We were hooked on Zella Day’s ‘Sweet Opehlia’ three seconds in so took it upon ourselves to find out more about the enigmatic new songstress.
Is Zella Day a pseudonym or were you born with the name?
My full name is Zella Day Kerr. My parents got married in Jerome, Arizona which is a small mining town with a lot of history. They found my name while researching Jerome, and Zella was the name of the main mine owner’s wife.
We’re loving ‘Sweet Ophelia’ – can you tell us a bit more about how the track was born?
Sweet Ophelia happened really fast. My producers and I were hanging in the studio when I started messing around with this simple riff and floaty verse melody. The first verse seemed to just fall out of me, and then we followed where the song was headed sonically. That crunchy beat seemed to coincide with the aura of the song. The song is so dreamy and the instrumentals bring it back down to earth.
Who inspires you to write the kind of audio stimulation that you do?
My producers and I have a really tight relationship that has grown over time. We have spent years writing music together, and in turn they fully understand the vision I have for my music. The inspiration is collaboration in its purest form, I come to them with songs and together we create a soundscape for them to live in.
If you could collaborate with any other artist – dead or alive, who would be your first choice?
I want to write a song with John Denver about my mountain town. “Mountain Mama” chants all day long!
What is your most preferred colour?
How about a combination of colour? I go nuts for a dusty sunset over the ocean, I’m a fan of muted oranges and blues…. kinda like the desert.
Give us 3 things that you like and 3 things that you dislike?
Likes: Pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, the feel of the ocean.
Dislikes: Stereotypes, shake weights, applesauce.
Favourite TV show?
I honestly don’t watch TV regularly so it’s rare that I will get into a series, but right now I’ve just started watching “Masters of Sex”. It’s a direct look into the lives of women in the 1950s, when sex was taboo and research was just starting to take place.
Do you have a favourite place where you hang out to discover new music?
School Nights at Bardot are awesome. I recently had a gig there and was soooo honored. School Night is always featuring the coolest up and coming artists. I receive their weekly emails as well, so even if I can’t make it to a show I’m up to date on whose coming through there.
What kinds of music were you listening too as you were growing up?
I have cool parents. My dad was a skater kid and a bouncer at music venues in Phoenix, the music that he brought into the house ranged from Bob Marley, Reel Big Fish, Social Distortion, Sublime, The Cramps, Agent Orange, and Nirvana. Mama is a bohemian queen and she brought Edie Brickell, Lauryn Hill, Manu Chao, Mason Jennings, and John Prine into my life.
What are your thoughts on social media and how do you think it affects a musicians longevity in the industry?
I have a love hate relationship with social media. There’s a part of me that’s like, “can’t I just play music and that be the end of it?”, but the other part of me enjoys creating a world that people have access to. I’m striving to be an artist that has a long standing career, and if I get lucky maybe I will make it on the radio waves. If I don’t ever make it to top 40, social media will be the platform I use to get my music out to my fans. I have major respect for the artists out there that release their music through social media, and with that have accumulated a passionate fan base. Social media is an art when its not exploited.
Find out more from Zella Day here.
Words: Shane Hawkins – @piccadilly_boy