In the late 1980s, Moby was drawn to what he calls “the dirty mecca” of New York City. As a DJ and electronic musician, he was a staple of the rave scene: massive crowds dancing until dawn, probably under the influence of a substance or two, all moving as one to his songs.
Moby says he never would have predicted his success spilling into the mainstream — but it did with the album Play, a mashup of techno, old blues samples and darkly poetic lyrics. Released in 1999, the record sold millons and spawned hit singles, including what may be the artist’s signature song, “Porcelain.” That’s also the name of his new memoir.
“Porcelain is fragile and white, and I am fragile and white,” he explains with a laugh. “And also, halfway through the book, I go from being a sober Christian to being a very un-sober, non-Christian. And when I relapsed, to be graphic, I did a lot of throwing up into porcelain things.”
That willingness to expose himself in unflattering ways is a hallmark of the book, in which Moby explores how his rise to fame related to an internal search for validation. “Whether it was the early dance scene in New York, or New York itself, or the rave scene, or Christianity, or sobriety, or drunkenness,” he says, he was looking to belong.
Moby spoke with NPR’s David Greene about finding his way from local buzz to international fame, and how the difficulties of his childhood still informs his creative process.
[report by NPR Staff]