Putting The Car Before The Horse

Thanks to a desperate creative team at Merkley + Partners, MoZella, an unknown singer-songwriter with no album out yet, will be introduced to millions this week.

Acd/copywriter Chris Landi and art director Philip Squier were sifting through hundreds of songs, trying to find one with the right emotional heft for a Mercedes spot that shows old photos of people and their cars. Noah Herzog of editing house Spine thought the songs of MoZella, whom he had met at a party, might work. When he played the creatives a track, they were intrigued.

“We thought, ‘Gee, that’s interesting, but we wish it could be more appropriate in terms of the lyrics,’ ” recalls Landi. Herzog called MoZella at home and sent her the rough cuts. By that night, she had written a song. “It was extremely emotional, heartfelt. It was not a jingle,” Landi says.

MoZella, 22, says she was inspired by the photos. “Pictures always bring up emotions in every person,” she says. “I came to a point in writing the song where I had to turn off the spot and think of my father and what I would sing to him if I could.”

MoZella will release her debut album—which may include a full-length version of the Mercedes song—this summer on Madonna’s Maverick Records. She has no compunction about selling out this early on. “As a new artist in this crazy music industry, one needs all the exposure they can get,” she says. “I think Mercedes is a pretty swank company to do work for.”