Møya Rey: A Multilingual Music Sensation Blending Cultures and Sounds in Her Soulful Artistic Journey

Møya Rey, an independent recording artist hailing from Brooklyn, embodies a captivating fusion of cultures and musical genres. Her multifaceted identity, characterized by a Dominican heritage and a wealth of global experiences, shapes her artistic journey. Rey’s latest single, “Je pense à toi” (translated as “Thinking of You”), serves as a testament to her ability to weave together Afrobeat, House, and R&B, seamlessly uniting diverse musical influences.

Born and raised in the bustling streets of New York City, Møya Rey’s upbringing within a Dominican family instilled in her a deep connection to her roots. Her travels to over twenty-five countries expanded her horizons, particularly within the rich tapestry of the black diaspora. This multicultural background infuses her music and personal style with a sense of honor and reverence for the diverse world she navigates.

“Je pense à toi,” produced by Arty Furtado, was not only recorded in Paris but is a poignant reflection of Rey’s pandemic experience. Writing in both English and French, Rey channeled her emotions into a melodious and introspective journey. The lyrics, inspired by a French poem she penned during her time in Paris, provided a cathartic outlet for her feelings, detached from her primary languages of English and Spanish.

Møya Rey’s creative process is deeply spiritual and introspective. She draws from a reservoir of personal experiences, transforming them into lyrical and musical expressions. Music, for Rey, is more than just a medium of self-expression; it’s a pause button that allows her to reflect on her journey through graduate studies, her role as a university professor, and the whirlwind pace of life in New York City.

The artist’s future holds promise and excitement. From making her debut on Bronx Net TV to opening for Konshens, her journey has been marked by growth and boundless potential. As she gears up to release her upcoming single “Tourbillon” and an album slated for 2024, Møya Rey’s distinctive multilingual and multicultural approach to music promises to captivate listeners with its unique blend of sounds, emotions, and stories, ultimately solidifying her position as an artist who transcends boundaries and genres.

Catch the full interview below!

Tell me the inspiration behind your recent single “Je pense à toi.” Overall this song is inspired by different periods in my life and the overall feeling of prevailing against heartbreak. I moved to Paris in August 2019. Consequently, I was there when the global pandemic hit in March of 2020. Je pense à toi (French for thinking of you), although it wasn’t called this at the time, is a song that I started working on before the pandemic. In Paris, I was staying with a host family who had several instruments and a lot of open space. To keep myself busy during the pandemic I wrote a lot of songs and recorded all my demos on their top floor. 


During this time I kept trying to create the perfect melody for a French poem I had written.


Je te laisse souffler / d’où je t’ai caché/ dans ma mémoire /j’ai préféré oublier / de tout ce que t’as fait / pour me rendre faible / mais suis incapable / de ne pas m’aimer


(This translates to “I let wind blow you away, it removed you from where I hid you… in the depths of my memories. I preferred to forget everything that you did to make me feel weak, but I am incapable of not loving myself.”)


I grew up speaking English and Spanish. I learned French and Portuguese as a student at New York University. I was hurt about a love interest not working out back in New York and found that writing in French made it easier to process my feelings. I wasn’t as attached to the language so I could process my feelings more abstractly. 


During February 2020, before the lockdown, I met a Balenciaga model who was in town for Paris Fashion Week. Long story short he was my “quaran-bae” into the summer of the pandemic. From ten-hour FaceTime calls, to listening to Deepak Chopra meditation tapes and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests, we were virtually connected. That situationship ended because of his lack of emotional maturity. He kind of spiraled when I called him out on something. I’m not gonna lie, it kinda hurt lol, but also we met in person twice so it wasn’t really that deep. 


Fast forward to November of 2020 I reconnected with my “quaran-bae” and we wrote a song together. I showed him the song Je pense à toi by Amadou & Mariam, a musical duo from Mali. Instantly inspired by the West African influence, he produced a beat on Garageband and I sang whatever came to mind in the moment. He never sent me the garage band with all the stems and we never spoke again. It felt like the song was going to die. 


Fast forward again to New Years eve, my friend Arty Furtado, who produced my first EP, Lost in Translation, randomly sent me three new beats. The instrumentation to Je pense à toi was in this pack and I started reworking the French lyrics I mentioned earlier to fit the melody of the new production. I combined the French verses I wrote during the start of the pandemic, with the harmonies and bridges I had recorded with my “quaran-bae”.

When writing, how do you get into a creative headspace? I alluded to this a bit in the previous question. For this song specifically I was piecing together parts of different songs/poems and making it a stand alone work.  


In general, writing feels like a very spiritual process. Sometimes I journal some poems that I later “rediscover” when I try singing them on a beat. Other times, I’ll play the track and record whatever words I am feeling at the moment. This was especially the case for my first EP, Lost in Translation. I think the words were just waiting to be released. 


How do you turn personal experiences, whether good or bad, into inspiration for music? Music helps me process a lot of the feelings I feel I push to the side. From being a student at the graduate level, to now being a professor at a university, and overall adulting in a fast paced environment like NYC, music allows me to pause and process my experiences, emotions and growth. 


Tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up and how has it influenced your music and personal style? I am a Brooklyn based independent recording artist. Having grown up in New York City to a Dominican family, and traveling to over twenty-five countries, I am influenced by a myriad of cultures, namely the black diaspora. I try to honor blackness in its many iterations though my music and personal style. 


Who are some artists you’d love to collaborate with? Since I speak four languages, my music catalog is so vast! I would love to collaborate with the black musicians that inspired me the most. Stromae is definitely number one on the list. He is a Belgian/Rwandan musician and I literally learned French by studying and translating his lyrics. 


Mayra Andrade has also been extremely influential. She is a world artist from Cabo Verde, I definitely believe our music compliments each other. She also speaks a lot of languages, so it would be very powerful to connect and collaborate with her. 


A new artist that I love is Yendry, she’s a Dominican-Italian artist who also sings in several languages. I think we have a lot in common as far as cultural backgrounds, languages, age and genres so it would be cool to expand audiences and create with her. 


I am also really into artists such as Ibeyi, Jorja Smith, Ama Lou, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill and many others!

Your music is a bit of genre-blurring with afrobeats, r&b and more. How did this style come about? I would say Afrobeat was my favorite genre of music through all of undergrad at NYU. R&B is a genre most if not all of us have either grown up with or been exposed to. I guess my vocal lessons came from singing along to Alicia Keys, Adele and gospel music in my room. My voice is naturally soulful and sultry. 


Melding afrobeat into my R&B vocals allows me to have sad lyrics on something upbeat. Alot of Latin music is like this. For example Salsa is heavily associated with dancing, but a lot of lyrics are about heartbreak, poverty, imperialism, racism, slavery etc. I didn’t notice it as much when I was younger, but now the lyrics really stand out. In the same vein, I’ve wanted to have “in my bag lyrics” that girls could dance to in front of the mirror. 


What can your fans expect from you next? I am finalizing the visuals for my upcoming single “Tourbillon”. Both “Tourbillon” and “Je pense à toi” are from a larger project. I am working to release an album in 2024. 


The definition of Contrast is “to be strikingly different.” What makes you strikingly different? What truly sets me apart is that I create in four languages. Then I work tirelessly to perfect the lyrics and create the visuals. In the case of Je pense à toi & Tourbillon, I edited and color graded the music video after it was filmed and directed by my friend Deme Brown, a queer, non binary artist from Chicago.

Click on the cover art below to stream the single!

Click here to stream.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Contrast Magazine. michael@contrastmag.us


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