Fly Away with Møya Rey in Her Debut Four-Language EP “Lost in Translation”
Here at Galore we are thrilled to debut møya rey’s first EP “Lost In Translation”, a name that is evocative of a very diverse blend of sounds. Not only does her EP have a rich mix of genres, but it was also written in four languages; English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. The four track EP shows us how møya rey translates her emotions not only into language, but music. The different languages serve as bridges between the verses and choruses and unify her many sensibilities.
As a multi-disciplinary artist who primarily works with the visual realm to tell her narratives, music is a multidimensional realm where møya rey is able to fully express herself with an unwavering sense of freedom. møya rey’s music is hard to box neatly into just one genre because of the myriad of cultural influences riding shotgun on her debut musical journey. Her Afro-Dominican roots and her experience as a world traveler wrap themselves around music genres like Soul, AfroTunes, R&B and Hip-hop in a harmonious explosion of flavors and textures that take her soulful and melodic voice to new heights.
møya rey’s music is what Galore stands for; it is a bold project that makes her music unique and innovative. møya rey’s new and fresh interpretation of Caribbean, American, West African, and electronic sounds plays as a cohesive musical suite accentuated by the four languages on the project. Get ready to travel from the comfort of your couch by listening to the melding of languages in her four tracks. We hope you love her EP “Lost in Translation” as much as we do!
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming project?
“Lost In Translation” is the name of my current project. It is an EP with four songs, representing the four languages that I speak. The project is a way for me to take my activism to a new medium. As a visual artist, I wanted to combine my love for photography and filmography with my love for writing and music.
The project “Lost In Translation” came to life at the start of the quarantine period. During this time, I was living in Paris, where there were very strict restrictions and lockdowns. Music was a way to find a balance and feel purposeful and my journey of introspection.
The goal of the project is to promote community building and represent the multiplicity of existence. Furthermore, it allows me to nuance the rupture with binary thinking and imposed identities. Lastly, the project serves to contest academia’s protocols for discourse.
Who are your prominent musical influences?
Since I speak multiple languages, I have a sphere of influence that is extremely open and diverse, which really fills me with joy, as I believe that one should aim to break apart pseudo-differences to enjoy life fully. Culture is one of the most salient ways to find one’s positionality and understanding of life.
I would also like to honor the musical works of: Stromae, Sara Tavares, Mayra Andrade, Celia Cruz, No Name Gypsy, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, J Cole, Chance the Rapper and Fela Kuti and so many others. Each of these artists have such a rich representation of Black diasporic identity and culture. At the same time, these artists have a very layered critique of their society and the racialized imaginaries that manifest in the public sphere.
Can you tell us about your first single of the EP, “Transatlantic Calls?”
I wrote the first track, “Transatlantic Calls” in March 2020. Feeling isolated because of the quarantine in France, I had to stay sane by talking to those I cared about across the Atlantic. The song is specifically about a couple boys I was crushing over at the time. Ultimately the song shows the evolution of feelings where I went from being emotionally available to emotionally unavailable men, to finding my strength and taking my power back.
Can you tell us a bit about your single “Open letter”? What are the motifs? What inspired the lyrics?
“Open Letter,” produced by Arty Furtado, is the second single from the project “Lost in Translation. The song aims to break with conventional songwriting structures, for this reason the song reads more like an open letter with no chorus.
Apart from this, I navigate the song within four languages. I develop an imaginary that is personal to my experiences, and for this reason I begin in Spanish while balancing the alternating line in French. I grew up bi-lingual, and while English is my most prominent language, Spanish is the language I grew up speaking at home. For this reason I show my respect to the language, and therefore my family, and my culture.
Since the song “Open Letter” does not follow a conventional structure, can you explain the content and the intended message?
I open up the song by contextualizing that I had a dream in which everyone has their own faith, their siblings and that life is filled with joy. These structures of community are important to me, especially given the extended period of isolation during quarantine. So for me, the beginning is to promote community building in lieu of all the tumultuous circumstances that have occurred globally such as the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, but also the US elections, unemployment spikes, fires in the US etc.
My imaginary allows me to make sense of my experiences and understand the overall looming structure of the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,” as bell hooks would put it. I hope that the nuances of my message are communicated, and even if the listener does not understand each language, I hope that the structures of feeling will bring my imaginaries to life.
Can you tell us about the third track “Dile”? I love that this song is fully in Spanish!
Thank you so much! Yeah this song was kind of born on its own, or somehow already living within me. My friend and producer Arty sent me a few tracks on New Year’s Eve in 2020. It felt like a magical moment because as soon as I heard it the drums really spoke to me. I entered the New Year of 2021 recording the demo track in Paris as the fireworks went off.
The song is about heartbreak. I was talking to someone at the time but because of the pandemic we only spoke via WhatsApp and FaceTime. I wish I could say that it marked a transition of a somewhat break-up, if I could even call it that, it was more of a situationship. However I didn’t heal for a few months after that.
Can you tell us about the fourth track “Long Distance”?
The song “Long Distance” is also about the same person as the song “Dile”. I would say the two songs mirror each other, they were a way for me to make sense of my emotions. “Long Distance” tells the story of how we met and ended; and “Dile” is all the anguish experienced during and after the situationship.
What is the motif behind the number 4?
Part of my intentionality behind the production and curation of “Lost In Translation” was centering the project around the number 4. Since I grew up in a bilingual English and Spanish speaking household, it was easy for me to learn new languages. My EP is in four languages; English, Spanish, French & Portuguese. This is why there are four songs and four butterflies in the cover art.
This project allowed me to synthesize the many musical worlds that have shaped me and given me anchors to the spiritual world and cultures from West Africa, the Caribbean and America. Given that I learned French through the Belgian artist Stromae and Portuguese through artists such as Mayra Andrade and Cesaria Evora, I hope that my music can inspire others to break language barriers; for the root of our existence is that we share in common our humanity.
You mentioned the intentionality of including four butterflies in your cover art, what else can you say about the cover art?
The cover art was designed by Janya Blue, an artist from New York. The butterflies are very prominent in her work. I simply explained to her I wanted a visual representation of a spiritual release and in some ways to include a representation of the number four. She illustrated four butterflies as that representation.
The butterflies are also special to me because they are very symbolic to the region my family is from in the Dominican Republic; Salcedo. The butterflies are associated with the Mirabal sister who fought against the Trujillo dictatorship. It is a tribute to my history.
Connect with møya rey
Watch her video for “Transatlantic Calls” on YouTube
Watch her video for “Open Letter” on YouTube
Cover Drawing: Janaya Nyala @janaya.nyala
Photographer: Hélibert Fini @2nuagesdecendres
Photographer: Kevin Jackson @burban.pics
Makeup Artist: Djélissa @djemack
Stylist: Shirley Reynozo
Hair: Awa Soumah
Producer: Arty Furtado @artyfurtado
Saxophonist: Maceo Le Fournis @maceo_saxman