Interview: Zeroni

Zeroni is a D.C. singer/songwriter with a few tricks up her sleeve. After  removing her existence from the world of social media and frequently deleting music off of Soundcloud, the creative found herself back on our radar after hearing "Tell Me," a collaboration with producer Cautious Clay. We caught up with Zeroni to talk about how to collaboration came about, why she decided to leave social media, taking her time creating her upcoming EP "13,' and much more. Read below for more on Zeroni. z2

CSDC: Let’s jump right in. Your voice is sweet, soulful and your music takes a lot of elements from jazz. Tell us about the origins of your influence.

Zeroni: I grew up listening to a lot of Nina Simone, my dad really liked her. I listened to a lot of Nora Jones. I went to one of her shows in DC when I was really little, I think that is one of my favorite memories growing up.

CSDC: So, you do flips and covers of songs all the time on your Soundcloud, but what is your songwriting process?

Zeroni: Not too many covers! I have “Can’t You Tell,” which is a Ginuwine cover. “Further” is a cover of Drake’s “Karaoke."  My songwriting process usually starts from poetry. I would take whatever I write and make it a song. I usually freestyle, too. Most of my music is freestyle. Most of it is recorded on my man's laptop on his mic. We would go through free beats on YouTube, or other beats that my friend sends me, and I would freestyle. I like how it comes out when I freestyle, it's more natural and works better for me. I usually do it in one take, so it's better if I just jump in and say what I have to say.

CSDC: Speaking of songwriting, you recently collaborated with Cautious Clay on "Tell Me.” It now has 28k streams on Soundcloud. How did that come about? Can we expect anything else from you two together?   Zeroni: I wrote the song before I had a beat for it, and he said he would make the bear around my voice. That’s really not how I do it all, so we really butted heads has it first. I actually wrote the song last year and I thought we were going to finish and release long last summer, but it didn't happen. It was originally called "Whale Rider." After that, we didn't really keep in touch. We had a little bit of a falling out. When it got released this summer, my friend messaged me and was like "I heard it's your new song with Cautious Clay!"CSDC: So you guys weren't in contact at the time of its release?

Zeroni: We were not in contact at all, no.  As for the future, we probably will not be doing anything together after “Tell Me.” Not in a bad way, of course. No bad blood! I'm just happy that the song has done really well and Josh that is doing his thing.

CSDC: You kind of fell off of the face of the earth of social media. What led you to making that choice?

Zeroni: I was in a relationship at the time, that I just got out of, and I was like "I kind of want to get away from that. I want to start over, focus on my music. If I want to do activism stuff, then it will have to be something else." Now, I'm doing a podcast, but that's more about love. Not to be cheesy or hippie, but I realized that, getting away from the social media stuff, everything is really all about love and how we react to each other. Not only with opposite sexes, but also with people in our own families, our own communities. I was also super angry [on social media] at the time, I’m just not in that angry place anymore. I wasn't angry all the time, but I'm super emotional, and it just added fuel to the fire. I miss Twitter and I loved being on Twitter, but it's kind of like a time has come and gone.

z1 copy CSDC: The last we heard from you, you were traveling back and forth between D.C. and Cuba. What do you think Cuba gave to your musical experience that D.C. didn’t?

Zeroni: I feel like America in general is very strict in how people have to make music, instead of just jumping in to create because you’re feeling the vibe. In Cuba, if you hear some music, you're welcome to just jump in and add your own instruments or vocals. You definitely have a voice in the music. Cuba has a heavy jazz influence too, which I loved.

CSDC: What’s next for Zeroni?

Zeroni: This podcast and new music! The basis of the podcast is just talking about the different signs and helping people understand themselves, as well as other people in their lives. A lot of people are confused about this change in Zodiac signs, which is not really a change, we now just have better information on the 13th sign, so I’m excited to explore and get deeper into that. I’m excited because it’s my place to talk about astrology. I really wanted to have a place where I can express myself without feeling like I have to talk about things I'm not into.

IMG_0378-1 As for new music, I'm working on a project called "13" right now. It's going to be out in October - sometime mid October, around my sister's birthday on October 13. I was born on March 13 and my mom was born on December 13, so it's kind of crazy. "13" is going to be about woman and being a woman. When you're 13, that's when you "become a woman."  For a lot of us, that's when you get your period for the firs time and you start going through changes. I freestyle my other stuff, which I still love because it is still an expression, but on "13," I'm taking my time. I'm writing everything, using old poems, even some from middle school. I'm really taking this project seriously because I feel like I haven't given people my best, best work. I've shown people that I can sing, I can write. I haven't showed what I can do when I sit down, take my time, and really focus on the music. I'm excited for that to come.

All photos taken by Ilhan Alyanak for Capitol Sound DC. You can keep up with Zeroni on Twitter (ran by a few different friends) at @ZeroniUpdates. You can find all of Zeroni's music on her Soundcloud below.


InterviewsAngelie Benn