Up, Close and Personal With ZZ

“I am ecstatic. I am happy. I am relieved. I am on top of the world,” genre blender industry’s newest trailblazer ZZ announces, commemorating the release of his new album ‘Love In The Club.’ This DIY creative is in his own lane, disregarding any previous do’s and don’t’s.

The New Dheli native, ZZ, currently resides in Los Angeles. Inspired by film and rap geniuses, ZZ is a master of all trades, invested in music production and visual conceptualisation with a focus on balancing minimalism and high-concept ideas.

ZZ’s unique fusion of melodic rap, afrobeat, and R&B enables him to experiment rather than follow specific genre categories. His primary source of inspiration and creative fuel is to convey an emotion. With ‘Love In The Club,’ ZZ authentically rephrases the feeling of serenity reflecting his current state of mind.

For our readers, ZZ confirms the overwhelming feeling of confusion and lack of direction and belonging in the city of Angels. Supposedly, the place where all dreams can come true is more saturated with unsure and lost talented people than one might think. Finding his way, ZZ builds on remembering his roots, staying grounded without trying to copy the norm, whatever that might be.

In the future, ZZ plans to ultimately take over the world with headline festival spots and global tours. On top of enjoying the fruit of his labor due to the release of ‘Love In The Club,’ ZZ is also working on a music start-up with the one and only Timbaland.

Congratulations on your new project ‘Love In The Club’! What chapter of your life are you diving into?

I don’t know what chapter, man. It’s always just growth, right? We’re always just growing and learning. I decided to take a new direction with this album, go a bit more pop, more melodic, and I’m extremely happy with how it’s turned out. I’m enjoying life. I’m enjoying. That’s what the chapter I’m at. I just want to enjoy life and to be grateful and appreciate the now and appreciate the water I can drink, the air I can breathe, the food I can eat, the people I’m with, the stuff I have, the stuff I’m going to get, just appreciate everything.

How are you going to celebrate the release?

Honestly, I’m just going to chill at home with my people, and I’m just going to play the album, obviously, and just take a breather from social media, maybe watch Godfather or something, just have a wholesome night, play some board games or something like that.

What has been keeping you busy lately other than your new album?

I have been working on a music startup with Timbaland, which you guys will hear more about in the coming months. But yeah, we’ve got some exciting stuff coming.

Is there another medium other than music you like to express yourself through?

Yeah, I mean, film. I’m a big film addict. I direct all my own music videos, and I look up to a lot of directors as well. Yeah, I guess that. 

You were raised in New Delhi and moved over to los Angeles. What was the driving force behind this relocation?

I was raised in New Delhi, moved out to Los Angeles. I was the driving force behind this relocation. Honestly, at the time, it was—I moved back in 2018, so I believed and so did the world that you had to come to the West to get big in the industry or to make a name for yourself. Just the music industry in LA and all that stuff. But in today’s day and age, I do not believe that. You can do it from anywhere, dude. Yeah, just social media. I’m not the biggest social media guy, but yeah, that’s what today’s day and age is.

How did you adapt to the LA lifestyle?

It’s chill. It’s laid back. I love it. I’m chilling. I think the weather’s dope. I think LA people need to come to New Delhi and experience that. Let me show them what life’s about.

Could you please talk us through how you got into music in the first place?

Yes, I started because of my friend, Ty, who goes by High Life Beats from the Virgin Islands. He was my high school boy, and we used to make music together just for fun, literally. It’s like we kept on doing it. I got more of a hold on production skills and the technical side of things. Now we’ve come here. It’s been a journey, but we made it, and we’re going up.

Have you always known what sort of sound you wanted to focus on? Or are you open to experimenting and going with the flow?

I have always known the sound/aesthetic, but I’m super open to experimenting like this album. We’ve got some jersey in there, we’ve got drill, we’ve got some… Honestly, it doesn’t really matter about the genre. The music, for me, is more about conveying an emotion and being honest. I don’t think a genre can really convey that.

It’s not like one genre can just do that. Any genre can do that, right? But it’s about how the artist delivers. I think that’s what my sound is. It’s just me being honest, melodic, having fun, and production has to stay on point.

What is the backstory of your stage name ZZ?

Well, I mean, obviously inspiration from Yeezy, right? Mr. West. That’s what my friends used to call me in middle school and high school. I just became ZZ.

Now that you’re settled in Los Angeles, how do you think living there has influenced you as an artist?

Well, I came here in 2018, so I was 18 years old, and I was hella homesick, hella confused, didn’t know who I wanted to be, what I wanted to be. I think a bunch of people in LA are the same way. You go out and you see a bunch of just confused looking people who don’t seem to be the happiest in life. So, I guess LA taught me to remember my roots and not try to be someone else and just try to stay down and stay grounded. Even though that’s literally not what LA is, I guess that’s what I got from it.

How would you compare your previous records to the music you’re working on right now? 

Well, “Love in the Club” is something different to what I usually do. We’ve got more of a happier, a lighter tone. That’s just how I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling complete bliss. I’m feeling just great in life. This is the music that I want to hear. This is the music that I want to make. This is what I want people to listen to and think of maybe their happy moments and how we both are resonating on the same field.

You’re also producing and shooting your own music videos. What are your biggest inspirations for visual conceptualisation?

Okay, well, I take lots of inspiration from Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Scorsese, those guys. It’s amazing. I love very minimalistic and minimalistic conceptually, and also just framing-wise and everything going on in the shot, I just love a minimalistic shot. I’m sure you can tell from my work as well that a lot of it is… you know the esthetic matters a lot, even the aspect ratio to that extent. So yeah, paying attention to detail, keeping it minimal while keeping it high concept but minimal. That’s what I love.

Let’s time travel. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully, on tour, a headline slot in Coachella, on the Billboard charts, just doing it all, you know what I’m saying? Also, we’ve got some music videos coming up from this album. We’ve got some visualizers, some great, great stuff. I’m excited for everyone to see everything. And enjoy the journey.

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Words: Karolina Kramplova