Zach Zoya is one of those artists who’s not afraid to experiment with his sounds, tell his stories, perfect his craft, and reach his goals.
The Canadian artist who grew up in a small French-speaking town in Quebec, Rouyn-Noranda, has managed to mark a path of his own with his smooth melodies, expressive lyricism and an undeniable passion for hip-hop and R&B. His path started with covers that ranged from Drake to Kendrick Lamar, allowing him to build an online presence and introduce his voice into a vibrant, yet often overlooked, music scene.
Zoya has now established his sound with unique and melodic productions that not only incorporate diverse genres but diverse cultures. The singer and songwriter takes inspiration from his South African and French-Canadian heritage, using his upbringing and exposure to multiculturalism to add one more layer to his musical stories.
We had the opportunity to talk to Zach Zoya and find out more about his relationships with music and more. Read the full interview below…
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I think of myself as a multi-faceted artist. I like to try new things and I always try to go in the opposite direction that I just went in musically. So, I end up with a healthy blend of slow RnB ballads and hype hip-hop records.
How did you first get involved with music? And what does music mean to you?
Music to me is like a diary. It’s where I open up, where explain my feelings and where I explore them. It’s a great way for me to stay in tune with my inner self. It’s therapy! Music has always played a role in my life, but I only really started working on it or considering making music when my friends started telling me how good and natural I was at coming up with melodies.
When did you decide to dedicate completely to it?
Probably around 16, right about when I moved out of my parents’ place. I remember saying to myself that I had to be serious about it and treat it like a career from the start if I was to go down this path.
What was the hardest challenge that you faced when following this path?
Money, of course. Not knowing if it’s even a sustainable thing, a real option, not knowing where it’s going to lead me. I was lucky to have overwhelming support from friends and family, though. It never felt like I was doing something stupid.
What is the relationship between your music composition and your cultural upbringing? Would you say that it has influenced it?
I think my music very clearly reflects the variety and diversity I was surrounded by while growing up. I’m from a French-Canadian/South-African household in a very remote part of Quebec. I think that’s a unique mix, and I try to showcase that through my music, expressions, what I talk about, and the different genres I incorporate.
As a rapper and songwriter, what is the general message that you want to transmit through your lyrics?
Maybe curiosity? I say maybe because I’m not even sure if there is a singular thing I’m trying to push forward, nor something specific I want to say. For the most part, my music is a collection of my observations and thoughts on life.
Out of your current and upcoming releases, which one do you identify the most with and why?
All of them! In many different ways. They all tap into a different part of me, and all bring up different memories.
Who are your biggest influences in the music world?
Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Black Eyed Peas, and PARTYNEXTDOOR influenced my style in various ways. I learned how to rap by listening to Isaiah Rashad and Kendrick Lamar.
When listening to your music one can sense a very defined style, one that is complemented by fashion and visuals. What is your take on the importance of a strong style and sense of fashion in your career?
I think it’s all complimentary. Fashion, and just what you give off visually, in general, adds an extra dimension to the music. The same way a music video can help intensify and expand on the vision and the meaning of a song.
What would you say is your main prospect as an artist? Where do you see yourself and your music in 5 years?
The dream would be to work with people I admire and feel like I’m part of the ecosystem. Five years from now, I can see myself having a substantial body of work out there and touring the world, up to no good.
What can we expect from the upcoming releases and collaborations?
Big, big stuff is coming. Big collaborations on this one! You can expect a summer playlist you’ll want to both chill and party to. Dope visuals are on the way too!
Interview by Chiara Ferrari