UNCW student celebrates second album release


Valerie Keys, Contributing Writer

With his infectious personality, dad-like aurora and natural ability to lead, there is no denying that there is something special about MoeSOS. Born as Maurice “Moe” Holmes, ‘SOS’ is a fifth year senior here at UNCW, majoring in finance and minoring in political science. The D.C. native is a hurdling track-lete by day, RA by night and arguably one of the most involved Seahawks on campus. Between campus ministry, Speechawks, Black Student Union, RA Duty, track practice and band rehearsal, one would only assume that SOS never sleeps.

Prior to the release of his sophomore album, which is far from sophomoric, Moe and I had the chance to sit and talk about the concept behind “Silhouettes on Sunsets.” When asked how this project came about, SOS replied with two words: divine intervention. He went into detail to describe to me how everything fell into place perfectly and as a devout Christian the only logical explanation was God.

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, religion has always played a large role in SOS’s life. Church was the place where he was introduced to God and to live music. After releasing his first album, “S.O.S,” and doing shows from Wilmington to D.C., he started to feel restricted. The spontaneity of live music had always been intriguing to him, and after meeting guitarist Keith Williams at Dub Idol, the two decided to start a band. Together, MoeSOS (vocals), Keith Williams (guitar), Will Walter (drummer), Jack Warfield (bass) and Brandon Bales (guitar) are the band, MoeSOSDC.

Following the album’s release on September 1, the band MoeSOSDC performed “Silhouettes on Sunsets” in its entirety live at Gravity Records in downtown Wilmington. The crowd was full of UNCW students, affiliates, staff, local artists and music lovers alike. Opening acts consisted of the dub’s very own Grey Oakes, U.N.I.T.Y and 24Moodz. Unlike the majority of the crowd, I wanted my first listen to be live.

While I knew I would not have been the only one who had yet to hear S.O.S, it was incredible to see that the majority of the crowd knew almost every word to every song. This was astounding considering the album had only been out for 28 hours. Overall, the performance was overwhelming. SOS’s presence on stage and chemistry with the band provided an energetic experience for everyone in the building.

Now, let’s get to the album. His rhythmic flow, appreciation for double entendres and knack for storytelling frames the album’s sunset theme perfectly. In the first track, “Remember,” SOS makes references to Helen of Troy, Lilo and Stitch and his namesake, the prophet Moses. These three anecdotes in particular all coincide with the desire to love and be loved. The origins of his alias, MoeSOS, come from his inclination to stay grounded. In the chorus, the featured artist Chase Johanson sings, “One thing I ain’t is a pretender/My memories just turn to gray.” SOS is analyzing the difficulties in losing yourself in life and in relationships. In the interview he gave me a brief history on Moses in the Bible and MoeSOS at UNCW.

“There are so many things [vices] that are associated with the music business, especially rap,” he says. “I wanted to have a name that stood for something– that keeps me rooted. Moses was a pivotal leader in that time. He was one of God’s chosen people. So I had taken that name [Moses] and I spiced it up with S.O.S, someone save me. That always registered in my head as, who needs a voice? Who needs help?”

When asked to describe the concept of the album, SOS speaks to the sunset concept in the title.

“The most profound point you see your shadow is when the sun is at its lowest point,” he says. “And what is your shadow? It’s the outline of who you are. So when the sunsets and your shadow is gone, who are you?”

He describes the first four songs as being the initial pain and heartache that take place following the end of a romantic relationship. With the last six songs signifying the beginning of the healing process, the tracklist is very reminiscent of a sunset. At the height of the sunset, it can be overwhelming and hard to understand. As the sun sets you start to appreciate the beauty of what you have had the pleasure to be a part of. Essentially sunsets, like relationships, are nostalgic experiences where the impact is heaviest at the end.

While he does not have ‘Migos level adlibs,’ the words ‘silhouettes’ and ‘sunsets’ make an appearance on each track. One song in particular, “Sunny California,” begs the question, “who will be around when the sun rises?” The jazz-like beat and SOS’s calm but focused flow allows for the listeners to visualize themselves sitting on the sandy beaches in Malibu whilst making life decisions. His flow and cadence change based on the mood of the track.

The song that received the biggest crowd reaction was one of SOS’s lead singles, “Chirpin’.” This track stands out due to its hype beat, aggressive flow and targeted subject matter. Featured on this track is another D.C. native, Shah Infinite. Shah has collaborated with SOS on several projects in the past including “Phone Line,” “PYT,” “Westside Nights” and “Moe’s Song.”

Overall, “Silhouettes on Sunsets” is great album. Its relatability, timeliness, melodic appeal and musical range attract people of all audiences. SOS’s storytelling style is reminiscent of artists like Lupe Fiasco, Childish Gambino and Bas, thus making his second studio album a must listen.

“Silhouettes on Sunsets” is available on all streaming platforms. Follow the band on Instagram @MoeSOSDCLive for more information regarding bookings, performances and merchandise.