How would you classify your music?
I try not to classify my music into a single genre. I haven’t found a word that totally encompasses what I’m putting out there, and I like it that way. But if you’re looking for typical genres to tack beside my name I’d say Americana / Folk / Blues.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
This is my least favorite question, but one I love asking others. My answer will forever morph. Currently I bow down to Norah Jones, Brandi Carlile, Jack White, Radiohead, and The Avett Brothers. They’re masters of simplicty, honesty, and badass-ery. But I’ve also been listening to some Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Rait as of late. They’re able to effectively get their message across with beautiful subtlety.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
You’re not alone. The whole point of performing and writing for me is to not only express myself but make a connection with someone else. I am pretty confident that’s why people go to see live shows. I don’t always write from my own perspective. When I’ve got pen to paper that person standing in the shadows of the crowd is in the back of my mind reminding me that whatever I’m writing is not just about me, but hopefully about that person too.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest album? When will it be released and how does it differ from your previous work?
There is no previous work. My album “Like You” is my freshman debut. It released on April 5th and is available just about everywhere, including my website where I’ll be more than happy to write silly notes on the inside cover if you choose to purchase a hard copy!
I like to think of this album as a timeline. It chronicles a year long journey in my life. But not all of the songs are about me. Sometimes I’m just a bystander in the story. Part of this timeline includes dealing with my progressive hearing loss and tinnitus. The song “Like You” is all about that. There’s a ringing that plays throughout and that’s what I hear every day. It’s a part of my life, but it doesn’t define me as a songwriter. I have no interest in being known as the deaf girl who writes songs. I like just being Zoë.
What do you love and hate about the Music Business?
There is no road map. Every artist will reach their goals in a different way than me. It’s frustrating when you don’t know what your next move should be, but utterly beautiful when you’re able to do what you love creatively, put it out there, and somehow people are able to find it and make a connection with your art.
What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?
There is no way I can answer that! I’ll tell you the first concert I remember attending, Norah Jones in my hometown of Knoxville, TN. She made a huge impression on me growing up.
I feel like I belong. That’s the best way to describe it. I absolutely love having a band behind me as well. I get to play songs with my friends and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people.
Is there a song on this latest CD that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
I’d say “Like You” and “Cry On You” are personal favorites. “Cry On You” focuses on the importance of leaning on each other in hard times. The song surrounds itself with images of current world events that have shaken us all. And “Like You” encompasses what I’ve been going through with my progressive hearing loss.
Nothing would make me happier than for you to listen to the whole album, but if you’re short on time those are some of my tops. “Look the Other Way” and “I’m On Fire” (both covers) are given some big makeovers. If you’re a fan of a good cover I suggest you give those a spin.
How have you evolved as an artist over the last few years? What made you decide to come back into the music business?
Fun fact: I almost finished a degree in Classical Voice at Belmont University before realizing I wanted to write songs, something I had never done before. I had zero confidence in myself and felt no passion for the degree I was in. I was the bedroom poet type whose fears just overshadowed her. She couldn’t share herself with anyone.
The biggest change I made was the decision to just to go out on a limb and believe in myself. So to answer your question, evolution for me as a musician has taken a lot of turns in a short timeframe. I ended up graduating with a B.S. in Songwriting under the Curb College of Music Business at Belmont. From there I released my album “Like You” and have since been plugging away!
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
I like having dinner and getting drunk with my band! But if they weren’t available on a Saturday night I’d call up Paul McCartney.
So tell us what’s next?
The sky’s the limit. This is just the beginning. I’ve been writing new music, slowly introducing the tunes to my band. And working to book gigs and befriend all the fine people who come to those shows. I’m looking forward to sharing something new in the near future.
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