Let’s address this right from the start— it’ll surprise no one to learn that Mozart the female teen pop prodigy is a different person altogether from the legendary Austrian classical composer. One is 18 years old, the other is of the 18th century. Still, when we recently received an email with the heading “Mozart Smashes the Patriarchy,” we did a double take.
We’re half-kidding, of course. What is not a joke is just how many impressive achievements the L.A.-based artist has squeezed into her 18 years. The ball was rolling early; from the age of 5, Mozart was touring the world with her family, soaking in music from all over the globe.
“We started traveling around the world, and I did music and singing and dancing everywhere we went,” she says. “When we were in Malaysia, I went to an all-Chinese school and joined a choir, and was singing all the time and realized that I really love doing this. We moved back to the U.S. after 10 years of travel, and I started getting training. That’s when I discovered a serious love for songwriting and performing.”
Mozart’s lawyer, who had previously worked in music publishing, heard the song “Ashes” and advised the singer to move to L.A., where “everything’s happening.” So that’s how she ended up settling here. She’s loving it, too, though she concedes that life is very different from the nomadic existence she previously enjoyed.
“When I was 5, my parents decided that they wanted to spend more time with me because I have older parents,” she says. “They sold everything — our house, our cars — and they bought a camper van in Europe. We would travel all around Europe for seven months out of the year, and we would have a base in Spain in the fall, where I would go to school and be immersed in the culture. I did flamenco dancing for around four years of my life. Then when I was around 10, we moved to Asia so that I could learn Mandarin Chinese. I went to an all-Chinese school. I was the only Caucasian but again I was completely immersed in the culture, so that’s how I became fluent in these languages.”
It’s astonishing, the more you think about it. At 18, Mozart has done more traveling than many people fit into a lifetime. For that reason, she says she considers the whole world her home, even though she’s enjoying L.A. right now. She’s won awards, been on TV numerous times and appeared in the movie Rose but she doesn’t believe she’s peaked quite yet.
“I always strive to be the best that I can be, and I think there’s so much more for me to still do that I feel like I’ve reached the bottom of my peak and now I’m slowly climbing up to the top of the peak,” she says. “Hopefully I’ll see it at some point.”
Mozart considers herself an urban, edgy pop performer, in the vein of Lorde, Rihanna, Halsey and Billie Eilish — a strong, talented female artist with a message. Her most recent single, “Push You Harder,” is a female empowerment anthem, and God knows we need plenty of them, as the current administration gleefully wallows in toxic masculinity.
“I think as women, we really need to own our own power and our own inner goddess, to use the power that we have in the world to inspire people,” Mozart says. “I wrote this song just a couple of days after I turned 17 last fall, and that was right when the whole #TimesUp and #MeToo movements were coming up. That was really on my mind, and I wanted to create a song that was female empowered but also fun and uplifting. I was really inspired by the Hannah Gadsby quote: ‘There’s nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.’ That’s so relevant in our time today, with all of these women coming up and becoming stronger than ever. I want to inspire more women and young people to use our power to vote. That’s the most important thing right now, to vote.”
That single will be followed by an EP, though there probably will be a few more singles in between as Mozart looks to build momentum. In the meantime, then, what’s with that name?
“It’s not my given [birth] name,” she says. “When I was 6 months old, I was in a ‘music together’ class with my mom. Apparently, I stood up and clapped in time to the music, and all the other mothers were like, ‘Oh my God, you have a little Mozart on your hands.’ When we started traveling, my given name is very unusual and it would have been very easy in the early days of the internet to be able to track me. So my parents were like, OK, why don’t we all take pseudonyms? We’ll take the names of our heroes, and that’ll be like our pen name. I picked Mozart, and it just stuck ever since. I go by Mozart everywhere now, and more people know me as Mozart than they do by my real name.”
Somehow, it works just fine. This Mozart has a natural sprightliness about her, a vibe of enjoying life to the full, and a brightness in conversation. We’ll be able to enjoy all of that when she performs at Molly Malone’s this week.
“I’m going to be singing a bunch of songs from my upcoming EP, and some songs that probably aren't going to be on the EP,” she says. “When I do my live shows, you can always expect me to do songs that aren’t released yet. You won’t have heard my stuff anywhere else, except perhaps on YouTube from a live recording of another show.”
When this show’s over, she has a couple more in the coming months, as she looks to continue to spread her message and inspire people.
“I want to transform pain into empowerment today,” she says. “There’s a lot of pain going on, and a lot of empowerment going on, so let’s transform it into something good.”
Mozart plays at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, at Molly Malone's. On Dec. 22, she plays at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, and on Jan. 22 she's at Kulak's Woodshed.