Genre: Alternative Folk-Rock / Socially Conscious Folk-Rock
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.
Positive as Michael Franti, epic as Dave Matthews Band, and infectious as Nahko & Medicine for the People, Zo Tobi delivers inspirational folk-rock that lifts the spirit and stirs us to action.
“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 being shared more and more in socially-progressive spiritual communities everywhere. Zo is available to offer your community the following (together or à la carte):
Songs for Your Service
Augment your spiritual service with Zo’s musical anthems of community, spirit, and action.
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 will empower your community to make the contribution they are here to make, through a dynamic, interactive workshop on leadership and empowerment skills.