The artist takes us through his sophomore album Stop It God and how it is his most authentic and organic project yet.
If there is one thing for sure, it’s that we have to thank the likes of Spotify and Apple Music for blessing us with their personally-curated new music playlists, because without them we wouldn’t have stumbled across New Yorker Zuli Jr. Dropping the latest cut from his upcoming project Stop It God today, Zuli introduces us to a shapeshifting left-pop production with “Her Manner“, fusing together feel-good electronic beats with his sugary sweet vocals.
“’Her Manner’ is an ode to romanticising addiction,” Zuli revealed. “Learning to break the cycle and address your issues rather than to perpetually seek out pleasure. I wrote the song as a first step towards looking inward for joy instead of fixating on a quick high to escape reality. Whether it be sex, drugs, alcohol, social media or any other vice.”
Having gained support from various tastemakers for his ever-expanding sound and introspective lyricism, the artist is set to release his upcoming project in the coming weeks, with the artist teasing that this project is “unapologetically me”. Talking to us virtually on the album, Zuli dives in deep on becoming an authentic artist, documenting his addiction through music, and how the project contains some secret easter eggs…
Check out the interview and single below…
Hey Zuli! We’re almost halfway through the year! How would you sum up the past few months?
Exhilarating. It’s been an exciting and hectic few months working through this album release, but I can’t believe it’s almost out!
Talk us through your musical journey? How did you first get started?
I started playing classical piano at the age of five and got my first guitar at 11. In high school, I fell in love with avant pop and indie rock music and soon after found my footing as a songwriter.
You were born and raised in New York which is filled with inspiration, what was it like growing up here? Do you think it inspired you musically?
Absolutely. Living in the city and playing/going to as many shows as possible felt like a never-ending pool of inspiration. Every week there was something new to tweak in the set or something I had never seen before that blew me away. I think it’s an important part of the process to immerse yourself in as much new information as you can.
Congratulations on your new track “Her Manner”, take us through the production process!
Thank you! I made the beat on my Roland SP555 and started to figure out the key elements of the song. Eventually, when I brought the track to the studio, the tone’s were tweaked but the main ideas, for the most part, made the final cut. The guitar solo is actually the original take I did for the demo. When it feels right, it’s cause it usually is.
The song is about addiction and breaking the cycle, what made you focus on this?
This song is a perfect example of when the music speaks to you and you learn something new about yourself through the process. I had freestyled a good chunk of the first verse and eventually had that “aha” moment where I realised, “wow I didn’t know I felt this way but this definitely resonates with what I’m going through.” Once I figured out I was talking about my relationship to my vices the whole arc of the song came together.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
That they’re enough. That through the process of doing the work and being open to the possibilities, anything can happen. My entire career is based on me trusting my gut, and I think my music is a direct representation of that.
Your sound is very expansive and goes between a lot of genres, how would you describe it?
At this point, I just call it pop music, or indie-pop. I think there are elements of all kinds of music in there. Psychedelia, avant-indie, R&B, classic rock etc. But my love for pop and melody is the through-line of it all.
You’re about to drop another album, how do you think this one differs from your last?
I think this album is more introspective than my last. I went through a lot more heartbreak during the process of making it, and that had a big impact on how a lot of the music turned out. All of my music feels like it’s “unapologetically me” in my opinion, but this one feels like it’s getting closer to getting to my true essence. I think that’s the goal with every release, to learn more about yourself through the creation.
What can we expect in the project?
A lot of easter eggs to discover. A loose sci-fi storyline, and my most personal songwriting to date. Some bops too.
If you could work with anyone who would it be and why?
Such a tough question because I love so many artists/producers, but George Daniel and Matty Healy come to mind a lot as of late. I think it would be an incredible learning experience to see their process.
What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
More videos/more new music and hopefully shows! Just the idea that shows may be happening in the semi-near future is exciting enough for me. When it’s safe, that’ll be the number one priority.