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Richard Melville Hall (born September 11, 1965), better known by his stage name Moby, is an American DJ, singer-songwriter, and musician.

He sings and plays keyboard, guitar, bass guitar and drums. Moby became a successful artist on the ambient electronica scene, and achieved eight top 40 singles in the UK during the 1990s. In 1999 he released the album Play, a mix of melancholic chill-out, ambient music, and upbeat electronica, that was critically acclaimed and produced an impressive eight hit singles (including his most popular songs "Porcelain", "Natural Blues" and "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?"). Play became a commercial and cultural phenomenon, selling over 10 million copies worldwide (the biggest-selling electronica album ever) and with its eighteen songs receiving an unprecedented licensing in films, television and commercial advertisements.

His follow-up album, 18, released in 2002, was also highly successful and critically praised. His next offers, the mostly upbeats Hotel (2005), and Last Night (2008) received lukewarm reviews and poor sales in general. Moby released his most recent album, Wait for Me in 2009, returning to the sad styles of Moby and 18, finding good reviews and moderate sales. AllMusic considered Moby "one of the most important dance music figures of the early '90s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in the UKmarker and in Americamarker".

Early life and name

Hall was born in the Harlemmarker neighborhood of New York City, and raised by his mother in Darienmarker, Connecticutmarker.

According to Hall, his middle name and the nickname "Moby" were given to him by his parents because of an ancestral relationship to Moby Dick author Herman Melville: "The basis for Richard Melville Hall – and for Moby – is that supposedly Herman Melville was my great-great-great-granduncle."

He has also released music under the names Voodoo Child, Schaumgummi, and as a member of the bands Vatican Commandos, AWOL, Caeli Seouland Gin Train. He often performs at New York club events known as "Degenerates".

Music career

Early years

Moby started playing music when he was nine years old, originally studying classical guitar and music theory, and eventually learning piano and drums.

From 1982 to 1985 Moby was in a hardcore punk band called the Vatican Commandos, who released an EP called Hit Squad for God. He was also in a Joy Division-inspired post-punk group called AWOL, who released an eponymous album in 1983.

After years of pursuing a record deal he signed a recording contract with Instinct Records in 1989. During this time, Instinct Records "did not actually exist," Moby stated in his 2005 iTunes Originals interviews. When he was signed, the company did not have a logo, name, or an office.

Go & Rise to Fame (1991–1993)

His first single for Instinct was "Mobility," but it was the second single, "Go," a progressive house track using the string line from "Laura Palmer's Theme" from the TV drama Twin Peaks, which reached the UK top ten in October 1991 and earned him his first appearance on Top of the Pops. Some of his other singles in 1992 and 1993 were "Next Is The E", "Thousand" and "Voodoo Child."

In 1991 and 1992, he remixed the The B-52's, The Prodigy, Orbital, Erasure, Michael Jackson, and Ten City.

In 1992 he toured with The Prodigy, Richie Hawtin, and John Acquaviva.

Everything Is Wrong, Animal Rights & I Like to Score (1993–1998)

In 1993 Moby signed with Mute Records and released an EP entitled Move. This became his second appearance on Top of the Pops. During this time he also went on tour with Orbital and Aphex Twin in North America.

He then released his first album, Everything Is Wrong, on Mute Records in 1995. Early copies (in the UK and Germany at least) came with a special bonus CD called Underwater. This was a 43-minute five-track instrumental ambient CD. Everything Is Wrong earned early critical praise (Spin Magazine named it Album of The Year) and some commercial success. He followed this up in early 1996 with the double album Everything Is Wrong—Mixed and Remixed. In 1995 Moby also headlined the second stage at Lollapalooza, playing alongside Beck, Sonic Youth, and Pavement.

In 1996 he released a punk rock album called Animal Rights and toured Europe with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden. Moby usually writes all his own music, occasionally with collaborators, but Animal Rights included a cover version of Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver". The single "Come on Baby" from Animal Rights was Moby's third Top of the Pops performance. It was notable for its very aggressive look and sound.

In 1997, he released I Like to Score, a collection of his music that had been used in movies. Among those tracks were an updated version of the James Bond Theme used for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and a cover of "New Dawn Fades" by Joy Division which had appeared (without vocals) in Michael Mann's Heat.

Moby performs a rare DJ set at NASA Rewind 04-03-2004 in NYC

Play, 18 and Worldwide Success (1999–2004)

In 1999 Moby released the album Play. The album had moderate sales after its release, but eventually went on to sell over ten million records worldwide a year later. Every song on the album was licensed internationally to various films, advertisements, and TV shows, as well as independent films and non-profit groups. Moby performed three times on Top of the Pops with singles from the album. One of the collaborations on the album was "South Side", featuring Gwen Stefani. Play mixes songs from Alan Lomax's 1993 Atlantic recording "Sounds of the South: A Musical Journey From the Georgia Sea Islands to the Mississippi Delta." For the song "Natural Blues", Moby mixes "Trouble So Hard" from the Alan Lomax, Sounds of the South compilation.

In July 2001 Moby: PlaytheDVD was released. Produced by Moby and Jeff Rogers (Swell) the DVD was nominated for a 2002 Grammy award. The DVD included various sections: Live on TV, most of the videos (excluding Southside w/Gwen Stefani), Give An Idiot a Camcorder (Moby was given a camcorder and the tape was later edited by Tara Bethune-Leaman) and an 88 minute Moby MegaMix of all the remixes created for the album Play. The Mega Mix was accompanied by visuals created in Toronto at Crush led by director Kathi Prosser.

In 2002 Moby released the follow up to Play, 18, which earned gold and platinum awards in over 30 countries, and sold more than four million copies. Moby toured extensively for both Play and 18, playing well over 500 shows in the course of four years.

He founded the Area:One Festival in 2001, a popular touring festival that features an eclectic range of musical genres. The Area:One tour featured: Outkast, Moby, New Order, Incubus, Nelly Furtado, and Paul Oakenfold. Area2 tour (2002) featured David Bowie, Moby, Blue Man Group, Busta Rhymes, and Carl Cox.

In 2001, Moby also earned the ire of rapper Eminem after Moby called Eminem's music misogynist and homophobic; Eminem later satirized Moby (among others) in "Without Me", declaring "Nobody listens to techno!" The two got into a confrontation at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, along with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

In the next few years, Moby co-wrote "Is It Any Wonder" with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, remixed the Beastie Boys, David Bowie, Nas and Metallica, produced and co-wrote the track "Early Mornin'" for Britney Spears' fourth studio album In the Zone, and collaborated with Public Enemy on "Make Love, Fuck War", which was released prior to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Moby also had his song "Extreme Ways" used in the Jason Bourne movies. Although not a hit when it was released, "Extreme Ways" has gone on to become Moby's most downloaded song.

In 2003 Moby headlined the Pyramid stage at Glastonburymarker. In 2004 Moby worked on the John Kerry presidential campaign, and also worked extensively with liberal group

Hotel, Last Night and The Little Death (2005–2008)

In 2005 Moby released Hotel. Instead of his relying on samples for vocals, all of the vocals and instruments were performed live in the studio, by Moby and vocalist Laura Dawn.

Hotel spawned two of Moby's biggest European hits, "Lift Me Up" and "Slipping Away," both of which were #1 European singles. Hotel went on to earn gold and platinum awards in over twenty countries, with global sales of over two million copies.

In the UK ITV used a specially remixed version of "Lift Me Up" as its Formula 1 shows theme music.

In 2006 Moby also acted in the movie Pittsburgh, with Jeff Goldblum and Illeana Douglas.

In 2006 He accepted an offer to score the soundtrack for Richard Kelly's 2007 movie Southland Tales because he was a fan of Kelly's previous film, Donnie Darko.

In 2007 he produced and performed on The Bongos' remake of "The Bulrushes," for the special edition re-issue of their debut album, Drums Along The Hudson (Cooking Vinyl Records), and appeared in the promo video of the song.

In 2007 Moby launched a website entitled mobygratis provides free music for film students and independent and non-profit filmmakers. It is a non-profit venture, with any/all revenue earned by going to the Humane Society/HSUS.

In 2007 Moby also started a rock band, The Little Death, NYC, with his friends Laura Dawn, Daron Murphy, and Aaron Brooks.

In 2008 Moby released Last Night, an eclectic album of electronic dance music inspired by a night out in his New York neighborhood (the Lower East Side). The singles from Last Night include "Alice," "Disco Lies," "I Love To Move In Here," and "Ooh Yeah." The album was recorded in Moby's home studio in Manhattanmarker, New Yorkmarker and features a number of guest vocalists, including Wendy Starland, MC Grandmaster Caz, one of the writers of "Rapper's Delight" (on "I Love to Move in Here"), Sylvia from the band Kudu, British MC Aynzli and the Nigerian 419 Squad.

In collaboration with The Sunday Times, Moby released an exclusive mix album titled "A Night in NYC" which appeared on the newspaper's cover. It was a compilation of Moby tracks spanning his career and included video from his new album Last Night.

Wait for Me (2009–present)

In a November 2008 interview Moby spoke about the follow up album to Last Night, which he is currently working on. "I want to make a really emotional, beautiful record. I don't know if I will succeed, but my goal is to make something very personal, very melodic, very beautiful."The album, titled Wait for Me, was released in June 2009.

On the 14th of April, Moby confirmed that the album would be released on the 30th of June . "I recorded the album here in my studio on the lower east side (although 'studio' always seems like an overly grand word for a bunch of equipment set up in a small bedroom). In the past I've worked in large and small studios, but for this record I wanted to record everything at home by myself," said Moby on his journal. "I started working on the album about a year ago, and the creative impetus behind the record was hearing a David Lynch speech at BAFTA, in the UK. David was talking about creativity, and to paraphrase, about how creativity in and of itself, and without market pressures, is fine and good. It seems as if too often an artists or musicians or writers creative output is judged by how well it accommodates the marketplace, and how much market share it commands and how much money it generates. In making this record I wanted to focus on making something that I loved, without really being concerned about how it might be received by the marketplace. As a result it's a quieter and more melodic and more mournful and more personal record than some of the records I've made in the past."

Moby and David Lynch discussed the recording process of the album on Lynch's online channel, David Lynch Foundation Television Beta. The entire interview can be viewed for free here.

The first single off the album is Shot in the Back of the Head, and the video for which was aptly directed by Moby's muse, David Lynch himself. The single is available for free download from Moby's website,

Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós) mixed Wait for Me. According to Moby, "mixing the record with him (Thomas) was really nice, as he's creatively open to trying anything (like recording an old broken bakelite radio and running it through some broken old effects pedals to see what it would sound like. It's on the record as a 45 second long track called "Stock Radio"). And as a geeky technical aside, we mixed the record using purely analog equipment in true stereo, akin to how records were mixed in the late '60s(some of the songs sound pretty amazing in headphones, if I do say so myself..."

Moby plans to tour for the new album with a full band again, something that occurred rarely during Moby's Last Night promotion, except for selected festival performances.

Moby expects to raise between $75,000 and $100,000 to help those affected by domestic violence after all funding for the state's domestic violence programme was cut in July. To do this he is to donate the profits from his upcoming shows in California (San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles).

Moby will headline the Australian 2009 Falls Festival, as well as the other Sunset Sounds festivals.


Moby has collaborated live with many of his heroes while on tour or at fundraisers. He has performed "Walk on the Wild Side" with Lou Reed,"Me and Bobby McGee" with Kris Kristofferson, "Heroes" and "Cactus" with David Bowie, "Helpless" with Bono and Michael Stipe, "New Dawn Fades" with New Order, "Make Love, Fuck War" with Public Enemy, "Whole Lotta Love" with Slash, and "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" with Mission Of Burma, and made two duets with the french singer Mylène Farmer (the one "Slipping Away (Crier La vie) in 2006 and the other "Looking For My Name" in 2008).

In 2007, he became one of the few well-known commercial artists to produce work for a video game, collaborating with DJ Oscar the Punk on all three tracks of The Bioshock EP, included with limited edition copies of the Xbox 360 and PC game Bioshock.

RIAA Criticism

On June 20, 2009, Moby posted on his blog in response to the RIAA's decision to sue Minnesota suburban mom Jammie Thomas-Rasset for $2,000,000 for illegally downloading music. He called this "utter nonsense" and stated "the RIAA needs to be disbanded."

Personal life and faith

He lives in New York City's Little Italy, where he has lived for a decade in a small apartment in a five-story building across the street from David Bowie. Until recently he co-owned a small restaurant and tea shop called TeaNYmarker, where he occasionally waited tables. He also organized the Little Idiot Collective, a group of artists.

In an interview with Psychology Today, Moby stated that when he was 19, he tried LSD and began suffering from panic attacks. He claims that he no longer experiences them as frequently as he used to, but occasionally he will "have too much caffeine, be stressed out about work and be in a relationship that's not going well, and it will happen again." He is very open about this in an attempt to help fans who suffer from similar panic disorders.

When asked about drugs, he responded: "I'm sort of a libertarian. People should be able to do what they want. I ultimately defer the wisdom to an adult to make their own choices. If someone wants to do drugs, I think it's their own business and not the business of the state."

In a 2003 BBC interview, Moby spoke about his encounter with the Gospels, "In about 1985 I read the teachings of Christ and was instantly struck by the idea that Christ was somehow divine. When I say I love Christ and love the teachings of Christ I mean that in the most simple and naïve and subjective way. I'm not saying I'm right, and I certainly wouldn't criticize anyone else's beliefs."

In a September 20, 2006 audio interview with Sojourners Magazine, he says, "I read the New Testament, specifically the gospels and I was struck at their divinity, feeling that humans could not have figured this out on their own. We're just not bright enough." He also discusses his faith on his own weblog. On January 19, 2007, in his reaction to seeing Alexandra Pelosi's Friends of God, a film about evangelism in the United States, Moby writes, "The movie reminded me just how utterly disconnected the agenda of the evangelical Christian right is from the teachings of Christ."

In March 2008, after Gary Gygax's death, Moby was one of several celebrities stating they had been Dungeons & Dragons players.


Moby is an advocate for a variety of causes, working with MoveOn and The Humane Society, among others. His website, which licenses film music for free for non-profit and independent films, funnels proceeds from films which do go on to produce revenue to The Humane Society. He created MoveOn Voter Fund's Bush in 30 Seconds contest along with singer/ MoveOn Cultural Director Laura Dawn and MoveOn Executive Director Eli Pariser. The music video for the song "Disco Lies" from From Last Night has heavy anti-meat industrial themes.

He also actively engages in nonpartisan activism, and serves on the Board of Directors of, a nonprofit that implements injury prevention programs in Africa.

Moby is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing scientific inquiry on music and the brain and to developing clinical treatments to benefit people of all ages. He has also performed on various benefit concerts to help increase awareness for music therapy and raise funds for the Institute. In 2004, he was honored with the IMNF’s "Music Has Power Award" for his advocacy of music therapy and for his dedication and support to its recording studio program.

He is an advocate of network neutrality and he testified before United States House of Representatives committee debating the issue in 2006.

In 2008 he participated in a music album called Songs for Tibet, to support Tibet and the current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.

In 2009 after hearing about California cutting its funding to domestic violence programs, Moby decided to donate the fees from his tour shows in L.A. and San Francisco to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.


Many Moby albums include essays that he has written himself in the inlay card. Everything Is Wrong had essays on over-consumption ("We use toxic chlorine bleach to keep our underpants white") and U.S. religious leaders ("Why doesn't the Christian right go out and spread mercy, compassion and selflessness?"), and The End of Everything discussed being a vegan ("Could you look an animal in the eyes and say to it, 'My appetite is more important than your suffering'?").

He was interviewed by Lucy Walker for a chapter in Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky.



See also


  • VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards: 2000 Visionary Video - Winner
  • MTV Video Music Awards: 2000 Best Male Video - Nominated; 2001 Best Male Video - Winner; 2002 Best Cinematography - Winner
  • BMI Film & TV Awards: 2002 Certificate of Achievement
  • Grammy Awards: 2000 Best Alternative Music Performance - Play - Nominated; 2000 Best Rock Instrumental Performance - Bodyrock - Nominated; 2001 Best Dance Recording - Natural Blues - Nominated; 2002 Best Music Video, Long Form - Moby: Play; 2003 Best Pop Instrumental Performance - 18 - Nominated; 2009 Best Electronic/Dance Album - Last Night - Nominated
  • ECHO Awards, Germany: 2006 International Pop/Rock Male Artist of the Year - Nominated
  • NRJ Music Awards: 2001 International Male Artist of the Year - Winner
  • MTV Europe Music: 2000 Best Video - Natural Blues - Winner; 2000 Best Album - Play - Nominated; 2000 Best Dance - Nominated; 2002 Web Awards - Winner; 2002 Best Dance - Nominated; 2003 Best Dance - Nominated; 2005 Best Male - Nominated
  • Rolling Stone (Magazine): Best Dance/Dj Artist of the Year - Winner
  • Billboard Year-End Charts: Top Electronic Artist - Winner; Top Electronic Album - Winner
  • BRIT Awards, UK: 2000 Best International Male - Nominated; 2003 Best International Male - Nominated


  • Moby: Replay, 2001 Olmstead Press Paperback ISBN 1-58754-011-8


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