Mokita’s new single “Down” is a hopeful reminder to those who are facing challenges. The artist is known for opening up about his mental health struggles and for incorporating them into songs to spread awareness.
Mokita, also known as John-Luke Carter, has garnered massive success in his career. He released his debut EP “4201” in 2019, accumulated more than 200 million streams across his releases and received 2.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. Moreover, Mokita produced remixes for Maggie Rogers, G-Eazy and Daya and has co-written songs for Zac Brown Band, Loote, Ella Vos and Stephen Puth.
The North Carolina native’s father was a pastor, so he grew up singing in the choir. At six years old, he started taking piano lessons. He said that since his dad plays guitar and his mom plays piano and sings, he was always surrounded by music.
“Things really started for me when I picked up the guitar at age 12 and started creating my own melodies and songs. Once I started creating original content I don’t remember ever having another dream outside of music,” Mokita said.
A typical day for the singer starts off with a cup of coffee and a book. He mentioned that he always has a few books to read because it gets his mind working early.
“There’s been a lot of books that have inspired songs,” Mokita said. “Afterward, I either have a session with another writer or, if I have an open day without a writing session, I typically try to start something I vibe with and just try to create.”
Mokita does not usually follow a certain formula when he writes a song. He confessed that he has a tendency to overcomplicate things, so the main thing he always tries to do is to ask the question “Does this make sense?”
“I’m also always trying to match what sounds the best phonetically with what has the most lyrical impact. It’s wild how difficult it is to say something powerful in a straightforward way,” he explained.
The artist mentioned that this year has obviously been a weird and tough year for many people. He has battled with depression for most of his adult life and has a lot of friends that have as well.
“I’ve written songs about being in the middle of that pain, but I wanted to write something to offer hope,” Mokita said. “When I’m going through hard seasons, I know I need people around me to encourage me. I also know I need to be there for those same people that are here for me.”
The artist wants people to have hope in life and to not feel alone after hearing “Down” for the first time.
“It’s so easy to feel like you’re going through something all alone, and I hope this song encourages people to invest more in their friendships and relationships. You never know who’s hurting,” Mokita said.
He said that people currently live in a culture that’s connected through the internet. Mokita said the internet is great for communication and keeping up with people, but can also be incredibly toxic because everyone can easily edit their life to look like they’re happy and thriving.
“What we lack in this internet age is real actual vulnerability in our relationships. I hope this song encourages people to be open and real and honest with their struggles. Admitting your imperfection is incredibly relational,” Mokita said.
Mokita advises aspiring artists to ask themselves “why they’re doing what they’re doing,” which he constantly asks himself as well. He thinks it’s important to keep tabs on the motivation behind your work.
His advice for thriving in the music industry is to “Remember that feeling you got when you heard that song in high school that made you want to do music? Keep that feeling close. If you keep that feeling close, you’ll be able to get through the ups and downs of the industry.”
Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.