Mozart Gabriel (Taos Pueblo/Diné) released a new album entitled “Eager Within the Fire” on Nov. 26.
The seven track pop punk and rock ’n roll album draws from Gabriel’s influences growing up such as Radiohead, Third Eye Blind and the Goo Goo Dolls. He said that most of the songs on the album were developed playing live on stage in Barcelona, Spain where he resided for almost three years. The album's title came from the "fire" he had inside to keep going back on the stage and how he was "eager" for more.
In Barcelona, he studied stop motion animation and used his talents to incorporate stop motion elements in the music video of the song, “Across Seas” from the album. However, he said he found himself drawn more and more to music and away from animation and filmmaking. He would perform onstage with his bandmates with diverse backgrounds (the lead guitarist Liam the Cloud is Maori/Filipino, the drummer Danny “The Indie” is Venezuelan, the bass player Luis Couche is Bolivian, and Isel, the back/up vocalist, is Catalan) “every single night for two years.” Gabriel said that making the album was therapeutic.
“I did it as therapy to deal with... trying to find identity. And they pushed me to record and want to record the album,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel said while he was creating the album he started to realize that elements of traditional Native songs can be found in rock ’n roll. For instance, he made the comparison of high pitched singing in powwow songs to Steven Tyler screaming “Dream On.”
He said that these elements of Native music have “lived throughout all of the death and control that... survived through everything that it's been through in the United States. There's been so much that has happened in the songs that still live throughout and snuck its way in all music today.”
Gabriel wanted to release the album during Native American Heritage Month, but was told by his manager that audiences don’t tend to listen to new music during the holidays. Thus, Gabriel and his band mates recorded the Christmas single, “Time To Go Uncle Jawn” over a weekend.
“Time to Go Uncle Jawn” harkens back to a childhood memory from Gabriel, when he was opening up presents late one night and a man his family referred to as “Uncle” came through the door asking, “Where’s the party?” Gabriel said that he wrote for the Pueblos to enjoy and sing along too.
“I thought I would just tell a story about Uncle Jawn, because he gave me a really happy memory for Christmas,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel has also recently been using the video focused social media platform TikTok to promote his music and his culture.
“I got so much to be thankful for tick tock over the moon grateful for it. If I had... any message if you're Native, go on TikTok and start a channel and just talk about the things you're proud of. Because the rest of the world is excited to get to know you,” said Gabriel.
His profile @mozartgabrielofficial has amassed over 96,000 followers and garnered more than 792,000 likes on his videos.
Gabriel said he was posting three times a day on TikTok and then would play music for two hours in the morning and two hours at night for months on end.
“I just want to be able to make content that is 100 percent me. And I was very surprised that I got that many followers without having to follow a trend. And I've just got to be myself. And that was very worrying. And I really owe all of those followers to really cared for me,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel said he’s currently working on booking tour dates in the U.S. starting in February. His album and single are available on all streaming platforms and more information can be found on his website mozartgabriel.com.