With warm grit and a certain edgy rawness, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Frank Moyo is well on his way to capturing listeners everywhere.
MNGBlog was immediately and completely enthralled by his music, fascinated by his style, and bewitched by the intensity with which he delivers his lyrics directly from the soul.
Growing up in an environment where he was constantly surrounded by music, Frank's passion and drive for the medium developed at an early age and he first took up guitar at the age of 11 after seeing an acoustic hanging in the window of a local music shop. “I convinced my parents to buy it for me as a Christmas present, and then preceded to get lessons for a year.” But he didn't just stick with guitar. “After I learned my first few chords on the guitar I began to write songs, and taught myself piano as another outlet to write music,” he said. He even plays harmonica. (How cool is that?!)
Moyo's cultural background has significantly informed his music. “I grew up in an Italian household," he told MNGBlog. "Music was always part of my life, especially when I would go over to my grandmother’s house and she would play the Italian radio in the morning.” From Adriano Celentano to Francesco De Gregori, he said, “The songs of these artists constantly surrounded me as a child, and from as long as I can remember they’ve been playing almost on repeat in my head.” Today he carries their influence with him into his career.
However, one of Moyo's biggest influences is the legendary late singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla. “[He] is one of the greatest songwriters to have come out of Italy,” he said. As many are aware, Dalla authored the internationally renowned romantic ode, "Caruso," which has inspired some of the world's greatest singers and had a profound impact on Moyo from the moment he first heard it. “...I was completely captivated. I remember having shivers running down my neck as I would listen to it over and over again.” About Dalla's artistry, he continued: “His emotions and how they spill out of his lyrics are so in depth and truly capture what it means to be human and the feelings that are expressed amongst ourselves.”
Listening to Moyo one also hears distinct acoustic twangs and flavors of rock. “The man in black is truly one of my heaviest influences as a songwriter,” he admitted, noting that he listens to Johnny Cash’s music daily and that late 1950s hit "Folsom Prison Blues" is a staple on his setlist at nearly every one of his shows. “His whole outlook on songwriting and life made me gravitate towards his music.”
Those characteristics that define the songbooks of both Cash and Dalla are also echoed in Frank's writing, which exposes his listeners to his inner workings and his perception of the world around him.
Fast forward to 2016 and a visit to Moyo’s YouTube channel reveals brilliant mashups of some of today's most popular Top 40 songs. His latest cover "One Dance In Common," where he freshly combines Drake’s chart-topping “One Dance” with Alicia Keys’ sultry single “In Common,” is also one of MNGBlog’s favorites from the young artist. “This cover was very interesting because I loved both songs, and usually I don’t find myself necessarily connecting with Top 40 tracks," he explained. "I wanted to make sure that I could spin these songs in a way to hit a wider audience and showcasing my talent at the same time. It was a great experience writing and recording that cover.”
Now, at 23, Moyo finds himself being compared to artists like John Mayer and Coldplay. “For me it's more than an honour to be compared to those musicians. I think both John Mayer and Chris Martin have had a huge influence on contemporary music. They’re both amazing songwriters, which is the most important element to an artist in my opinion. Songwriting is an art and conveying your feelings and thoughts while playing music is probably one of the greatest things a human can do.”
Moyo flexes his writing chops on his solo debut Waves, released on October 28. He explained the EP's development from start to finish:
"I initially began recording about two years ago with Matthew John at Rebel Sonic studios. What was supposed to be an LP turned into separate releases of E.P.s. The songs on 'Waves' were written before or during the summer of 2016, except for 'Let You Down,' which I wrote about five years ago. The recording process took about three months. It took many shapes but the final cut of 'Waves' is an E.P. that shows my progression as a songwriter and lyricist. It also shows my everyday battle with anxiety and stress, so from a personal standpoint it is very important to me."
Moyo will soon embark on a Canadian tour in promotion of Waves, during which he hopes to continue growing his fan base. Waves is now available for download via Bandcamp at frankmoyo.com.
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