Introducing Steven Moses’ debut single “Lose It” which merges 2000’s pop punk and emo rap, out on June 26
“Steven Moses is one of the most important artists of our generation.”
“There never seems to be a dull point where the music isn’t coming directly from Moses’ heart.”
“Moses is able to thrive by channeling his real life struggles and put it all in the music.”
Steven Moses always felt like an outsider. The 20-year-old rapper from Blair County, Pennsylvania remembers his small-town, middle-American upbringing as both liberating and confining. At home, where he and his sister were homeschooled for most of their lives, Moses was encouraged to explore an early interest in music. He picked up his first guitar at age 7, and remembers practicing for 8 – 10 hours a day until he was a teen. Moses taught himself to play multiple instruments throughout his childhood, learning piano, bass, drums, and dabbling in mandolin, and ukulele.
Outside of his home, he and other kids his age were pressured to fit into boxes and conform. “You have to do what everybody else does and be like everybody else otherwise you get made fun of,” Moses says about his hometown of Hollidaysburg. “Everyone played sports or skateboarded and smoked weed and did drugs. You were either an athlete or a really nerdy kid or an outcast, and I was one of the latter. I’ve always been like this.”
Before finding his way to rap as a teen, Steven Moses was inspired by punk rock. When he started a cover band with his sister and cousins, he looked to Ramones, Dead Kennedys and The Sex Pistols as major influences. The band played local bars and stages, with Moses on guitar and backing vocals. Soon, he began writing his own songs, and when he was 14 years old, he heard Nas’ Illmatic—an album that set him on a path to meld the two musical worlds he was most passionate about: rock and rap. His quintessential sound is exemplified on “Love Me”, the brooding, guitar-laden single that put Moses on the map in 2018.
Bad relationships, drugs and money problems fuel the stories that power Moses’ lyricism on his 2018 debut, Love Me // Leave Me. In a world full of toxicity where teens grapple with inner demons, Moses’ pained vocals and rhymes land with a spiritual touch against an aesthetic backdrop similar to that of Larry Clark and Harmony Korine’s KIDS. Nevertheless, Moses is his God given name and his life isn’t a movie. His stories are real.
Moses’ candor and honest depiction of reality is what has drawn a growing legion of fans to connect with his songs. “I feel like I have to go through a day or a week of life and experience to write,” Moses says about his process. “Maybe there’s somebody you wanna say something to but you couldn’t actually say it to them in those words, so you can put it in a song,” he explains. “[Someone] could not have the same thing going on, like it’s something completely different, but because everybody has a similar set of emotions and field of emotions, they can relate to whatever they’re thinking [my song] is about.”
As an artist beginning to recognize the influence he has on his listeners, Moses is determined to make the most of his legacy at a time when music about the darker sides of life is especially appealing to young fans. “I was really sad and I was just singing and rapping about being fucking sad,” he admits. His forthcoming album, ‘99’, is an exercise in building the bridge between a past filled with drug use, promiscuity, depression and nihilism, and a more optimistic and positive future.
With his Going Nowhere Fast collective, a group he formed with his friends around their creative talents and collaborative potential, Steven Moses wants to build a sustainable future for his friends as well. “What would have happened if Kurt Cobain could have been Bob Dylan’s age? I think about that and I’m like, I can’t be another one of those,” he asserts. “I want to be around to watch this shit happen. I’m going to be around to watch this shit happen.”
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