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In 1995, Moby released his first full-length techno album, Everything is Wrong, and the record quickly became both a commercial and critical success. He followed in 1996 with a punk rock album, Animal Rights, and in 1997 with I Like to Score, a collection of his music that has been featured in various films. Moby then achieved worldwide fame and success with his 1999 album, Play. The album sold over 9 million copies worldwide,
and featured the hit singles "Natural Blues" and "Porcelain." He followed Play with 18, another wildly successful album that sold over 4 million copies across the globe. Moby has since released three more albums, Hotel (2005), Last Night (2008) and Wait For Me (2009), on his own Little Idiot record label.
Alongside his music career, Moby has received widespread publicity for his religious faith and animal rights activism. He is very public about his deep Christian faith, something he says he discovered in the mid-1980s. "In about 1985 I read the teachings of Christ and was instantly struck by the idea that Christ was somehow divine," he remembers. "When I say I love Christ and love the teachings of Christ I mean that in the most simple and naive way. I'm not saying I'm right." Moby is also a dedicated vegan and animal rights activist—something he says has brought him considerable scorn in the entertainment industry. "I run into a lot of people who are instantly filled with ridicule at the idea that someone wouldn't eat meat," he said. Moby has expressed his views on religion and animal rights through essays included as inserts inside the cases for his CDs. He is also an active volunteer for organizations such as MoveOn and The Humane Society and an outspoken advocate of Tibetan independence.
Asked what he strives to achieve in his music, Moby answers that he wants to make music that not only entertains but performs a function. "Music can always serve a role in people's lives when it's emotional and warm and inviting and beautiful," he says. And while he does not fear the day when he is no longer a celebrity, Moby readily admits that he enjoys indulging in the spoils of fame. "I hope that when I find myself no longer a public figure, which could be in six months or two weeks or 10 years or whenever, I can give it up gracefully and not be bitter," he says. "But for now sometimes it's fun indulging in the pitfalls a little bit."
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When musicians land big fame, there typically comes a moment of reinvention in which the "rock star" identity is born. This new persona often requires a new name, a way to differentiate between the private and public versions of themselves. Musical monikers take different forms, from the simple, last-name changes aimed at boosting celebrity appeal—like Steven Tyler—to the glamorized version of a childhood nickname—like Jay-Z. Musicians' nicknames and aliases tend to take on an identity all their own over time, often becoming as full of personality as the artists they represent.
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