January 21, 2015
2013 Young Leader China Moses shares insights on her career.
China Moses, 2013 Young Leader, is a woman of the new millennium.
Born in the United States and raised in France, she is multi-dimensional in her pursuits. As a professional vocalist, songwriter, music producer, television and radio host, China recently released her fifth studio album, “Crazy Blues”, in conjunction with a licensing deal between Universal Music Group International and her own production company, MadeInChina Productions.
Balancing an international tour schedule with her other professional interests, she has produced documentaries and radio programs through her production company. Additionally, China co-founded Notorious Communication, a full-service public relations firm focusing on Fashion, Culture and entertainment, whose campaigns service top-tier clients, including Vans, Etnies, Nike, Volcom, Rip Curl Pro, Ziggy Marley and Simply Red, among others.
Having signed her first contract with Virgin Records France at the age of fifteen, China has since navigated the French media world while developing her artistic career. In 1999, she launched her TV career on French music channel MCM, then joined the ranks of MTV International, in 2004, as “On Air” talent and music journalist for MTV France, where she continues to work.
She spent a year appearing on France’s prime-time TV talk show, “Le Grand Journal,” airing on Canal+ and hosted a daily on-air show on JazzRadio. Out of these projects, China created a music sponsorship program for the ERDF group, for which she serves as an advisor.
Beyond her professional ventures, China is an active philanthropist. She is developing an ambassadorship program with UNESCO partner, International Music Council, to promote musical diversity and open access to culture. She routinely lends her participation to charitable ventures, such as “Solidarité Sida” (AIDS Solidarity) and “Tout le Monde Chante Contre le Cancer” (Everyone Sings Against Cancer) and is an advocate of the arts in education.
China, you are a renowed singer in France and in the United States, and you released your first album “Time” at 16. This success was followed by three albums: “China” (1997), “On tourne en Rond” (2000) and “Good Lovin’ ” (2004) making you a central figure on the Jazz, RnB, Soul and Pop scenes. Where did you get this passion for music?
Music is my heritage. I have realised it’s in my DNA. Truly part of my identity and where I stand as a human being. Having now just finished my sixth album, to still be performing at my age, knowing that I started just a teenager, it is really interesting to finally accept that is my passion and my job. I have been fascinated by all or the incredible artists that have shaped the culture and history of our kind; It’s actually fascinating when you think about it. There is a need for culture and the arts. Without them the world would be a much different place.
You recently released a new album “Crazy Blues” with Raphael Lemonnier. Could you tell us more about this new creation and your collaboration with Raphael?
I have been lucky to have travelled the world with Raphael. I produced our two records , a tribute to our idol, Dinah Washington,”This One’s For Dinah” that was released on Blue Note Records and “Crazy Blues” which is a tribute to the women of blues and soul. We came from very different worlds and found our common ground. Now I am gearing up to release my 6th studio album, “Breaking Point” that I have been working on in London. These will be my words and melodies that I will be singing. I have always written and composed, and it really was liberating to sing and pay tribute to the women who helped shape me as an artist. So liberating that I am ready to just be.
You were a presenter for more than 10 years on French music channels such as MCM, MTV France and Canal +. You also presented Jazz Radio’s Made in China, a daily program, and in 2008 you launched your own company called MadeInChina Productions. Why did you choose this career initially?
I always wanted to do radio. For TV, I was just at the right place at the right time. And then it became my everyday world. I even stopped doing music for a year. I thought that my music days were behind me and that TV and the media was where I wanted to evolve. But once I stopped performing I realised the impotence of singing. And I modified my work hours so I could do music again. The production company happened naturally. I have a natural fondness of working behind the scenes, it’s actually rewarding and grounding.
In 2013, you were selected by the French-American Foundation as a Young leader. How was the experience and what has it brought you personally and professionally?
Personally the experience was life changing. I know it may sound exaggerated but I met remarkable people that I didn’t expect to meet. To be honest, as an artist I thought I would feel out of place but not at all. It was inspiring, it inspired to be more, dream more and most importantly of all to be more curious.
What do you find to be the most important aspect of French-American ties?
Having so much in common and yet so many different aspects that make each culture unique. There is a mutual appreciation and desire to learn from each other that I find quite remarkable. I fully understand the meaning of that Koger/Varna/Scotto song written for Josephine Baker “J’ai deux amours”
What’s the next step for you?
Playing “Sally Bowles” in a production of Cabaret in France, Celebrating International Jazz Day in Paris on April 30th with the UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute and my new album “ Breaking Point” being released this fall.
They say that “time is always borrowed in the end” so I am working hard on becoming the person that I have dreamt of being.