With performances at Sweden’s Grammy and Oscar ceremonies to her name, Zikai is poised to take her domestic attention to an international stage. The 22-year-old has a flair for timeless songwriting matched by a voice rich with personality, poise and prowess. Her style is resolutely hers, but it echoes some of her key influences: Snoh Aalegra’s cinematic soul, Brandy’s throwback R&B, Mabel’s crossover appeal and Dua Lipa’s postmodern disco.
Zikai’s latest step towards a bigger discovery comes today with the release of the new single ‘Champagne For Breakfast’ alongside her debut EP ‘Make You Mine’. LISTEN HERE.
Picture the scene: it’s date night and the only thing flowing faster than the drink is the conversation. It’s fun, it’s exciting and just maybe you’ve met the perfect person. But morning brings a rude awakening. The talk is laboured, the energy is down and the vibe has somehow evaporated. If only you could rewind to the buzz of the previous night’s first drink…
It’s a situation that many of those are who unlucky-in-love have experienced. And it’s one that Zikai visualises in the swaggeringly sassy ‘Champagne For Breakfast’. “It’s such a shame, you’d be the perfect guy if you just stayed the same,”she sings. And the solution? “But if all it takes is just one drink, I’ll bring you champagne for breakfast.”
“I’ve had a lot of dates that are like that,” she laughs. “Especially when alcohol is involved. Everything seems so nice, and then you wake the next morning like… hmm, I don’t know!”
Zikai wrote and recorded ‘Champagne For Breakfast’ in sessions with the Grammy-winning Grades (Dua Lipa, H.E.R.) and Max Wolfgang (BTS, Ed Sheeran).
‘Champagne For Breakfast’ opens the ‘Make You Mine’ EP in style. Its seven tracks range from the booming energy of ‘Liquor Kisses’ to the elegantly stripped-back ‘Do You Love Me Still?’, and it also features Zikia’s breakthrough track ‘Beach Day’, which hit 5 million streams at Spotify. The EP is a potent cocktail of contemporary production and live instrumentation, which brings her stories of the ups, downs and insecurities of relationships to life.
As she explains, “The songs come from love, my relationship to love, and my love for other people. That may not always be healthy, but you learn a lot about self-love. I’ve been in relationships as I wrote these songs, and love has been a big part of my life. I guess a bit too big for my own good!”
The EP’s roots lay in Zikai’s childhood. Born and raised in Stockholm, her older siblings surrounded her with the hits of early 2000s MTV, from Rihanna to Omarion. But there was also a distinct African influence too, from her Ivorian father’s love of the influential Afropop group Magic System.
Zikai landed her first major label deal when she was fifteen, but realised that it was too early for her to step out as an artist in her own right and instead focused on songwriting. She wrote or co-wrote various hits in her homeland before collaborating with rising UK and US talents in the studio before dropping her debut track ‘Mountain Peak’. The ‘Make You Mine’ EP is the first chapter in her journey.