an ambitious and richly talented young artist with a firm grip on who she is and where she's going, has signed an exclusive recording contract with Maverick Records. And, while it might be tempting to compare her sound and style to everyone from Norah Jones to Lauryn Hill, MoZella is staking out some utterly unique musical territory all her own.
"Growing up in Detroit you're constantly surrounded by a huge variety of music," asserts MoZella. "I listened to lots of Stevie Wonder and my mom was always playing Beatles records and since I was six I've been a fan of Madonna, especially since she's also from Detroit."
That creative impetus continued to evolve when, at age fourteen, she began taking guitar lessons, primarily, she recounts with smile, "Because the teacher was hot." Whatever the reason, the fledgling performer soon found herself singing original material on coffee house stages in and around the Motor City. "I had my first gig at fifteen," she recounts. "I'd just gotten braces the day before and my Mom had to drive me to the show. But I was determined."
That same determination led her to move to Los Angeles in pursuit of her musical dream a few short months after graduating high school. "It was a tough transition," MoZella admits. "I had no car, no money and no friends. My day job was as a cake decorator and I spent my nights writing songs." With an abundance of promising new material she began landing gigs at local clubs and coffee houses and, after the obligatory round of false starts, including a brief apprenticeship with legendary rapper Warren G, she recorded a demo backing herself on acoustic guitar.
It was that demo that came to the attention of an English producer, who invited her to London for a stint in the studio. "From there," she continues, "I took a trip backpacking through Europe, just to see the world before coming back home and getting down to business."
That business included a new demo, bracketed by more writing and performing, all of which that helped spread the buzz and it wasn't long before MoZella was considering bids from a number of top labels. "Maverick just felt right from the beginning," she says. "They totally got my music and where I wanted to take it."
Work began on MoZella's debut album in early 2004 with renowned producer and songwriter Jude Cole at the helm. "Jude understands artists because he is one," she explains. "He got to the heart of my music immediately and was able to make it come alive in the studio in a way I'd never experienced."
It's that experience that is captured in all its resonant emotion and rich nuance on MoZella's forthcoming album. Meanwhile, a sneak peak of this extraordinary new star can be seen and heard on a current TV spot for Mercedes Benz, featuring MoZella's vocals behind vintage photos of cars and their owners. "As a new artist, one needs all the exposure she can get," remarks MoZella with a smile. "I think Mercedes is a pretty swank company to be connected with."
Simply put, with a rich musical background, an unwavering commitment to the art of songwriting and a voice that lingers long after the last note fades; MoZella is ready for her close-up.