By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park –A 15 year old Latham girl is releasing her first EP this month before playing at Clifton Commons with her band July 31.
The popular video game Guitar Hero was instrumental in young Moriah Formica’s road to the stage. Her father Joshua Formica said she played a lot of Motley Crue and Cheap Trick songs on Guitar Hero and “mastered it in a couple of months.” Then one day she asked, “Can you get me a real guitar?”
The young Latham girl’s career and love of music evolved from that moment.
“My dad raised me on eighties metal and hair bands,” she said. Formica recalled watching the bands featured on VH1’s “Totally 80s” show and thinking they looked cool. The first band she took on was Aerosmith. She started with “Dream On” which she said is “probably everyone’s first Aerosmith song. She saw the band live in Atlantic City in 2010.
Her more contemporary inspirations include Halestorm and Evanescence. “I like everything from Korn to Beyonce. I saw Demi Lovato two nights ago. My hearts with metal, though,” she said.
Formica took guitar lessons for a week or two before realizing they weren’t up to her speed. “I don’t want to learn where to put my fingers. I just want to do it myself and that’s what I did,” she said.
It wasn’t until years later, while singing karaoke at her cousin’s graduation party, that she discovered the power of her own voice.
Adele’s hit Rolling in the Deep caught her eye, though it isn’t her typical style of music, and she began singing. Slowly, partygoers began filing back into the room to see who was singing. “I thought it was the radio,” said Joshua Formica.
She began taking vocal lessons at Modern Day Music in Clifton Park from Leslie O’Donnell around age 10. With the help of Modern Day Music’s owner Paul Benedetti helped Formica form her own band. “He heard that I had originals and liked what he heard,” said Formica. She said Benedetti wanted to start recording but wanted to find professional musicians first. Benedetti reached out to musicians who agreed to work with Formica. “It gave them a reason to play again,” she said.
Lately, she and her band have been doing a lot of acoustic shows — at least once every month. “I’m booked this whole month of July,” she said. She’ll be playing at the Clifton Commons July 31 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
If she could tour with anyone, Formica said she would choose In This Moment, Halestorm and The Butcher Babies.
“I hope to play big venues one day,” she said. “But my ultimate goal is to touch people and help people with my music. That’s what God put me on this Earth to do,” she added.
Formica has been working on recording her first EP called “Bring it on” with her band for the last two years. She wrote most of the material on her own between fifth and eighth grade. Hard copies of Formica’s debut EP were released July 22, though it was available online on iTunes and Spotify earlier.
While she is celebrating her first debut EP, Formica is already hard at work writing new songs.
“There are still things I struggle with,” said Formica. “I’m used to belting and using my chest-voice,” she said. She’s working on what she calls her “head voice” which she says is more melodic.
When she first started voice lessons Formica’s biggest challenge was realizing her voice was an instrument, much like her guitar. “You don’t walk into a voice lesson thinking you have to protect your instrument, hydrate, use your diaphragm…” she said.
Formica is so committed and professional about her art, it’s easy to forget she’s still in high school. When it comes to balancing grades and performances, Formica laughed “I don’t. I’m just kidding. It’s hard. Really hard but I’m not gonna say I can’t do this. I’m not going to use it [music] as an excuse.” She continued, “It’s a tough life. If you want to do what you want to do, you just have to find a way.”
Formica said she has known this is what she was meant to do since a young age. “It’s an instinct not a dream of some kid who wants to be a rockstar,” she said.