Zach Hood had an impressive 2022, rising from being a TikTok star from his bedroom to having almost 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. He released plenty of new music, including his latest EP ‘BLOSSOM‘ at the start of November, full of raw and honest tales of his new life away from home.
Having started by learning the piano at a young age, Zach Hood has come a long way to become someone many are talking about. In this interview, we discuss making a Christmas song, his debut festival appearance in his hometown, and the honesty in his music.
What is the message of this new EP and has it been easier to get across your thoughts on a larger body of work?
The message of this EP is all about emotions and how an 18-year-old moved out to Los Angeles away from everything he’s ever known to start a new life and follow what many thought was an unrealistic dream. Just don’t worry too much. Live in the moment and grow as a human being. A lot of us tend to get caught up in the past and worry too much. The only way us human beings have a chance at living to our true potential is to ‘BLOSSOM.’ Especially in this generation, there are a lot of distractions and negative things that go around. I really do believe if you follow your path and (do) not let anyone or anything knock you off of it. You’ll be just fine.
You are documented as learning the piano yourself via YouTube videos. Has this independent learning allowed you to push yourself and not be held back by others’ expectations?
Yes. After asking my mom for a piano, I learned it via YouTube! And yes, it definitely helped me push through that faze of people not believing in me and even not believing in myself. There was a time in high school, I believe it was junior year when I didn’t talk to anyone at all. I hardly went to parties and hung out with people. This was a gray period for my social life, (and I needed) to work on what I wanted for myself. I looked up sad minor chords on YouTube and posted a little song I came up with to TikTok. People loved it, so I kept posting videos like it. Not so long after I gained a little fan base that genuinely enjoyed the music I was making. And now, we’re here.
‘long distance christmas’ has been released just in time for the season. What did you aim to do with this track that will make it stand out in the packed genre that is Christmas music?
‘long distance christmas‘ is very unique in its own way in my opinion. First off, it’s a sad Christmas song, which isn’t necessarily the norm. Second, it’s about a long-distance relationship on a very important holiday. I feel like a ton of people go through this and there aren’t enough songs that shed light on this. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be about a relationship, it could be about a family member that’s far away on a work trip or you have someone in the army not able to make it home for Christmas. It truly is a beautiful song for the holiday and I hope it helps at least one person get through it if they’re missing someone.
If you could go back in time to one concert, who would you go to see and where?
I’d say Travis Scott at Hangout Festival 2019. I had just graduated from high school and all of my friends were there with me. It was an amazing moment to share with them, being that we all would soon move away to follow our life paths. Basically, one last hoorah with my friends.
TikTok has played a huge part in your musical journey. Has it made your rise to stardom easier and how much longer do you think it will be the cultural zeitgeist?
It has played a massive role in my career. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for TikTok. My ex-girlfriend told me to download it back in my junior year of high school, which is kind of ironic. I believe that TikTok will be around for a very long time. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.
What is growing up in Alabama like and how has this environment molded you as a person?
Daphne, Alabama is the best place on Earth. Coming from this amazing city and an amazing caring family has shaped me into what I believe is a great guy. It’s a very calm place and relaxing which can be a good and a bad thing. Most teenagers there would get caught up in the drinking and partying, which I had my fair share of. When it came to junior year of high school I kind of realized that I needed to be an artist and not get stuck in the general 9-5 job. (It) isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not for me.
My mom wanted me to go to college as any other loving mother would. I went to get my classes and talked to a lady in an office that smelled like school, (and) I instantly knew I couldn’t do it. I went back home and told my mom and she told me it was okay. She could tell I really didn’t want to do it. I feel like it’s the simple fact of breaking out of that city and doing what I know I can do best. So far so good, and I’m not taking a single moment for granted. I am very grateful for where I come from and the person it made me to this day.
Who is your dream collaborator and what would music with that person sound like?
I’d say The Kid LAROI. I feel like we could make an upbeat “pop-punk” kind of vibe that would sound amazing. I’ve always loved listening to his music and am very inspired by it. So that would be an amazing opportunity if it ever came around.
The music shows that you’re comfortable with being vulnerable and honest. Is this something you learnt, or did it come naturally to you?
I used to be very scared to be vulnerable, especially at this level of publicity. Growing up my parents divorced when I was 8 years old. I believed it affected my emotions in the best way possible. I also believe that if they didn’t get divorced, I wouldn’t have this career right now. It showed me that it is okay to express your emotions, even if it’s at the weakest you’ve ever felt. I want to say things in my songs that people typically wouldn’t say out loud. It’s a very scary thing to do, but I feel like it’s necessary, especially in this world we live in.
What has been your personal musical highlight of 2022?
My personal music highlight of 2022 would be Hangout Festival. Back in 2019 before I even had a singing career, I went to this hometown festival with my high school friends. It was the best time of my life and I truly do believe that it is the spark that caused all of this to happen for me. The first set I saw was Bryce Vine. I was in awe the whole time. I was just thinking about what it’s genuinely like to be an artist and for all of these people to come out and sing his songs back to him.
Fast forward to 2022, I got an offer to perform at Hangout Festival 2022. There were some tears shed, but the first thing I did was call my mom and brother to let them know what had happened. It was a full circle moment and it truly was a surreal one at that.
What is an artist you’re listening to right now and what advice would you give them?
I’ve been listening to Suriel Hess a lot. I started listening to him a long time ago and I’ve enjoyed watching him grow and make these beautiful songs. I don’t think he needs my advice because he’s killing it right now. But I’d just say stay true to yourself and keep doing what you’re doing.