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Behind the Noise: Interview with Moodaxo

Edited by Anna Mengani

Photo credit: Terrance Veals

Moodaxo is an upcoming musician (cellist, singer/songwriter) from Chicago, Illinois. She combines the elegant elements of cello with more popular upbeat genres of pop, hip-hop, soul, and more. I had the pleasure of talking to her about being an artist, and about her upcoming debut single 'Not Meant To Be,' which comes out May 26th, 2023!

Iceis: How did you come up with the name Moodaxo?

Moodaxo: I love telling this story, so my grandmother she came up with the nickname. I don't think she really based [it] off anything, she just kinda came up with it. I have a lot of cousins, I think I'm probably the twenty-third grandchild out of thirty of us, there's a lot of us. So, just to make me feel special she just created a nickname for me, and so we were really close. She's passed away now, but I just did it to remember her, and then it just kinda stuck, 'cause my friends started calling me that as well, 'cause they kinda knew the significance behind it, so I just added the xo at the end.

Iceis: Awww. Well, first off twenty-three cousins, that is a crap ton of people. I thought I had a big family, but I do not have twenty-three cousins that's for sure.

Iceis: I feel like a lot of artists have somebody or something that inspires them to start taking on that career path. What do you feel like, or who was that person that really inspired you to start creating music?

Moodaxo: I remember Beyoncé. I feel like that's kinda a generic answer, but I just feel like she's just so poised, and her performances they're just always flawless. Alicia Keys was another big person, 'cause she was a woman of color that played a instrument, and sung at the same time. And so I've never seen anybody who played cello and sing like me, but I feel like that was the closest to where I wanted to be, so I really looked up to her as well.

Iceis: Yeah, I feel like both of them, and even Nicki Minaj was also a huge woman of color in the music industry. They really started bringing more people into that culture as well.

Moodaxo: Yeah, I definitely agree. I love Nicki Minaj, and that's also why one of my favorite colors is pink.

Iceis: I feel like anybody who starts a career in music their end-goal dream is to eventually be able to do just music full-time, and I know you are starting out fairly new at this career path, so what are you doing career-wise outside of music right now?

Moodaxo: So, I'm actually an Event Coordinator for a university, so I still kind of get to live the best of both worlds, like maybe I'm not completely in the forefront, but I still get to show my creative side, so yeah, that's what I'm doing outside of that.

Iceis: That's amazing!

Iceis: When you are not creating music, what do you like to do as far as your hobbies go?

Moodaxo: I love to hang out with my friends; I'm a really big social person. My siblings are kind of far in age for me, so I grew up hanging around my friends a lot. I like to cook sometimes. I love watching movies, growing up I really loved watching movies with my friends and my family. I like taking hikes and just being outside. I was on the swim team in high school, so sometimes I go swimming.

Iceis: The creative process can be so intricate, and everybody seems to have a different way to go about it. What do you feel like is the hardest part of your creative process?

Moodaxo: Sometimes I feel like it's what to say, like sometimes I'll really vibe with the song, but I don't know how to express it into words.

Iceis: I feel like lyrics can be kind of hard for everybody. I know a lot of instrumentalists say it's a bit harder to write lyrics and vice-versa, just 'cause it's not your wheelhouse, as they say.

Iceis: When and how did you start learning to play the cello? I feel like that's not a very popular instrument you hear people picking up and mastering.

Moodaxo: I started playing the cello when I was twelve years old. I actually started off playing the piano, but I didn't really like it. I played for about two years, and then I took a break, and I honestly don't think I would've picked it back up, so who knows if I would've even continued making any music at that point. But at my middle school they asked us if we wanted to be in band, choir, or orchestra, and being in orchestra really just appealed to me, and out of all the instruments I feel like the cello just really stood out, because it had a deep sound, and it was just very unique to me, so I just wanted to give it a try, and honestly it just really grew on me, and I haven't looked back.

Iceis: And I know you like to incorporate all kinds of different genres into your cello playing, and not just orchestral music. Are there any genres you feel like you would want to branch out to in the future?

Moodaxo: I would love to play some house music, 'cause house music originated in Chicago, and you know I'm from Chicago, so I feel like I really connect with that, and that would be kind of cool. I love really funky beats. Maybe some afro beats as well. But my favorites are pop, R'n'B,and hip-hop typically.

Iceis: Yeah, I feel like they mesh really well with cello. A lot of orchestral instruments actually do fit really well with so many genres. I feel like people just don't think about it when they make arrangements for pop music, or hip-hop. Even some of the more alternative stuff I listen to. A lot of times they'll get orchestral elements into it.

Iceis: This can be any artist that your mind can imagine. Are there any artists you would want to work with in the future?

Moodaxo: If it can be any artist it would be Lucky Daye, I really like his music. Thundercat, he is a bassist, and I believe he used to play for Kendrick Lamar. Kaytranada, he does variations of techno and house music. I feel like I would like to collaborate with those people.

Iceis: I think those are all great options right there.

Iceis: Your new single 'Not Meant To Be' comes out next month, and it being based off of a time where you had to prioritize yourself over the person you were in love with at the time, and I just want to know some more about that experience, and those feelings that went into the creation of 'Not Meant To Be.'

Moodaxo: I actually wrote this song I think about two years ago, and it was the dead of winter, it was towards the end of my senior [year of] college, this is [also] before [I] pursued music as an artist, and took that first step. I knew that I wanted to start off my career with a bang, and I feel like I should start off by telling a story. So, I feel like that was a time in my life that I was really emotional about, and I felt like I could turn that pain into something positive by writing a song about it, so I just listened to the beat, felt it out, and I just started writing, and I just feel like once I wrote it I just knew it was gonna be hit. And like I said I wrote this song two years ago, but I actually didn't record [it] until about a month ago, just because being an artist is expensive. [And] just even finishing the song I think I had written about half of it and I just got stuck, and I didn't know what to say, and I just kind of came back to it. Being creative is definitely a process it doesn't happen overnight, so eventually I got everything together, [and] I recorded it in the studio. It actually didn't take me that long; I got through it in about a day, and I listened to everything, I made some tweaks, 'cause I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, but then I made some edits, and I was just like 'I think this is the copy that should go out.' So now I'm working on the fun things, like doing interviews with you, and I'm gonna be working on the cover art for the song.

Iceis: That'll be amazing. Yeah, I listened to it and I thought it was so pretty, and so I feel like it's actually very easy for a lot of people to relate to, and I love how you convey those feelings of that period of your life into that song, 'cause I feel like a lot of times songs written based off of pure experience, or pure feelings, or whatever, it's a lot more impactful for the listener to listen to. And I'm actually very excited to see that song go live on the 26th.

Moodaxo: Yeah, I'm super excited, like I said its been a two year work and progress, so I'm very excited.

Iceis: And with that being your first single and creation to go out musically, what do you want the first impression for people to have when they listen to your music for the first time?

Moodaxo: I create music because it's a great outlet, but [also] because I want people to have something to emphasize with. I feel like the song is really relatable, so hopefully they can take something away from it, like empathize with that experience, 'cause really the whole point of the song is sometimes we get hurt, sometimes we fall down, but you're gonna get up, just dust yourself off. Everything's gonna be okay. It's okay to have those feelings, but you're gonna be okay.

Iceis: It's all gonna be alright in the end, and I feel like that's something a lot of people could use and need to hear right now.

Iceis: What do you think is a fact about yourself that you want people to know?

Moodaxo: Honestly, that I just really love music. It was really hard for me to take that first step to be a creative, but I'm so glad that I did. So, just that I love creating music for others.

Iceis: And going forward after May 26th, when your first single comes out, what can people start expecting from you after that?

Moodaxo: Honestly, the sky's the limit for me. I have a lot of things on my radar that I wanna work on. I have a few concerts, [and] really just trying to do longer sets, and just create more of a unique experience. I feel like I do have a unique experience, but just performing more.

Iceis: That would be great!

Moodaxo releases her debut single 'Not Meant To Be' on May 26th, 2023. Make sure you give it a listen! You can also keep up with Moodaxo by following her social media below!


Moodaxo's Social Media


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