Moxie Raia’s future as an artist was written in the stars. When the young singer was in second grade, her music-loving parents moved her to a new home where former owners had left a piano. This inherited piano became the catalyst for her to share the stage with Justin Bieber, and the mic with artists like Wyclef Jean and Pusha T. But don’t let those big names fool you: Raia is much more than a pop star. With her mixtape 931, Raia brings her passion center stage, tackling subjects from the romantic to the political with a wisdom well beyond her years. The mixtape is named after the address of her downtown Los Angeles loft, which is a creative haven for the singer, and really, like the piano she grew up with,  provided a creative outlet for her to write her music.

 

“When I’m making music, I’m not thinking about anything but trying to make something true,” she says. “I like bringing things together, all of my influences, all of these things added up together.” Perhaps the most important of those influences is Moxie’s father, who filled her childhood home with soul music. Listening to Stevie Wonder through her father taught her that you can sing your truth, your passion, and make the world a better place. “His music brings people together,” she says, “and that’s always really inspired me, and that’s my goal with my music.” What better way to bring people together than on the biggest stage in the world, with none other than Justin Bieber?

 

From New Jersey to the biggest stages on the planet, how does a girl make it this far? It’s all in her name. It takes moxie, which in this case is a very special passion so few people possess. Moxie and, of course, experience. Opening for Bieber, she says, “was a the whole crash course in being an artist, and Madison Square Garden was the final exam.” It taught her things about her fans, about herself as a performer, and prepared her for what’s next, which is the opportunity for the world to discover who she really is. And who is that? The answer is a deeply passionate girl, influenced by the soul music she grew up on, singing from the truth of her experience. She says it best: “even if it’s a happy song, it has it’s roots in something raw and real. When I’m making music I need to get that indescribable feeling or I’m not interested.” See? Moxie.