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New Orleans Emerging Musicians: Miss Mojo

Miss Mojo
Photo: Katie Sikora

I met Miss Mojo before they were even called Miss Mojo. The band has gone through a few members but the structure and the soul of the band has remained firmly intact. Miss Mojo is one of the many talented groups that has come out of the Tulane/Loyola music programs in five years since I moved to New Orleans (and long before that as well). The six-piece band is one of the few that have gone on to create waves in their music as they transition to an older, more mature sound while challenging the barriers of male and female band dynamics. Read our interview with Miss Mojo in our latest edition of our Emerging Artists series to hear them in their words.

Photo: Katie Sikora

KS: When did you start playing music?

Piper (vocals): I think we’ve all been individually making music since before we can remember, but as a group, we came together in early 2014. Our first show as a band was in February of that year. The group has gone through some changes with members, but the core six of us except for our Robby – we snagged him up about a year later – have been together from the start.

KS: Where did you grow up, and how did you end up in New Orleans?

Jenna (vocals): Most of us grew up in the Northeast, specifically Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. Our token Westerner is our bass player, Leo, who’s from Colorado.

KS: Describe your music.

Rob (keys): Our style can vary from song to song, but generally speaking, we try to connect with audiences by writing music that people want to dance to. We all listen to a good amount of 60s and 70s funk, 90s neo-soul, and contemporary alternative R&B, and elements of each of those influences come through in the music that we create together. We try to bring James Brown-style instrumental arrangements (in which every instrument is treated like a drum, filling in a different sonic and rhythmic space) to our compositions, which in turn support the power and presence of our vocalists while giving audiences heavy grooves to move their bodies to.

Photo: Katie Sikora

KS: What has been your favorite performance experience in New Orleans thus far?

Jenna: We all love playing at Tipitina’s, so really any opportunity to perform there has been a favorite. One show, in particular, that stands out was a graduation celebration show we played at Tips where we shared a bill with Big Sam and played to a packed crowd of over 1500 people. It was magical! Free Friday shows are always an amazing time as well.

KS: Which New Orleans musicians most inspire you?

Rob: The New Orleans musicians that most inspire us are those that carry the city’s traditions while staying innovative and relevant to changing musical styles. We all really look up to giants like Allen Toussaint, The Meters, and Dr. John. Today, some of our favorite artists in the city include Nigel Hall, Jon Cleary, PJ Morton, and Nicholas Payton.

Photo: Katie Sikora

KS: Favorite place to catch live music in NOLA?

Mack (drums): Three of our all-time favorite places are The Maple Leaf, Tipitina’s, and Jazz Fest.

KS: What do you love most about this city?

Cody (guitar): The music community in New Orleans is unlike any other city in the world. Being surrounded by so many inspirational musicians on the daily is really incredible.

KS: What is your favorite non-musical activity to do in New Orleans?

Leo (bass): Taking a sunset stroll through the wild section of City Park.

KS: Favorite food to eat in NOLA?

Leo: Pho in the wintertime, crawfish in the spring, peaches in the summer, firecracker shrimp po-boy year round.

KS: When is your next performance in New Orleans?

All: Nov. 10 @ Tipitina’s with Dumpstaphunk for their 3rd annual Harvest the Music show.

KS: Is there anything else you would like to share in regards to your music?

All: We are currently finalizing and recording some new material as well as working on some other exciting projects, so make sure to follow us on Spotify and all the social medias to stay up to date! We’re super excited and energized about this next chapter in Mojo’s life.

Katie Sikora graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Visual Journalism and worked as Photo Editor at The Peninsula Pulse in Door County, Wis., Media Strategist for Levy Restaurants in Chicago, Ill., and an Archivist at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, La. before pursuing her namesake photography business shooting everything from shark tagging research to vodou ceremonies and—you guessed it—weddings! Her photographs have been published by The Chicago Sun-Times, Gambit, The Times-Picayune, RedEye Chicago, The New Orleans Advocate, Houseshow Magazine, Antigravity Magazine, In The Bite Magazine, Thrillist, CBS Chicago, NBC Chicago, and the World Wildlife Fund amongst others. She is the creator and director of The Sexism Project, an ongoing portrait and interview series featuring the stories of real women in real industries experiencing real sexism.

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