ZØYA is a very talented Columbus based Pop singer-songwriter whose newly released 5-song EP "Veracious Heart" was just reviewed by our contributor Peneliope Richards; go to our Features page to check it out. We connected with ZØYA to discuss her new EP, the positive message of her music, her musical influences, and her goals for the remainder of 2017.
After reading our exclusive Q&A with ZØYA, be sure to stream/download "Veracious Heart" and follow her on her social media streams.
You have a very beautiful voice; when did you discover that you could sing and when did you write your first song?
Thank you! I discovered that I can sort of sing when I was 11 years old. One day, my parents asked me to sing a song at one of our local church services. I had to sing an acapella in front of 500+ people for the first time. As a result, the audience enjoyed it, and I received a lot of positive feedback from professional musicians as well as music coaches and they encouraged me to keep up at singing. I wrote my first ballad when I was 13 years old. I was just playing around, improvising on my old-school piano at home and then an interesting melody came up to me and eventually I wrote the lyrics to it. I’m classically trained on piano, so I remember I had to write down the notes of my very first melody to the music sheet so that way I could remember how to play it again.
Your music has a very positive and hopeful message. As opposed to writing songs about drugs, sex and partying as many Pop artists do, why did you decide to create empowering and faith-filled music?
Because I want to talk and sing about raw, and real things in my songs. I want to share my story with everyone. I've had my heart broken many times; I was emotionally abused, mentally bullied and socially rejected in the past. I struggled with self-denial, severe anxiety and depression. Even though I'm still struggling with it sometimes, there's always one thing that gives me a purpose, hope and strength in life - my faith and personal relationship with God. There's something a lot more deeper and meaningful about music in general. I believe that through music we can heal and empower everyone. Nowadays, I feel that most of the mainstream pop music is relatively shallow in terms of the lyrical context; it's lacking an authentic message and real meaning. It is franchised and it just exists for the most of the time. Therefore, I want my listeners to know that my music is all about the message of hope and love. If they're struggling at the moment, I'd like to remind them that they are not alone and that they are loved.
Who are some of your musical influences? How do you stand out from them and your contemporaries in Pop music?
Sia, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Sara Bareilles, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. I sing and play what I feel. I am open minded to different music styles and I'd like my music to be very eclectic in terms of genre. I love mixing soul, jazz, folk, rock and alternative pop together very often and adding some elements of oldies. I can assure you that my next release will be different in terms of sound style as opposed to this EP.
What are you most proud of with your new "Veracious Heart" EP? Do you have a favorite song on it?
The fact that it is my debut original EP that I’ve released independently, wrote all songs and co-produced them for the first time. I’ve also had the opportunity to record it with an amazing music team in a very warm and welcoming setting at the Red Oak Studios which is owned by the Grammy nominated and multi-platinum mix engineer Mark Needham, who produced and mixed for Imagine Dragons, the Killers, Shakira and more.
I Still Believe is probably one of my favorites on the record because it excites me the most out of all songs. It is considered as the lead single in the EP that is the theme to my new self-empowerment online campaign #IStillBelieve that allows everyone to participate by sharing stories of struggles or victories and in return to receive encouragement, love and strength. Also, I really enjoyed recording the vocals as well as work on production of I Still Believe.
What are your goals for the remainder of 2017 musically?
Play as many shows as possible, release my first music video for I Still Believe, and kick off the Veracious Heart tour sometime in May. Veracious Heart Tour schedule is to be determined soon, so stay tuned.