It's one of the biggest challenges for musicians: finding a way for people to actually hear their music.
Some artists are forced to tour incessantly. Many have taken advantage of the Internet. And some are finding success by getting their songs on TV or film.
MoZella, a 25-year-old native of Detroit currently living in Santa Monica, has used a little bit of everything to get her soulful tunes out to the public. Her songs have been featured in films and TV shows such as "One Tree Hill," "Las Vegas," "How I Met Your Mother," "Bones," "Wildfire," and "What About Brian."
In years past, many artists frowned on their music being used in commercials or on TV shows, fearing they would be branded as a sellout. But MoZella told the News in a recent phone interview from southern California that times have changed. In this era of declining CD sales and limited radio play, MoZella said television has become an important instrument for musicians and not just actors.
"I think it's huge. Television is the new radio almost," she said. "It's a total flip. It used to be you didn't want to be branded or associated. That's back when you could sell 10-plus million records."
If a television viewer hears a song on a show they like, they're likely to Google the show to find out the name of the artist and then either buy the song off of iTunes or check the artist's MySpace page.
"The (writers) strike is really going to affect a lot of artists this spring," she said. "Radio is such a narrow market."
Another way to get music heard is to be an invited performer at the Sundance Film Festival.
MoZella is one of about a dozen artists from Warner Bros. Records invited to perform this week for a three-night tribute to the union of music and film. Entitled, "Where Music Meets Film: Live from The ZonePerfect Bar," up-and-coming artists along with big name performers, such as Josh Groban, Michelle Branch and Jason Mraz, will perform acoustic sets at Harry O's. The shows are all private but portions can be seen on FUSE Feb. 4 during a one-hour special.
MoZella, a nickname she's had since childhood derived from her real name Maureen, has a voice that falls somewhere between Macy Gray, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones and maybe a splash of Dido. Her 2006 debut "I Will" was well received and found her opening for the likes of Dave Matthews and Lifehouse. She expects to release her sophomore effort later this year.
"My vocals lean toward old soul and jazz. But jazz didn't get shown very much on the last record," MoZella said.For the new CD, MoZella said she's been playing with some "cool beats on my guitar," some of which have a vibe from the 1950s and 60s.
E-mail: [email protected]