Zach Zoya chats new single “Understand” and his favourite Montreal artists and venues

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Montréal singer/songwriter/rapper Zach Zoya has released his second single of the summer “Understand” today via 7ième Ciel/Universal Music Canada.

Produced by Platinum Montréal producers Banx & Ranx (Dua Lipa, Sean Paul, Jhené Aiko), “Understand” features Zoya’s signature melodic delivery and offers a glimpse into his spontaneous, artistic lifestyle.
Described by Zoya as a “nostalgic daydream”, “Understand” reminisces on his nomadic touring lifestyle that the pandemic abruptly interrupted over the past year-and-a-half.

“The excitement of never knowing where you’re going next or what’s going to happen, who you’re going to meet or what you’re going to experience – that chaotic pace can make you feel so alive,” says Zoya. “But that lack of stability can also create a very unhealthy environment. You tend to rely on that one person in your life to carry the burden of this hectic lifestyle and they don’t always get the best of you.” 

Zach Zoya first set an intimate tone for the direction of his upcoming EP when he released the lead single “Feelings” last month. The sensual R&B earworm that CLASH Magazine called an “R&B jewel” reflected the sonic world that he intends to further explore on his sophomore project.

Chatting from his home in Montreal, Zoya is optimistic that the local scene is starting to gain more attention after so much focus being placed on Toronto.

“I think people like Kaytranada​ kind of opened up the scene in some way, you know, with black music​ and house music​. High ​K​lassified been making noise, just really like in the R​&​B sphere.​ ​And I’m super happy for that. We got roots now.​ ​Like we got this, we got this block that we can build on shit. I can see it only going up from here.”

After an extended break due to COVID, there are finally live shows starting to happen, with Zach due to play at the upcoming Mural festival alongside DVSN and High Klassified. But he says MTelus, or Metropolis, is his venue of choice.

“I love ​M​etropolis​. It’s a nice in-between​.​ ​It’s in the middle of the city. I love everything that’s outdoorsy. I know like Montreal is big on shutting down streets and making shows happen​ so that’s always fun. Montreal is like a festival city.​ ​Summer’s just amazing here​, n​o matter what happens​.​ ​I​nside, I think ​M​etropolis ​is ​the right in​-​between. Like I’ve never done the ​Bell ​C​ent​re​, like that’s huge, huge shit​.​ ​M​etropolis​, ​​​you’re still​ cozy with the crowd. You can still see faces. So that’s the right spot for me right now.”
“Understand” and “Feelings” are the first singles from the Montréal artist since the release of his critically acclaimed debut EP Spectrum last October. The collection of bombastic hip-hop beats crafted for his energetic live shows, introspective R&B slow jams elevated by his buttery vocals, and his signature rapid-fire rhymes put Zoya’s artistic chops on full display, solidifying him in hip-hop and R&B spheres both at home and abroad. Praised by established culture outlets such as Rolling Stone FranceThe Travis Mills Show on Apple MusicELLE Canada, HotNewHipHopExclaimComplex and Wonderland Magazine, Zoya was also named an “Artist to Watch in Hip-Hop and R&B” by EARMILK and one of the “10 Montréal R&B Singers You Should Be Checking For” by Okayplayer.

We caught up with Zach to chat about his music, other Montreal artists to check out, future plans and his favourite records of all time.

Watch our full interview with Zach Zoya below:

About Zach Zoya:
Growing up in the small, largely French-speaking city of Rouyn-Noranda northwest of Montréal, Zach Zoya developed a diverse musical palate from his family. Introduced to African music by his South African father who fled to Canada during apartheid, and North American soul and pop music by his French-Canadian mother, Zoya was immersed in rhythms and melodies that spoke to him even when the English lyrics didn’t. Though French was both Zoya’s first language and the one more established in the Montréal music scene, he’s rapped in English from the start of his career. Raised without a computer or television in a place with minimal hip-hop culture, Zoya first honed his flows by covering records by Kendrick Lamar and Drake, and credits learning the skill of rapping with improving his delivery as an all-around vocalist.

After establishing himself in the Montréal music scene by gaining the support of 7ième Ciel, a powerhouse label in French rap, collaborating with platinum producer High Klassified (Future, The Weeknd), Zoya partnered with Universal Music Canada and began releasing songs that showcased his signature blend of melodic hip-hop and emotive R&B. For his debut solo EP Spectrum, released in October of 2020, Zoya collaborated with heavy hitting Toronto producers: GRAMMY Award winner Boi-1da, JUNO Award winner Matthew Burnett, and Multi-Platinum selling producer Don Mills, as well as UK artist, songwriter and producer Angel (Frank Ocean, Moneybagg Yo, Stefflon Don), and Montréal producers Bougo and DTRWRK.

Showcasing the versatility of Zach Zoya’s artistry as a songwriter, singer and rapper, Spectrum earned critical acclaim from established culture outlets such as OkayplayerRolling Stone FranceThe Travis Mills Show on Apple MusicELLE Canada, HotNewHipHopComplexEARMILK and Wonderland Magazine and landed Zach on HipHopDX‘s “Best R&B Songs of 2020” and Complex‘s “10 Best Canadian Songs of the Month” lists. With the rare combination of versatile talent, charisma, and perspective, 23-year-old Zach Zoya is poised to be the next Canadian star to build a worldwide following.

Photo Credit: Drowster

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