Zach Zoya is the latest all-round, talented musicians to hail from Canada at only 22-years-old and it is only a matter of time before he gains worldwide recognition. His latest project, Spectrum, has already almost one million streams on Spotify and has caught the eye of UK R&B artist, Angel, where they joined forces for their track, “Patience”.
The EP is a collection of energetic rap/hip-hop, impassioned R&B, and shows-off Zach’s harmonious approach to music. The rapper, singer, songwriter from Quebec Canada, is hard not to like, as his versatility and adaptability as a musician, has to tickle-your-fancy in one way or another, and as a person, he is as passionate about music as they get, there is no doubt he is one to watch out for.
Here’s what happened when we connected with Zach via zoom to discuss his journey so far.
Congratulations on the release of your new project, Spectrum, I genuinely love your sound and haven’t stopped playing it since I heard it! So, as a starter, for those who aren’t familiar with your music, why are they missing out?
Why are they missing out?! Ha-ha-ha… because it’s a RICH… INNOVATIVE PROJECT!
I’m kidding, they’re missing out on a great medley. It’s a mix of R&B and rap, so there is something for everyone in there. if you don’t like the R&B side you will definitely like the rap part. That’s really what this tape was about… it is like a taster. I’m trying to see what the audience wants, it’s a compilation of what I like to do, and now I’m waiting for a response from the public. Like, I’m just feeling the terrain, if you know what I mean.
What is your favourite track from the EP?
It will have to be Patience, shout out to my boy Angel! He flew out to Montreal to shoot the music video. I think it was February this year, that’s like, the coldest month in Canada, so shout out to him for pulling up. We spent a whole day shooting in a big studio and had a blast. We had some good conversations about the differences between the Canadian and UK scene, it was very insightful.
What would you say the main differences were between the UK and the Canadian scene?
It is mostly about our relationship and dynamic towards the states, right?
One big difference is the UK scene is more self-sustaining, as in, it is an industry that can live on its own. And in Canada, we kind-of rely on the States, people who make it like; The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Drake, Shawn Mendes, etc. If you blow up in the states you blow up in Canada, and if you blow up in Canada you kind of, just blow up in Canada.
It’s a small place, the population of Canada is the population of California, so there’s a lot of dissimilarities. Radio is not as powerful, there are loads of little differences that make it harder.
In an interview last year, you mentioned that you realised a lot of rappers use clever wordplay to suggest they are more enlightened than they lead on to be, which made you focus more on the singing/vocal side of music. What is your stance on that now? Has 2020 changed your sense of enlightenment or affected the depth of your writing?
Kind of? I mean, I still try to go less and less lyrical, because it’s a trap you fall into. I mean – deep voice miracle miracle, lyrical subliminal… or whatever, that’s not what good rapping is. I’d rather have text over super complicated words. So, it’s no longer a game of what’s the most complicated rhyme scheme I can come up with but, okay what is the most impactful story I can tell.
I’m still more focused on the catchiness, and stuff like that. I’m a lot more involved in the R&B stuff too. I’m deeper into that, so it’s about melodies, now. Sometimes I’ll write a song with no words then I’ll add meaning later… so I’ll start with a melody, something that touches me. Sometimes the way you sing is more impactful.
You said that all your projects are a team effort, how do you stay true to the musician you are while taking into consideration everyone else’s ideas?
That’s a great question- It’s rarely a problem for me as I tend to be the only songwriter in the room most of the time, but like, if someone comes in and has a better melody than mine or a better idea, I’ll add on to it, so in that sense, it’s not an issue. It’s a team effort so the only thing I do or contribute to 100%, is vocally. There’s always someone doing something and making it better. I’m really blessed to have that infrastructure around me, it’s like an ecosystem, you know what I mean?
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Nelson Mandela. My Dad’s from South Africa, so he’s close to home.
What is the most challenging and rewarding thing about being in your industry?
The most rewarding would be shows- to see the impact your music can have on people. Like, the process. I was in my room writing alone to then BOOM, fast forward and now everyone knows all the words because once the music is out it is no longer yours, everyone attaches their own meaning to it or a feeling, and to see that being reflected back at you, is the greatest gift music has given me. The best feeling in the world.
The worst, that’s a tough one. I think nowadays, cancel culture. Growing up now, I think up-and-coming artists are just scared – you don’t want to speak your mind too much or joke around too much, and then it’s the end of your career, kind of thing. That’s the downside of it, you have to be really careful with what you put out there. And you don’t have to, but the day you don’t – then it’s like, ugh!
You’ve previously said your mum was probably your biggest critic when starting out, do you ever write lyrics and think “mum won’t be too happy with that”?
For sure- anything that is revolved around drugs and alcohol. She doesn’t call me out anymore, but if I play my music and she hears something she doesn’t like, she’ll roll her eyes or something. But I have a lot in the bank that is very clean, so I can be forgiven for that.
Finally, Who else in the UK would you like to work with?
I would love to work with Skepta, I’d love to work with Craig David. He’s a legend, I opened for him about one or two years ago. I don’t know if he counts as the UK, but Maleek Berry too.
Listen to “Spectrum” by Zach Zoya here:
Interview by: Hiba Hassan