For many artists, the process of recording and releasing a debut album isn’t a linear one. When Zuzu began playing in Liverpool it was clear she had something special, but after showing so much promise and receiving plaudits from further afield for her wonderful Scouse storytelling style, things seemed to transpire against her.
“We put it out and we really had no idea what people would think of it,” she said. “All I really wanted was for people to like it.”
“It’s definitely super-personal and I do think that adds to the weight of it. Music is the method I’ve always used to make myself feel better, and when we were picking the songs for the album I just wanted to go for the ones that pulled on my heartstrings my most.”
“I’ve been through the mill a little bit, and I was waiting to get out of the deal that I was in and it was really difficult. At that time I really thought “this is it” and that nobody would want to hear an album. But then my manager John (Dawkins) told me about this thing that Townsend Music were doing. It’s kind of a label, but the artist owns the record and they take a small percentage rather than you being trapped in a contract.”
“I was like “wow, that’s a thing?!” and me and John were like ‘well, let’s make a record!”
“There is a change happening, I do believe that. I think Taylor Swift and her battle to own her own music has really helped people understand what it is to own their own music. I don’t judge anyone for doing what I did – because you take every opportunity you get. All I can do is make wiser decisions moving forward.”
“There’s so many kids that want to see us live and I don’t know why! I can’t pinpoint a time when it started happening, but gradually kids have just gotten into my tunes. People send me videos of their kids dancing to my music, and they’re just sassing out. Maybe my music or the way I perform is quite theatrical, but it absolutely melts my heart seeing them. I just want young girls and boys to be proud of their voice in the world, so I just love it when they come to our gigs.”
“I don’t think there’s a lack of female talent, put it that way, so there’s less and less excuses. It can be hard to talk about. I’ve been fortunate to play some great shows, but as a woman you definitely face big challenges when you’re trying to break through and get that first leg up. I’m not an expert though, so all I can do is try and support other female artists in a genuine way.”
“I don’t know the answer to it, but all I know is as a woman we just have to do our best to make it a better world for other women too. Rather than have an argument on Twitter or something, I just want to practice what I preach.”
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Photo: Robin Clewley