Written by Samuel Phineas Upham
Richard Melville Hall, the man who would become Moby, was born on September 11, 1965. He grew up in Harlem, New York. His parents gave him the nick name “Moby” after Herman Melville’s whale of the same name, believing that his small stature did not fit the regal name given to him at birth.
Moby’s parents had a troubled relationship, and his father died in 1967. It is speculated that the alcohol-related car accident that caused his death might have been a suicide. Moby’s mother became a single parent at age 23, and the small family was forced to move in with her parents to make ends meet while she finished her college degree.
Moby spent most of his childhood by himself, exploring his grandmother’s overgrown gardens and old home. He was never at a loss for creative things to do each day. His mother may be the source of his musical prowess. She was an avid music collector and played Moby many records when he was little. He began playing music at the age of 9, and formed a band in high school.
He did one year of college before dropping out to pursue music full-time. He spent days as a record store clerk, playing in local bars and pubs trying get himself noticed. His first commercial success came not from his acoustic music, but from his work as a DJ.
When he released “Go” in 1990, he became one of the world’s most beloved sounds in electronic and dance music. Moby is also known for mixing up styles too. He injected punk into his album “Animal Rights,” and recently dabbled in new age with his latest record “Wait for Me.”