Moby came to the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C., to promote his latest work, Porcelain: A Memoir. In the book, the singer-songwriter traces his life from 1989 through 1999 in unabashed frankness. It includes his stories about squatting in an abandoned factory, his trials with alcoholism and drugs, and other anecdotes up to the release of his hit album, Play. Through that lens, readers can also glean a sense of how New York City evolved into the expensive cultural hub that it is today.
Moby explained his decision to be transparent about the gritty and dark aspects of his life and the city. Our culture today, he said, is all about “being disingenuous. We do ourselves a disservice. [My book] may lead someone else to feel less ashamed of what they’re feeling.”
Lisa Fletcher, an investigative reporter from ABC-affiliate WJLA, interviewed Moby that evening. She directed more attention to the artist’s views on animal welfare. A vegan since 1987, Moby believes his passion for the cause had its roots in his childhood. Faced with a less than harmonious life at home, he found that “the only calm presence was the animals.” As he elaborated later, “My purpose [in life] is to do what I can to end animal agriculture and humans imposing their will on animals.”
Advocating for animal welfare is Moby’s true calling in life, higher than music in his own estimation. During the Q&A, he revealed that he hopes to make an acoustic album and do a tour in the future. He maintains a humble stance on his music, taking a shot at artists who aggressively remove their tracks from free outlets like Spotify. “For someone to take the time to listen to my songs, out of all the billions of songs out here, I should be grateful,” he emphasized.
The humility extends to Moby’s work with other music stars such as Gwen Stefani, who contributed to a version of his hit “South Side” at the prompting of a friend. “It was an impetuous thing she did,” he recounted. “I was in the recording studio and she just showed up! It was pure charity on her part.”
Serious topics didn’t dominate the evening entirely, as this final anecdote illustrates. In 2007, his mother confessed on her deathbed that he has an older half brother that was given up for adoption. “Maybe my half brother is Karl Rove,” he joked to the Politico journalist at a party. He never found his brother, but he received a letter from Mr. Rove himself, who denied the familial connection and asked, “Have you considered James Carville?”
Porcelain: A Memoir is currently available online and in stores. Washington, DC, was the second stop in his Moby’s tour, which is expected to wrap up on June 30 in Los Angeles, CA.