By: Zachary Kolesar, In The Record Store staff writer.
While some local musicians dream of taking a music mecca to Los Angeles or New York City, funk-infused, soul-baring ensemble Mojoflo has no future plans on moving out of Columbus. From the saxophone stylings of Walter Kolhoff, George Barrie’s funky guitar and Amber Knicole’s bombastic pipes — the original three members — Columbus has received Mojoflo and current contributors Adam Bidwell (brass), bassist Will Strickler and drummer Nathan Parker with arms open wide.
One thing that cannot be taken on the road are the local and loyal fans, which is why Mojoflo is perfectly content with calling Columbus its home for now.
Knicole recalled many women greeting her post-performance, letting her know how brave she is, singing and swinging suspended in air, per In The Record Store. Even former Columbus mayor Michael Coleman has displayed his fandom.
“What keeps me going really, it sounds cliché and it always sounds cliché when people say it, but it is the fans,” Knicole said during the podcast. “It’s the interaction with people…you have a relationship with the people that come out there to see you.”
Mojoflo’s 2014 EP, “Right On! (Back Around),” encompasses what it means to play meaningful live music, capturing the essence of 60s-70s’ soul but with a modern take. Despite having online access to the band’s catalog, the full Mojoflo experience is most enjoyable in person.
To put on a captivating, vivacious and authentic, the group draws from a wide variety of inspirations. During the podcast, Knicole noted that watching the aerial acrobatics of Pink inspired her to add more ammo to the already diverse arsenal provided by her compelling vocals.
Following the podcast, I picked Knicole’s brain on her favorite live performances she's seen and how those three shows helped shape the energy of Mojoflo concerts for an incredible fan experience.
The Backstreet Boys – Into The Millennium Tour
At 11 or 12-years-old, Knicole traveled from her home in Boston to New York City to see some of the most successful male pop stars melt hearts before the turn of the century. Just like it happened the other day, Knicole could describe one of her first shows in vivid detail.
From the group gracing the stage on hover boards to swearing that Brian Littrell blew her a kiss, the stage design for the tour, equipped with a 360-degree stage, was ahead of its time. The apparent camaraderie of the Backstreet Boys also inspired Knicole to want to be a part of something that special.
“I crave being on a team,” Knicole said. “I love the sense of everybody being a part of something.”
Broadway – Rent: Knicole mentioned that she has a passion for theater, which is apparent when watching Mojoflo in the flesh. The band consistently puts on a show stimulating to both the eyes and ears, much like a Broadway production. Although the type of music portrayed in Rent does not fit perfectly in Mojoflo’s lane, Knicole credited Broadway
“All of us are super influenced by an array of different artists and musicians, and I think it shows us who we all are,” Knicole said.
Beyoncé – The Formation World Tour: It would be remiss not to mention Beyoncé in a post detailing some of the most creative and audacious performers of today. Luckily for Knicole, she caught Queen Bey’s set in America’s music city, Nashville.
On top of her pipes, Beyoncé is one of the most influential dancers alive today, pushing artists to not just be one-dimensional. The same goes for Knicole, who dedicated time to learn how to fly á la Pink. Just like the women who share their gratitude toward Knicole post concerts, Beyoncé has been inspiring females to push boundaries.
With how many people Knicole and Mojoflo have touched in Columbus, the band is in no hurry to skip town. “If I can do this for my life, that would be the best thing ever,” Knicole said.