Every so often I come across an artist whose story I really connect with; Zoe was one of them.

The R&B singer, who cites H.E.R and Jasmine Sullivan as her influences, appealed to me for her simple ability to write and sing from a deep place of emotion.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the budding singer about her journey so far and plans for 2019.

How would you describe your music to someone who hadn’t heard it before?

I’d describe my music best as being all-round R&B! with distinctive elements. It has a feeling of both a new and old school vibe with a soulful tone. It’s the kind of music you really take in and vibe to. Every song has its own journey!

What sets you apart from the other artists in your genre?

I’d say what really sets me apart from other R&B artists is how real I portray feelings. You will discover in my songs that I may vent in a way and I give a perspective which is emotionally raw and just say it how it is! Good or bad.

I used to be the kind of person who really bottled things up and slap a smile on but I feel like music helped me to release that and maybe that is what has allowed me to effectively portray an experience.

As an artist, I want to be more than my music and you will definitely notice the more songs I release, the more personal they are, the more you really understand me and my journey. I want my journey and experience to really speak to people and say that nothing is impossible. Nothing is worth giving up on. Keep fighting on!

I also think R&B today is changing and heading into a different direction, which I definitely embrace and do love, but I do think my music still carries that old school R&B feel that I think at times is being lost. I think this makes my music almost nostalgic in a way.

You recently headlined at Lost World London, how was that experience?

So a few months ago I was asked to headline at Lost World London and honestly I was really surprised. A week of two before, I decided to go down for the open mic section which was my first time performing a new song and a very long time since id sang in front of an audience and there were unexpected changes so felt a little unprepared, but I really enjoyed it! I can be my worst critic at times and I just thought I could have done better, you know?

So to come back, I was excited to show some new stuff! It was a such a good experience, because I feel like it was the start of me reintroducing myself as an artist after a really long time and I got some great feedback! Grateful for the opportunity! Shout out to Tee !

What is your favourite song to perform and why?

So far my favourite song to sing is one called ‘Feelings’ which will be out in the new year. I just love the meaning behind it and the vibe! You think the song is going in one direction of missing someone but then it switches up and I get the same reaction from everyone I’ve sang or played it to. It’s a feel good empowering song I think! I love the message behind it. It’s like, ah I’m missing or wanting this person but realising that actually….you don’t really want or need them, you just want some attention or your even just a bit bored! It gets like that sometimes and that’s how you can fall into the same problems.

There are songs that I really love but haven’t performed before so I’m excited to see how well they are received.

Let’s get into your single. Was falling written about a particular situation?

Yes it was. This song represents a time when I definitely had rose-tinted glasses and finally took them off! I feel like when emotions are involved you tend to ignore signs that say you should let something go and end up going around in circles. For me, I wrote this song when I’d gotten to a point where I’d really SEEN someone, and I concluded that I had to just stop.

This song is real personal because it also represents my development as a person which you will definitely hear within the lyrics. From something negative, you learn a lot about yourself, what is good for you, identifying what you really want , both romantically and in life, what you should be prioritising and of course acknowledging your value.

‘Falling’ is not a song to reflect bitterness, anger or even pain. You feel sorrow, yes, but you can also get a sense of reflection, and reflection ultimately represents growth.

One thing I love about this song is the ambiguous meaning depending on who is listening. Initially you might think about love or falling deep emotionally, but it can mean falling for someone’s lies, falling for the same negative behaviour, falling into disappointment with someone you considered a friend or family ect. Its like, I just cant keep falling for it!

What are your thoughts on the state of R&B right now?

R&B is definitely changing in terms of how it’s being presented in the industry. I feel like there is a shift. If you look at how it was back in the day, R&B was very mainstream, I say that as in, it was all over the radio and on the TV.

It seems like now, although R&B is definitely still popular and a big influence in music today, it doesn’t seem as though its pushed or advertised as much as other genres. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing though. You get a lot of songs that you might not initially be into but because you hear it so much or it follows a wave, you find yourself listening to it. With R&B now, it’s a lot more real, a lot more personal. You seek it out rather than it being fed to you. I kind of like that though, it’s respected by those who really do appreciate it. It’s a lot more intimate if that makes sense.

In terms of artists, I think the genre really is killing it. Especially lyrically. 6lack, DVSN, Brent Faiyaz and I recently discovered Summer Walker to name a few. In the UK, obviously Ella Mai is doing her thing and I think the UK in general is really putting itself on the map with the music. I think we are going to see a lot more British R&B artists being recognised!

Who would you most like to collaborate with right now?

That is a very good question!

I would love to collab with DVSN. His sound is so sensual, that late night vibe. He is just a whole MOOD. I’ve always been a fan of J cole and his music has real substance. One Acen, Ray BLK, Mahalia…there are so many!

What inspires the music you write?

Life! My music represents me. My thoughts, feelings and journey. I really want the listeners to connect and resonate with me aswell as my music. I have a message I want to get out there and I want those who listen and follow my musical journey to have an understand of why I say and do the things I do. In saying that, there are things that may not have personally happened to me but I am passionate about or feel things need to be said.

Its also understanding that, although you as an artist may be writing about something personal only to you, it can somehow relate and affect others. It can show someone that they are not alone, they can overcome something, it can empower and inspire others. I think for me, it started as a way to let go and vent out things I didn’t feel I could let out so it allows me to be vulnerable as well as show my strength my journey and battles. So knowing that hearing these things could encourage, comfort and help others even in the slightest way is definitely a motivator.

What can we expect from you in the coming year?

Good things! Ive got songs I can’t wait to show everyone. A music video is on my agenda and I have an upcoming headlining show which I am really looking forward to. I feel like 2018 was my time to really get myself together and start the process and 2019 will be me getting things in action and really show you guys what I’m all about. I honestly can’t wait.

Seeing as we are approaching the holiday season do you have any Christmas traditions you’d like to share?

You know what, I don’t really have any!

I guess it would be the obvious. Just coming together, spending time with family and ofcourse eating very very well.

Everything is always last minute. I guess that’s something that happens every year!

Any final shoutouts or plugs?

I would like to give a shout out to everyone supporting me! I really do appreciate all the love especially because I had people waiting on me to drop something! The love and messages have really meant alot and I cant wait to give you more and hear your feedback.

SONG LINK – ampl.ink/dMlrL

Instagram- zoe.dsanee

Twitter- zoedsanee