Kanika Moore found her footing in music during her final project in a college theater class. “I took a theater class after one of my electives for surgical technology was not available; makes perfect sense, right?” jokes Moore. Her assignment was to write a short musical that she would sing herself. “I caught the eye of a musician and soon to be great friend, Mario McClean,” says Moore. After that, she began crafting her own original music, performing at venues, and branching out to work with other groups, becoming a full-time musician. “Not only have I always wanted to be a musician, but the road has always led me this way.”

That same path took her to electro band Doom Flamingo and tribute band Motown Throwdown as well, two groups that she has found a home with. “With everything else I do, it involves different styles and genres so it’s hard to pinpoint my musical direction overall,” says Moore. Where Doom Flamingo is categorized as ’80s synthwave, Motown Throwdown is all about soul. With all of the different genres and influences that have shaped Moore, there has always been one thing about music that has stood out to her the most. “Most of all, I love the different ways music makes me feel,” says Moore.

Soul music has always been defined by its wide range of emotions. It has the power to make people cry, laugh, dance, and relax, all in a single song. Not only does Moore enjoy the way music makes her feel, but she wants the crowd to be moved as well. “I love to swing the mood, changing harmonies, and creating new ways to deliver a song vocally,” says Moore. “I love to tell a story and it either pulls tears or moves the feet of strangers.”

Moore has captured the moving rhythms of soul music and intertwined them with her own unique voice. “It was clear that there was something in my voice that is original and without effort,” says Moore. Her original tone and seamless effort is almost impossible to ignore, and this is quite possibly the reason she was named the City Paper‘s Soul/R&B Act of the Year. “Those little things that make your voice unique and strong, don’t lose that,” says Moore. “It may not reach everyone and that’s OK — just enjoy the music.” — Abrie Richison