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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Pop Indie





In the three-minutes it takes to watch Mobley’s video for “Solo”, the Texas-based singer, songwriter and producer goes from nondescript nobody to superstar.

Featuring multiple costume changes (and impressive body rolls), the video documents both the rise of Mobley and the affects of stardom. It also echoes Mobley’s distinctly DIY ethic that’s been built from sneaking around his college’s music department late at night and cutting vocals in the woods behind his dorm.

As well as co-choreographing the video, Mobley a.k.a Anthony Watkins II, played every instrument on the catchy R&B-meets-dub-meets-electronica beat single.

Watch the video and read a brief chat we had with him.

Noisey: The video is intriguing, it seemed as though even if you want to be 'solo' you can't stop others from taking a piece of you.
Mobley: I’m hesitant to talk too much about my intentions, I think the meaning that people find and make for themselves is often so much more interesting. I’ll just say there are innumerable forces acting on us in modern life that can make us feel isolated. It seems that more people are experiencing some degree of loneliness most of the time. Also no one ever really does anything alone. Anything we ever accomplish is built from pieces left for us by other people, often at a cost.

Older women seem to have an affinity for you in the video.
That’s too funny. I genuinely hadn’t noticed. I’m going to dodge my love life and say that I think women, generally, and older people, generally, are undervalued in popular art. We were as careful as we could be about not putting up the barriers that usually confine them to certain kinds of roles in music videos.

Is there any significance of the "take pride in your work” sign?
Good eye. I’m all for people taking ownership of the things they work on, but “take pride in your work” too often just means “shut up and do what you’re told” and is rarely reciprocated with “take care of your workers". So that was a reference to the cliches you often see in offices that are really just calls to compliance. - Noise (Vice)

"Mobley’s One Man Band Generates the Energy of Ten"

The air surrounding Spider House Ballroom was hot and sticky the night I met Mobley. The venue had been celebrating their 20th anniversary since 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. Having suffered one rainstorm and expecting another, a muggy, sweaty crowd waited for the Austin native to perform. When I asked Mobley before the show which stage he was on, he answered, “The wettest one.”

His start time of 10 p.m. came and went. The crowd grew restless as Mobley, wearing a black hat, jacket and sunglasses in the ninety-degree evening, dragged mountains of gear onto the rain-slicked stage. A keyboard and sampler rack. Stage lighting. Guitars. Drums. Up on the roof of Spider House Café, a tech aimed a video projector at the screen set towards the back of the stage. All for a one-man band.

You heard right. One guy playing a solo show. All that gear.

Just as the audience began to grumble in response to fresh rainfall, Mobley hit a button and exploded into his first song, “Victoria.” It hit the crowd like a shockwave, shaking raindrops from the trees. One of Austin’s most interesting and talented artists, Mobley turns the smallest of the stages into an amphitheater of lights, textures and overwhelming sound.

Mobley All Alone Again, Solo

Artist Mobley Performing at Riders Against the Storm Day
Mobley rocking RAS Day at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard (Credit: Bill Tucker)
Mobley’s artistic leanings began at an early age. Learning violin when he was six and trumpet when he was 13, he had a solid foundation in music theory and structure. But like most artists looking to grow, he felt hemmed in by sheet music and needed to explore.

Fast forward a decade, and Mobley became an established artist touring with a full band. But band members began to fall by the wayside. On his last tour, Mobley was faced with a decision: play acoustic or try something new. Mobley opted for the latter, creating the one-man band featured on his latest EP, “Some Other Country.”

Big Sound From One-Man Show

Mobley Live Music Performance Austin
Mobley sings his heart out during his Spider House Ballroom performance
(Credit: John Cabuena/Flipintex Fotos)
What Mobley lacks in band members, he more than makes up for with his music. Watching him jump from keyboard to drums to guitar is exhilarating. While much of his music is dependent on sound loops and samples, his frenzied stage presence turns a laptop backing track into a genuine performance.

The songs themselves are soulful, grown up pop tunes crafted from a variety of different influences. Stand out tracks from the “Some Other Country” album include “Hound the World,” featuring a blend of thunderously ominous bass crunches and dreamy, layered vocals. “2:09 AM” pulses with the energy of an insistent, oft-rejected lover, while “Tell Me” layers bouncy soul/funk and a killer guitar solo into delightful ear candy.

Mobley’s latest single off the record is “Solo.” Undercut with a thick, chunky bass line and tight percussion, the song is an infectious head-bobber. The vocals echo and bounce and, like most of the record, expand into a tight, mesmerizing soundscape.

True Austin Performer

Mobley Live Performance at Kenny Dorham's Backyard
Mobley plays one of his many instruments during RAS Day at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard (Credit: Bill Tucker)
To truly “get” what makes Mobley tick, you need to see him live. Mixing theatrical lighting, film shorts and his kinetic energy, he makes small stages and clubs feel twice as big.

Even from the songwriting phase, it’s all about the live performance. “From the inception of the songs now, I’m thinking of them in terms of not just the music, but the visual component as well,” Mobley shared. “Lights, video, etc. It’s just a natural part of songwriting for me.”

The proof is in the product. When witnessed live, songs like “Solo” and yet to be released “Torch” grow from tightly-wound electronic pop songs to sonic avalanches. The punch of live kick drums and screaming guitar lends an urgency to the music that’s impossible to ignore.

Only One Mobley

Mobley Austin Musician
Mobley is an artist worth waiting in the rain to see (Credit: John Cabuena/Flipintex Fotos)
On that sweltering evening in the middle of damp August, many bands played sets. They were honorable, impassioned performances, as artists did the best they could considering what the weather gave them. But Mobley? He put on a show.

Whenever the crowd’s energy waned, he fanned it back to life with shouts. The audience smacked a tom-tom along to jungle-inspired “Seven Summers.” And during “Swoon,” Mobley savagely played the drum kit as a video of his face underwater mouthed the lyrics.

“Especially in terms of the live show, it’s important that people feel inspired in some way. I’m not particularly interested in being avant-garde in any way. I like and write pop music. But I’m interested in finding my own niche and wrinkle in it, whether people like it or not.”

As Mobley’s Spider House set closed and a rare, sweet breeze trickled in from the east, there wasn’t a sad face to be found. Covered in confetti, sweat and renewed energy, the audience kept driving and dancing to Mobley’s final drum beat. The heavy humidity and fog of the day wasn’t enough to stamp out his electric performance. An artist of vision, energy and passion, Mobley owns a finely-tuned mix of percussion and theatrics, samples and soul. - Austinot


'Swoon' is a particularly listenable and super-infectious single from Austin, TX alternative artist Mobley. Contrary to its pleasant sound, 'Swoon' isn't so much a love song as it is an introspective look inside the black American experience, black resilience and hopefulness. 'Swoon' is a defiant proclamation that regardless of oppressive circumstances, "You're never gonna get my heart." - Afropunk

"Mobley at KUTX Studio 1A"

Mobley brings a needed infusion of modern R&B to Austin’s music scene. The past few years has witnessed an unexpected return of R&B both in and out of music worlds generally associated with the genre. Musicians from other cities have been experimenting with it for a while now like Los Angeles’s Thundercat and the Internet, and London’s FKA Twigs and Blood Orange. We also saw the return of Soulquarian D’Angelo with his masterpiece Black Messiah back in 2014. Nonetheless, Mobley is far from late to the party, he’s been sculpting his sound for years now, sneaking into his college’s music department to teach himself to play new instruments, composing for stage and television, and touring with groups like Mutemath and Wavves.

Playing with a genre with such a rich history its tempting to reach into the jar of past grooves, but regardless, Mobley has his eyes set far in the future. Behind a voice like electrified butter, the multi-instrumentalist creates cybernetic soul soundscapes with live percussion, electric pianos and guitar–oscillating between earthbound love songs and high-voltage electro body movers. Nothing is off limits for the Austin-based musician. In the same song he can sing about unrequited love among laser guided synthesizer lines and swinging live percussion, and smoothly insert a minimal trap beat into the mix halfway through the track.

Mobley takes inspiration from a lot disparate places, musical or otherwise (he wears a shirt featuring James Baldwin on his press photograph). Furthermore, listening to his meticulous productions, it’s clear he’s a perfectionist. It’s even more apparent from the fact he’s recorded and scrapped two whole albums in pursuit of what will become his full length debut. Thankfully he’s just released a new EP titled Some Other Country, and hinted during his Studio 1A session that a full length is coming–hopefully soon!

Mobley was joined by Alfredo Rios on drums in his Studio 1A performance, check out the session at the bottom of the page. He begins a national tour this summer, experience one of his amazing live performances at Uncle Billy’s in on Sunday, May 15th. Until then, check out his Studio 1A performance at the bottom of the page. - KUTX


Still working on that hot first release.



Cutting vocals in the woods behind his college dorm. Mixing in the backseat of a sedan. Sneaking into the music department after hours to teach himself to play new instruments (and sneaking out before the faculty arrived in the morning). From the start, Mobley’s work has been marked by solitude, ingenuity, and a drive that could only be called obsessive. Whether you experience his music on record or at one of his live shows (on stage, he’s electric), the passion is palpable.

Mobley (singer/songwriter/producer Anthony Watkins II) grew up all over the world, from the Spanish Mediterranean to the California coast. Perhaps it’s because of this itinerant childhood that he finds it so hard to sit still. Over the last few years, he’s composed dozens of pieces for stage and television, played 150+ national tour dates (with the likes of JUNGLE, Mutemath, & Wavves and at festivals like Savannah Stopover and Float Fest), and recorded (then scrapped) two whole albums in pursuit of the songs that would become his forthcoming full-length debut, Fresh Lies.

The album, on which Mobley plays every instrument, defies easy classification, drawing liberally (often simultaneously) from indie rock, R&B, and pop sensibilities. He’s equally at home on a playlist next to The Weeknd and TV on the Radio alike, while his electronic, dub-dabbling production style calls to mind the intricate work of artists like James Blake and Thom Yorke.

Band Members