MoZella drives Mercedes' new spot

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Joining the ranks of artists breaking into the music scene via advertising, MoZella, a singer and songwriter who signed with Maverick Records last summer, is getting just the kind of attention that new artists dream about, with the touching, soulful song "Amazed," seen in the Mercedes spot "Framed Portraits." While many labels would have paid for the kind of attention that the song receives-it stands out as a riveting emotional moment with a leisurely pace compared to other spots-the match was almost coincidental, a textbook case of knowing the right people.

Mercedes agency Merkley + Partners recognized that music would carry the spot, said agency producer Chris Landi. A montage of Mercedes owners' photographs with their cars, the spot evokes pride and history, from austere antique sepia-toned pictures to a modern woman with her car in the woods, concluding with the tagline, "the love never fades." Landi says that the agency spent two months considering every possible option, including licensed tracks and original compositions, enlisting the help of five music companies. During the editing process, Spine/L.A. editor Noah Herzog was helping to brainstorm, and remembered MoZella, a friend of about a year who he had seen perform about two weeks before. He had her demo on his iPod, and played a song to the spot. The lyrics were a little off-topic, but Herzog offered to put agency and artist in touch with each other.

MoZella, 22, who moved to L.A. from Detroit to get a record deal, remembers that she talked with agency creatives via conference call around 10:30 on a Wednesday morning and they asked for the song that night. "They said they wanted something heartfelt and kind of gritty, raw and emotional-how people would feel looking at pictures," she says. "So I sat down with my guitar and wrote a little song. Something about pictures will bring that out, evoke that kind of emotion, so I started thinking about my family and what I would sing to them."

The result is a simple guitar and vocal track, with lyrics that play around with the editing pace and invoke a kind of melancholy: "Your picture/is on my wall/it helps me remember you/and I recall/how I'm amazed/I still love you the same/yeah I'm amazed/ I still love you the same."

MoZella wrote a bridge and a second verse for "Amazed," which may appear on her album, which will be released later this summer. "All the rest of it is produced," she says of her jazzy, soulful catalogue, "so it will stand out there too as an acoustic track."

As if widespread acclaim for the song and the spot aren't enough, the collaboration has renewed Maverick's interest in MoZella's album. "They realized that a prestigious marketer like Mercedes would take a risk with a new artist," she says.

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