At just 16 years of age, Mozart Dee has already experienced what many would be lucky to experience in a lifetime. This is because at the age of five, her parents decided to leave California and embark on a ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle, taking in 48 different countries around the globe which she says has played a fundamental role in her development.
Already a talented musician from an early age (starting to play the violin at two and the piano at three), she believes that “growing up global” has shaped her artistry and creativity and propelled her in her fledgling career which has already seen her appear on MTV and win an award for her dramatic lead in the film Rose.
To give Mozart’s career every chance of flourishing, the family are “slowing down”and have settled in Los Angeles as “that is where the music business and film/TV businesses are based”.
She spoke about her unconvential education in a recent TED talk. She explained how she used the world as her classroom, but also that she stopped long enough to attend school in rural China as well as several years at the local primary school in Frigiliana.
For this reason Mozart is particularly excited to return to Andalucía as part of her #MozartIgniteTour.
–You’re on tour now. Ithought you were supposed to be ‘settling down’? Do you ever lose track of where you are in the world?
–Yes, I am touringthis summer in Europe and loving it. I’m based in Los Angeles now, so when I am not touring or travelling, I am there. I haven’t lost track of where I am yet, but if I am going through lots of time zones, I can lose track of what day it is!
–Is there anywhere you call home?
–At the moment, LA is my home, but Spain always feels like home to me too. I feel like I have several ‘homes’.
–What is it that makes Spain so special to you?
–Just about everything! I love the people, the food, the festivals, the language, the weather. My great grandmother is from Spain and I have been speaking Spanish from birth, so it has my heart.
–How much have your travels influenced your music?
–I think my travel lifestyle, growing up global, has greatly affected my music and my songwriting. I’ve been exposed to so many different cultures, languages and music and most experts in the field of music say that I don’t write like a typical teen my age.
–Of all the places you’ve been, which was the biggest culture shock?
–I think the biggest cultural shock was the exotic Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia because they go into a trance and put thousands of piercings in their bodies and pull heavy things with them.
–Is Chinese difficult to learn?
–Chinese is much more difficult than Spanish. The hardest part is reading and writing it. It is quite tedious and repetitive to learn, even for native Mandarin speakers.
–Do you sometimes feel like you’ve missed out by not having a conventional education?
–I feel like I have had the best of both worlds, because I have spent time in schools in several countries (primarily for language immersion) and yet also know the freedom of home education. When I was in school in Spain, we’d return every winter to Frigiliana and leave on 1 May to travel Europe in our camper van. I had a normal school life when in Spain and I’d study mostly in English, and later some in Chinese, while we roamed.
–Would you recommend the ‘nomad’ life to others?
–Oh, yes! I hope to some day give some of this experience to my own child or children.
–You’ve learned to play several instruments, you sing, you act – which do you love most?
–Yes, I play five instruments and love them all and want to learn more, but piano is my favourite and I play guitar the most now because it is so portable. I love to write music and to sing, but through my singing I got a lead in a movie, so I discovered that I loved acting as well. I hope to have a career where I can do it all.
–Is Mozart your real name?
–No, it is my stage name. Mozart has been my nickname since I was five months old and stood up and clapped to some music the teacher was singing in a baby music class. The other mothers started calling me “Mozart” and it just stuck.
–Who are your biggest inspirations?
–Musically, I’d say Adele and Ed Sheeran, but also flamenco music and Chinese pop, as well as many of my parents’ favourites like The Beatles, James Brown, Van Morrison, Ella Fitzgerald and Simon & Garfunkel. I think I have been very lucky and blessed to have very supportive parents. They’ve always followed my lead and encouraged my passions.
–What can we expect to hear from you in these shows in Spain?
–I will be playing some popular cover songs in English and Spanish as well as some of my original songs like Fade Away and Round The World.
–What does the future hold? Will you continue to travel? How do you see your career progressing?
–I think I will always travel, but for now I am based in Los Angeles. I am supposed to start filming a lead in a TV series in the fall, so we’ll see where that goes. I am also working on a documentary about my travel life. I’ll continue to perform and write music and I am working with the dean of music at UCLA on my first album. I also enjoy sharing my experiences with others, so I want to do more of that. My big goal is to combine big tours with my music as well as acting in film and TV and just enjoying it all.