The 17-year-old artist unveils his latest effort along with a vibey music video.

Photography by Rosie Matheson

Photography by Rosie Matheson

“If you ain’t got vibes just leave me alone,” says Zakhar in his latest release, “Lights Out”. Brimming with feel-good energy, seamless lyrical prowess and a melancholic melody, the 17-year-old rising artist positions himself as a talent whose narrative skills are just as fine-tuned as his velvety smooth vocal cords. Though an uptempo beat rises throughout the track’s chorus, Zakhar lends textured lines that unpack the need for self-preservation. Allowing an equal space for reflection as well as dancing, “Lights Out” offers a flavour for every mood — but guarantees an aftertaste of euphoria regardless.

In his own words, Zakhar explains, “The single came about during a session with the legend Jake Gosling, and Sammy SoSo. The original key of the song was much lower but he pushed me to go higher and higher and from there I think the song turned into something magical. The intention was to create a song that people can vibe to. I wanted it to feel like you were having a barbeque with your bredrins on a nice sunny day in summer just chilling. When I finished the song it felt good because at the time it was one of the best songs I’ve created.”

Though relatively new to the industry, Zakhar has already demolished his steps to stardom — becoming one of the youngest and most acclaimed names within the rap community and UK music scene. From his tracks hitting six million views on TikTok to coining viral sounds used by over 40,000 users to participating in Sadie Jean’s Open Verse challenge, Zakhar has cracked open a brand new world — and continues his ascendency within it.

To stream the track and for his exclusive interview with us, head below…

Hey Zakhar! How are you feeling?
Good you know, it’s all a good experience. It’s all so new to me, I’ve never sat in buildings like these and had these types of discussions before, it’s insane. But it’s definitely a weird thing for me to adjust to.

So before we get into your music, we’d love to know a little bit more about you as a person. What’s brought you to where you are today?
I used to play football pro for Brentford back in the day. But my family have always had good singing voices. I have four aunts who are all singers, so you can imagine at family functions we go crazy. My whole family is very talented like that. But I was playing football, and I realised the more I was playing football, the less I was actually enjoying it. So I started telling people “I don’t want to play football anymore” even though I literally had that pathway in front of me, so it was really hard for other people to understand. When I started telling people I want to do music, everyone was like “you know you can literally go pro right now, why would you want to change it”, but I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I released a couple of songs while still playing football, then one of them got 5000 streams and I was so gassed. I just knew from here this could be something really good, and I just came to terms with the fact I won’t be doing football anymore.

And I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard you were only 17! What do you think helped you find your path despite so many people encouraging you to stick with football?
I just realised I enjoyed writing songs way more than I enjoyed training for a match. Then I thought, the hard stage of music is trying to write a good song, the hard thing about football is the relentless training. And I just knew I enjoyed writing more than going to the pitch. It’s just a feeling, when you know something is right you just know, I can’t explain it. Music was the one for me.

Other than your four aunts, what/who would you say are your biggest influences?
I would say Justin Bieber, and I’ve never actually said this to anyone before but 50 Cent. He’s gone from the streets to an artist, and now he’s getting into acting and movies. That’s like the stuff I want to be able to do, I think music is a stepping stone into even bigger and better things — look at what Rihanna and Justin Bieber have achieved.

And congratulations on your new track “Lights Out”! Can you give us an insight into the meaning behind the track?
When I made that song I wanted people to imagine that it’s a summer’s day and you’re with your friends. There are so many layers to it — you can cry to it, you can vibe to it.

So we know this is following the track “Never Hiding” which you released in January, would you say your new music is a continuation, or can we expect something totally new?
I think there are definitely elements that are similar, but soundwise they are very different. “Never Hiding” is more a melodic rap, whereas “Lights Out” has a pop element to it. I want people to keep guessing about the type of music I’ll be putting out there. Being versatile is so important, I can make an amazing ballad song for the people who like ballads — but a lot of my fanbase won’t like ballads, so I can switch things up for them.

I think that’s what stood out to me most in your music, that you couldn’t put a finger on what genre it was. Where did that come from? And how would you describe your sound?
I actually can’t give you an answer. I’ve always been the guy that just does different stuff. I’ve always wanted to stand out — I’ve always wanted to be the leader, the one that people notice. So I’m thinking I can sing, I can rap, but singing doesn’t just mean on drums, singing doesn’t just mean on piano — the only limit is what you set yourself. So being the creative person that I am, I just wanted to incorporate elements of everything I heard growing up into my music. I think that’s why it will never fit into a specific genre.

If you could name your own genre for your own sound, does anything come to mind?
I’ve never even thought of this you know, that’s a good question. I think it’s almost good I can’t think of an answer because it means no one else is doing it. It’s a brand new thing.

And finally, for those who don’t know of you yet, what’s one thing you want people to know about you?
Flipping hell, that’s a deep one. I think I’m ready for anything. I want people to know I’m proud to be confident. It’s good to know in yourself that yeah, I’m talented. I just want people to know I’m an easy-going guy. Even though I’m climbing up the ranks, I don’t want people to think like “oh I’m so boujee”. The same way I’m chatting with you now, even though I’ve never met you before, I’d chat like this with anyone. I love chatting with people.


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