Singer/songwriter and world-class vocalist Moriah Formica is the living embodiment of the rock ‘n’ roll spirit. She skyrocketed to national recognition when she auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice” at 16 years old. She became one of the youngest competitors in the show’s history to turn all four judge’s chairs and the only NBC’s The Voice contestant to get all four chairs performing a rock-based song. Her performance of Heart’s “Crazy on You” garnered viral fame and lauded the 4’11” star as a “pint-sized powerhouse” by celebrity judge/Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine. Even pop icon Miley Cyrus gave her the stamp of approval when she referred to her as a “Rock Goddess”. Many in the industry have likened her to female rock legends Ann Wilson, Pat Benatar, and Amy Lee.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Moriah found herself at a creative crossroads. This period of soul searching led to the creation of PLUSH, an all-female rock band with a mission to bring rock back to the forefront of the music industry. Moriah leads the charge with her exceptional vocal range, while amazing drummer Brooke Colucci, fiery guitarist Bella Perron, and tenacious bassist Ashley Suppa round out the lineup. Their self-titled debut album, released in the Fall of 2021 via Pavement Music, ventures deep into the realms of the rock gods of days gone by while providing a new fresh spin on the sounds that have worked crowds into a frenzy for generations. Together, these immensely talented women serve as living proof that rock’ n’ roll is alive and well in 2022!
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught with Moriah Formica to get an inside look at the world of PLUSH and what they have in store for us in the months to come!
I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but my parents have always told me that it started when I was a baby. You know those little baby swings that rock back and forth and make you fall asleep? They would put me in there with headphones over my ears, and my mom would play “Guitar By The Sea” or “Flute By The Sea.” She said that was the only thing that would get me to fall asleep! That makes me wonder if I was a music lover from the time I was an infant! [laughs] Getting to where I can actually remember, I was so intrigued by the music that my dad would have on. My dad is a huge fan of the 80s, and he loves all the 80s hair bands! So, we always had Poison, Skid Row, and Bon Jovi CDs around. There were all sorts of bands. I really found myself gravitating toward the guitar players. I thought it was so cool that they could make such beautiful noise with their hands! Another thing that intrigued me was the fact that I could listen to a song’s lyrics, and it would totally reflect the way I was thinking or feeling. I couldn’t articulate that as a kid, but it was captivating. I feel like music was always in me, and it’s something I feel I have known forever!
Many people came to know you from your appearance on ‘The Voice’ and your work as a solo artist. However, your focus is now on PLUSH. Tell us a bit about the genesis of this fantastic band.
As you said, I was doing the solo thing for a little bit, and I had put some music out on my own. I had a band, we went around and had a lot of really cool experiences together. We got to play a lot of really cool gigs and met a lot of really cool people, but a part of me was not 100% happy. Something felt incomplete. As you get older, you realize some things about yourself, and you grow. I just felt that something didn’t feel right. At the same time, the guys in my band, as much as we love each other, everyone seemed to have something else in mind for their musical journey. Right as that was happening, the pandemic hit before we could even talk about it. I was like, “I don’t know, man. I don’t want to do the solo thing anymore. I can’t do it.” Then I came across Brooke Colucci‘s videos online. I was like, “There is no way!” Then I saw that she was just 16 years old and I was even more mind blown! I was like, “Get outta here!” [laughs] I just thought she was terrific, and then I found out that she didn’t live too far from me. I said, “We have to make this happen. We have to jam!” My dad got in touch with her through a mutual venue that we both had played up here. We got together, jammed, and it was terrific. We were like, “Screw it! Let’s just make a band!” The chemistry was instant, as both friends and musicians. It was perfect! Brooke said, “I have a friend who’s really good at bass, and I think you’d really like her.” That’s when she introduced me to Ashley Suppa. They had done the School of Rock program together a few years prior. The three of us got together to jam, and it was the same thing; the chemistry was instant and extraordinary. We felt like there was something really special between the three of us. By that time, management popped on board, and they put out a post seeking a guitar player. Lzzy Hale got a hold of that tweet, regramming or retweeting it, and that’s how Bella Perron came into the picture. Bella saw Lzzy’s post and, before too long, we were all together and jamming. It felt so right, ya know?
You mentioned looking for something you were missing as a solo artist. What have the other girls in PLUSH brought out in you in a creative sense?
That’s a great question! There is just something about working with other musicians that I love: perspective. You always hear things the way they sound in your head, but when other people offer their input, it allows you to see things in a whole new way. They have been so many times when I end up saying, “Holy crap! I never thought about it that way!”
Another thing that I really enjoy about PLUSH is that we are all girls. That was something I was missing in the solo thing. It was great, and I love the guys in my band, but there was definitely a different feeling being the only girl. Now, there is more of a sense of “We’re all in this together, and we’re 100% a team!” It’s a sisterhood!
It sounds like things happened very quickly once PLUSH formed. How difficult was it for you to find direction for your sound?
If I’m being completely honest, it was as difficult as I had anticipated it to be. But, like I was saying, the stars aligned perfectly, and everything fell into place. Sound-wise, everything was just so smooth. We played together and, very shortly after, we were like, “This is who we are! This is our sound, an old-school sound but with a hint of familiarity.” It just was what it was. Someone who really helped us develop that sound was Johnny K., who produced our album. His vision aligned perfectly with ours. He’s such a genius at structuring songs. It’s incredible! We would bring the songs to him, and he would give us his input. It was really a mix of all our ideas together, and that’s how we came to find our sound.
What did you learn about yourself as an artist through the process of bringing PLUSH’s debut album to life?
I learned a lot of things about myself! One of the biggest things that sticks out to me is learning to trust your producer. Something challenging for me was giving up these songs, which are pieces of you that come from such deep places as many songs do. There were some things that I was married to in certain songs. I was like, “Oh no, I love that part! That part makes the whole song!” [laughs] There were several of those situations. So, what I learned is that I have to trust the process and trust that the people you are working with have the best interest of the song in mind. It’s about what is best for the music, not what’s best for you! That’s one of the biggest things I learned. With that said, I also learned to be a much tighter player. You have no choice but to be tight on your parts when you’re recording in the studio because you’ve got to be right with the click.
What does the future have in store for you and the band, both short and long term?
We’re about to go on tour with SLASH featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators this week! It’s so exciting! We’re also playing Welcome To Rockville later this year, which I am really excited about because I’ve heard it’s a very cool crowd! As a band, we want to get more music out there and continue to grow our fanbase as much as we can. There has also been some talk about going over to Europe. I hope to make that happen within the year or early next year because that’s somewhere I have always wanted to go and experience. I heard European crowds are like no other! We’re looking to continue to grow as a band and our connection to the fans. Most importantly, we want to get out there and do what we love!
Where is the band regarding new music?
As far as new music, I am always writing. Whether it’s a chorus idea here or a verse idea there, I’m always trying to come up with new song ideas. I already have several songs that are already written with PLUSH in mind. So new music can definitely be expected. I’m not sure when we will be doing that because we are currently focusing on the tour aspect of things. With that said, there will most definitely be new music. I don’t know right now whether that’s a single or an album, but it’s in the works. We’re constantly looking for new ways to incorporate new sounds into our music. I like to incorporate pop-esque influences but remain within the rock world. For example, our song “Bring Me Down,” has some clear pop-ish melodies in the verses. That’s something I’d love to explore more with our newer music, but also have some really, really hardcore ones as well!
As an artist, your work continues to inspire so many people. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?
I love that question! One of the best lessons is that you need to follow your gut. I know it sounds cliche because everybody says that, but only because it’s true! I mean, I’ve never had situations where my gut was telling me something, and I went with it, and it was a negative situation. I’ve had many situations where I felt this strong feeling, but I went against it, and the result came out negatively. So I think people need to trust their gut. If you’re true to yourself, people are going to see that! As long as you believe in what you’re doing, your craft, and your music, then other people will too! Another thing I would say is to be humble and remember that it’s okay to hear and take constructive criticism because it helps you grow. Those are the two lessons that have gotten me this far!
Your authenticity is just one more thing to love about you, Moriah! Thanks so much for your time today, and I genuinely look forward to crossing paths with you again soon. Keep the good stuff coming!
Thank you so much, Jason. I appreciate your time!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.