Updated: Saturday, 20th April 2019 @ 3:28pm

‘Father figure’: Songstress Moya talks of love for Simply Red star Mick Hucknall ahead of Manchester support slot

‘Father figure’: Songstress Moya talks of love for Simply Red star Mick Hucknall ahead of Manchester support slot

By Reece Lawrence

Moya does not come across as your run-of-the-mill recording artist – rather a down-to-earth girl who is enjoying where life is taking her ahead of a foray into Manchester.

The 22-year-old is currently supporting Mick Hucknall of Simply Red fame, and will rock up in the flame-haired singer’s home city tomorrow for the latest leg of his tour.

Her debut album, Lost and Found, was released last year, while her upcoming single, A Little More Love, has racked up over 500,000 views on YouTube.

Talking to MM, the young woman from Dorset with a soulful sound revealed how Mick’s advice has helped her adjust to life in the spotlight.

“He’s lovely, he’s a really genuine bloke and I reckon I could see him as a little bit of a father figure on tour,” she said.

“It’s nice to be touring with someone that actually appreciates you as a person and as an artist as well, because you can support some people and they really are just up themselves but I’ve been really lucky with the people I’ve supported.”

She told of her mother Di’s disbelief when she found out she was supporting the musical legend – as a child Moya would dance around her living room to his greatest hits.

“I feel like Simply Red is a little bit in my blood considering how much I used to listen to it,” she said. “He’s pulling out Simply Red tunes on tour and it’s amazing. He’s just cracking.”

“He’s such a professional – he’s done this a hundred times before – but it’s lovely to get some tips on the way he interacts with the crowd. I feel like it could be a really good learning experience.”

She last toured with Andy Burrows, of Razorlight fame, which brought her to Manchester for the first time, and she admitted the city is her favourite place to perform in.

“Manchester and Leeds were my two favourite places, definitely,” she said. “I just really liked the shopping – the vintage stuff is incredible.

“We played in the Ruby Lounge, right by that vintage-y quarter, and I bought a serious good-looking cardigan and a pair of trousers so I was quite happy.”

While her musical tastes range from Stevie Wonder to Ella Fitzgerald, which she saw as her staple diet of sound growing up, Moya confessed her general musical knowledge of the city was not great.

“I don’t really know many Manchester bands, but it’s nice to know each individual city has got its own sound and I find that quite interesting. You go to different places and you get a whole load of different stuff that you’ve never heard before.”

Having lived in Brighton recently, she is aware each area has an individual musical style, and has enjoyed touring around because of the broad taste of music offered throughout the country.

Her exposure has earned her praise from some of the biggest names in showbiz, including presenter Fearne Cotton and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

However, while she is pleased with the compliments she said the personalities tipping her for a big future were a bit mad.

She added: “I want to take it as it comes, day by day, and anything positive anyone says is a complete bonus. I’m just really happy to be here – I don’t want to count my chickens too much.”

Her birth name, Emily Andrews, was not for her in a professional sense, but she discussed how her stage name, Moya, had a poignant family connection – it was the name of her aunt, who sadly died young from muscular dystrophy.

Her grandfather, a former BBC broadcaster, set up a tribute book to his daughter after her death.

“Really famous people, like concert pianists, would come to write in this book and would write a bar of music and note to her,” she said.

“I found it a couple of years ago and it was such a great homage, not only to music but to family. It’s a beautiful name as well. My mum’s maiden name is Moy, so from all angles it fits really well.”

As an artist who contributes to her own material, she is critical of today’s ‘commercial shit’, and rejected the notion of becoming a ‘commercial pop princess.’

She added: “It’s just not me at all. I like to make music that has some sort of integrity but also is very easy to listen to and is memorable. I don’t know how people can sing songs that they don’t write or how you can have an emotional attachment to something you haven’t written.

“All my songs have something based in them that make me feel something or something I’ve experienced. It’s like that for a reason, so I can perform them to my best ability and people can understand it.”

As with all successful acts, a crucial ingredient is having a good team around, which certainly seems to be the case with Moya.

“My manager, Martin, is pretty incredible,” she explained. “He’s stuck his neck out for me a few times so I feel I need to do good for him.

“My mum is my biggest critic and she will tell me if I’m shit and I will take it because I know she’s only trying to help me. She is the key to life at the moment, and the one who’s getting me through the tour.

“When I have my family or friends there it makes me feel 100% better because I know there are people in the crowd that actually like what I’m doing.”

Moya’s roller-coaster year doesn’t end with Mick Hucknall. If anything, she will be moving onwards and upwards when she supports Rod Stewart in the summer – something she can’t quite fathom.

She said: “How did that happen? I’m probably going to shit myself. That is a big tour – it’s going to be crazy and thinking about it actually makes me feel a bit sick.”

Moya will be supporting Mick Hucknall at the Manchester Apollo on Saturday April 13.

Image and video courtesy of MoyaVevo.

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