THE release of a new single is always exciting…
so I have been chatting with Zoey Lily about her track, Nothing. She tells me about its background and whether there is more material planned; what it feels like to have the backing of some high-profile, reputable music sites; how her time in Les Mayons affected her music; the sounds/artists she is inspired by – and how she got into music to start with.
Zoey Lily talks about the mainstream and how it feels being an independent artist; the albums that mean the most to her; whether there are going to be any gigs in the coming weeks; what she has planned for Christmas – how important London is with regards her music and ambitions.
Hi, Zoey Lily. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m really good, thanks. I had a very productive week as I spent a couple of days in the studio (in Leeds) working on new tracks.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Zoey Lily and I’m a singer/writer.
Nothing has been out a few days. What has the reaction been like to the song?
The reaction’s been good, overall. I’m really happy to finally have put out some music.
Can you tell me how it came to be and what inspired it?
This track is based on a poem I wrote last year.
I started to play around with some melodies that would fit the meaning of the poem - so it came together in a very natural way. I like the way this led to a more complex structure of the lyrics. There’s not a clear storyline but a lot of phrases with a meaning within themselves - and they only make sense when looking at the whole track.
The Line of Best Fit and Amazing Radio have already featured it. Does that give you strength and confidence – knowing big sources are responding to your music?
Yeah. It’s very motivating to see blogs like Line of Best Fit or Amazing Radio supporting my track. I think it matters who actually writes about it or features the track but, in the end, it comes down to the people - if they really like it and listen to it.
You are an unsigned artist in London. Do you think, the fact you are an independent artist, it gives you the freedom to write as you please? How important is the city and its people to your creativity?
It’s really important to me to have the full creative control over my songwriting and music. I’d say, at the moment; London is the right place to be for me - as a substantial part of the music industry is located here and the amount of creatives is enormous.
How important are your parents, and the time spent in Les Mayons, to your music and growth?
My parents would always give me a lot of freedom as a child and supported me in whatever I was doing. I started off with playing the clarinet and acting; then, later tried gymnastics and ballet before I started to play the piano and guitar. I grew up in a very artistic environment and music has always been a crucial part of our daily life.
In Les Mayons; we’d always listen to music when getting up on weekends and when having breakfast.
How did you get into music? Was there an artist that inspired you to take it up?
Up until (like) two years ago; I never thought about going into music professionally. I started writing songs when I was thirteen but wouldn’t share the songs with anyone - I just liked ‘creating’ them. My dad was the main reason I started to play the guitar in the first place and, once I was able to accompany myself with an instrument; I started to write more and more songs.
You have achieved a lot this year. Do you have plans for new material in 2018? What is on your mind?
I’ve got much more music to come out in 2018.
I think some of the new material will be slightly unexpected to people who’ve been following me since the beginning, as they’re a bit more upbeat; still dark, though.
I don’t think I’ve achieved much yet, but thanks.
What do you think of the current mainstream? There are a lot of different artists out there! Do you think current music is pretty strong and compelling?
To be fair, I probably wouldn’t know all of the songs currently in the charts. I do listen to a lot of different music, though; from mainstream to Classical piano music. There are so many great artists around and I feel like a lot of music sounds slightly similar - so I think the main challenge is to do something unique and recognisable.
IN THIS PHOTO: Little Simz
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
Little Simz is one of my new favourite artists. Her lyrics are amazing and I think she developed a very specific and unique sound (which I like a lot).
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die: The Paradise Edition
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Eminem – Curtain Call
Born to Die: The Paradise Edition was such a new and unexpected album. I love the tracks featuring in her short film called Tropico - and how they are connected in a story.
It’s so rare that you find an album you love every track on, and Channel Orange is definitely one of them.
Eminem’s Curtain Call feels so honest and raw, lyrically. Tracks like When I’m Gone and Mockingbird will never lose their value to me - as they’re so timeless.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have lined-up?
Yeah. I’ll be (hopefully) playing a show in spring 2018, in London.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I guess, at the moment, I’m still the one in need of advice…but, if I had to say what I think is important; it’s to know why you’re doing what and where you want to go - and then to get the right people to support you in your vision.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I’ll spend Christmas in London with my aunt or go and see my grandma - who will be one-hundred on 25th December.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Frank Ocean – Pyramids
Eminem – When I’m Gone (if the other one is too long)
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