Genre: Rock > Folk-Rock > Activist Gospel Folk
Location: Oakland, Bay Area, CA
Available for: Solo & full band performances as well as empowerment workshops.
Fun Facts: Zo is also a community organizer, certified leadership coach, and faculty member at the Academy for Coaching Excellence.
A soulful combo of Michael Franti, Nahko, & Xavier Rudd, Zo Tobi delivers activist gospel folk with an uplifting message.
“Small Sweet Step,” his latest single with Grammy-winning producer, Jeff Bova, captures Zo’s sweet spot: The passion of gospel, the energy of rock, and the catchiness of pop. In-studio and onstage, Zo takes you on a rhythmic journey of lyrical depth, spiritual inquiry, and emotional catharsis.
Zo grew up in a middle-class, multicultural Israeli-American family in southern New Hampshire. He gained his work ethic and sense of social responsibility watching his father work long days as a house-painter to give his kids a better life than he had; and, he gained his environmental conscience seeing his mom lead a successful campaign to get citywide curbside recycling in their hometown.
Zo’s political and moral consciousness blossomed at age 16 during President George W. Bush’s disastrous first term, when his 80-year old mentor shook him out of his sense of cynicism by warning him: “When you’re my age, your grandkids will ask you what you did with your life.”
By college, he dove head-first into climate justice activism. After working 80 hours a week post-college as a grassroots organizer, he “burned out.” After a period of soul-searching, he returned to social change with a more spiritual lens and co-founded the youth leadership organization, Generation Waking Up. Then, with the help of mentors and wisdom teachers, he became a certified leadership coach, and began supporting other social change leaders to make their difference without burning themselves out.
Now, Zo writes, records, and performs, while working as a coach and course leader with the Academy for Coaching Excellence to spread wisdom teachings and success principles to leaders and changemakers across the planet.
Zo has played for audiences of a dozen to several thousand. A very partial list of past tour dates includes:
- American University – Washington, DC
- Arlington Street Church – Cambridge, MA
- Babson College – Babson Park, MA
- Bay Path College – Bay Path, MA
- Bioneers – San Rafael, CA
- Bioneers By the Bay – New Bedford, MA
- 350.org People’s Climate Rally @ Boston Opera House – Boston, MA
- Bridgewater State College – Bridgewater, MA
- Brown University – Providence, RI
- Clark University – Worcester, MA
- Colby-Sawyer College – New London, NH
- Connecticut College – New London, CT
- DemocracyFest – Bedford, NH
- Georgetown University – Washington, DC
- George Washington University – Washington, DC
- Greenpeace Activist Summit – VA
- The Launching Pad (Centers for Spiritual Living) – Berkeley, CA
- Power Shift 2007 – College Park, MD
- UU Congregation of Marin – San Rafael, CA
- Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden – Meriden, CT
- First Unitarian Church of Worcester – Worcester, MA
- University Of Vermont – Burlington, VT
- UC Davis – Davis, CA
- Wellesley College – Wellesley, MA
- Williams College – Williamstown, MA
Zo is available for full-band and solo acoustic performances & empowerment workshops for:
- Spiritual communities
- Schools & universities
- Conferences & retreats
- House concerts
- Opening acts & split bills
“Zo’s music is exciting, and his words ask questions that need to be asked.” – Ezra Veitch, 100.1 WOOL.fm
“His lyrics are those of an activist intertwining passion with conscience.” – Charlene Johnston, Democracyfest Coordinator
“Zo brings an infectious love of his craft to the stage… His versatility and finesse are inspiring.” – James O’Brien, Club Passim
For Spiritual Communities
Zo’s music is spreading throughout socially-progressive spiritual communities everywhere. Zo is available to offer your community the following:
Songs for Your Service
Augment your spiritual service with Zo’s musical anthems of community, spirit, and action.
Zo is available to speak on themes such as compassion, contribution, cosmology, forgiveness, gratitude, hope, humility, inclusion, integrity, love, partnership, purpose, reverence, and spiritual activism.
Bring your community together for a full-length concert that nourishes the soul and evokes the call to purposeful action.
As a Certified Professional Coach, Zo is available to deliver 2-hour to 4-day workshops on themes such as: Personal empowerment, life purpose, visionary leadership, and building a culture of inclusion and collaboration.