Born in Harlem, New York City, Moby was raised in a middle-class family. By age nine, he began to learn classical guitar, with an interest in piano and drums soon to follow. His total immersion in music has been a constant ever since. After playing in a handful of punk bands in the 1980s, Moby began to make a name for himself in the electronic dance music scene. He broke through into the mainstream with the song, “Go,” but it was not until the late 90s that he became a household name with songs like “Porcelain” and “Natural Blues.” These songs became fixtures of popular radio and scored numerous scenes in film, television, and commercial advertisements. The album, Play, sold over ten million copies, while its follow-up, 18, sold another five million. Moby’s success has led him into creative collaborations and tour performances with artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Brian Eno, New Order, U2, Metallica, and Paul Oakenfold.
Despite a busy recording and tour schedule, Moby has also managed to make time to champion several causes. He is an outspoken supporter of veganism and animal rights, donating his talents, time, and money to groups such as The Humane Society. He contributed to the Songs for Tibet benefit album alongside Sting and Alanis Morissette in support of the current Dalai Lama and the basic human rights to freedom of speech and religion. Recent tour proceeds have been donated towards funding domestic violence programs. Most fascinatingly, Moby is involved with an organization that seeks to bridge the gap between music and science: he serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Music and Neurological Function, which studies the relationship between the brain and music and seeks to increase awareness of the positive effects of music therapy.
Moby’s creativity is matched only by his generosity and devotion to those in need. Maybe his most remarkable achievement is his ability to present himself as a normal, relatable, and reasonable person, as proof that all people are capable of grace and beauty, and that the root of these accomplishments rests in simple acts of kindness and empathy. Ironically, Moby’s message of interpersonal connectedness and romantic notions of natural harmony has been largely born out of digital thin air. He is proof of the power of optimism – for it is when one considers no challenge to be out of reach that solutions can begin to materialize, often seemingly out of nowhere. Even the emptiest spaces can serve as wellsprings of hope, so long as one knows where to look and how to listen.