Practically born singing, Mo remembers not only lots of classical music but also lots of jazz by Cleo Lane of which her singing mom was a big fan, Sarah Vaughan, Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Burt Bacharach, Karen Carpenter, but also chanson française (Gilbert Bécaud, Louis Neefs (with the latter hearing Mo sing, asking her to promise she would never ever stop singing) Rock (Iron Maiden, Alan Parsons Project to which her singing & piano playing sister introduces her), New Wave (Nina Hagen, The Cult, Japan, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Einstürzenden Neubauten) or Rhythm ’n Blues and derived styles as Soul, Funk and Gospel with Urban Dance Squad, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Rufus & Chaka Kahn, Ike & Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Al Jarreau, Diane Schuur, Oleta Adams, Level 42 and many other artists to which her DJ’ing brother introduces her.
Born in Hilversum (home to the Dutch national radio, television and entertainment industry) in a music & broadcast family, Mo’s dad (sound engineer and musician) was one of the pioneers behind the foundation of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (1949). He went on working for Dutch Public Broadcasting Cooperation NOS, to finally end up NOS chief sound engineering for National Public Radio. Little Mo was taken along to work whenever possible.
She recalls : « I spent many hours hanging around whilst orchestras were installed for recordings or radio programmes my dad would engineer, or I came along in the truck wherefrom concerts or programmes were recorded or broadcasted live from somewhere in the country. He’s 94 today and regretfully deaf, but I still see him installing, testing and re-adjusting mics or working behind one of these huge mixing boards. When I started in radio and music myself I realized these tables were not that big, but that I’d been watching them through the eyes of a little girl. »
Dutch pianist Benrath Bolmann nurtured Mo’s talent from the age of 6 despite the small size of her hands. The concert pianist noticed a high degree of musicality in the little girl ‘that was always singing on the playground’. At age 11 Mo sings and plays in school theatre plays and in the underground circuit of Hilversum and surroundings by the time she’s 17. She first orients to a media career (sound, radio, writing, photography and TV) ending up working internationally, living a double life (music and media) before shifting to music and coaching full-time.
To develop in such an environment may seem a blessing, but there’s also a dark side to it in terms of expectations, pressure and identity development. Mo: « My childhood wasn’t easy. My dad was ‘the guy of the radio’ and obsessed with what people were thinking of us. He wanted me to be exemplary and performant in everything, which drifted me away from myself. Class mates came along out of curiosity, so my dad told me to stop bringing them home. That turned me into an isolated child. »
« It took time to authorize myself to exist the way I do today » says Mo in the first ever Guide to Artist Psychology written by Dutch expert psychologist Daisy Gubbels (to be published shortly), to which she collaborated. Given her unique track record added with the required training, she specialized herself over the years in a multidisciplinary way. She writes, composes, performs and is a highly respected voice & hearing professional specialized in vocal & artist coaching, stress & performance, mental preparation, tuition (pedagogy), speech & presentation and media training.
Over the years Mo collaborated with many people, including Italo-Peruvian drummer & percussionist Luca Solari (also a gifted photographer, composer and sound engineer), Nicolas Wetzell Jr, Jennifer Weatherly, Willy Wainwright, Jose-Luis ‘Sartén’ Asaresi, Julio D’Santiago, Christian Asmussen, Pontus Engborg & Confusion, Johann Frank, Gudrun Solja Jacobsen, Laila Rong Hanna, Guy Nickels, David Barker, Richard Spooner, Soraya Berent, Sito, Maria Angeles Cuevas, Aline Sumi, Cyril Regamey, Sebastien Pittet, Anneclaude Landry, Alexandre Cellier etc.
Currently working on the release of her own music and poems in « Poiesis » (music poetry) with Christian Asmussen, Mo plans to record in Scandinavia in Spring 2018. She’ll hit the road afterwards to present this original project across Europe.