In Talks With South London’s Rising Hit-Maker: ZieZie!
14 Aug 2020
Hailing from South London, ZieZie has proven himself over the last few years to be one of the UK’s emerging hit-makers; with various boast-worthy features alongside Aitch, King Critical, S1mba, Stylo G and not to mention his most prominent song to date ‘Fine Girl’, that’s currently sat at just under 60 million streams on Spotify alone – it’s clear ZieZie is here to stay! Known for his up-beat, charismatic and all-round feel good releases, ZieZie has never been an artist that you can box into one specific genre. Not afraid to prove his versatility, the rising star has gained millions of streams across all platforms, and secured over 1.6 million Spotify monthly listeners, with only a handful of releases behind him and an eclectic variety of remixes – hopefully we can expect a project sometime soon!
At the end of last month, ZieZie joined forces with S1mba and Stylo G for their anthematic single titled, ‘Worth It’. We recently caught up with the rising hit-maker and asked him the following questions…
I’d really like to start by touching on your upbringing, to my understanding you grew up in Chessington and then moved to Croydon at a young age and looked after your siblings. What was your upbringing like? How were you introduced to music?
My upbringing was normal – nothing crazy! I grew up in a nice household, with a nice family around my Mum and Dad. When I was 12, my dad passed away and that’s when the dynamics of the household changed. From when I was 12 onwards, my life was a rocky one! I was the only boy in the house, it was my older sister, my mother and my younger sister; it was the three of us. I had to make sure I didn’t disappoint my mum in any type of way, get locked up or do crazy things to make her disappointed, because she had already been through enough. From that age up until now, I was trying to find something that makes sense for me, any little thing I could do to help I did – I spent most of my life trying to find my way around; I didn’t go out too much, I stayed at my house in my room – my room was like my den! It was good because it kept me out of a lot of trouble, I got into a bit of trouble now and there; especially in school but apart from that I was a good kid!
My main focus growing up, was to look after my mum and sisters. When I reached the age of 18, that’s when I started getting into music! Before, I was more into acting because I did it as a GCSE and got an A*! I didn’t get much of a good grade in the others, but I did well in Drama! *laughs* I thought I was going to pursue something in that but when I went to college it seemed a lot harder than I had presumed, so I sticked to carpentry and left Drama alone for a bit. Later, that’s when music came back up again! I was seeing people sitting back doing nothing; doing something that I could do, so I thought I might as well give it a go! I went to the studio to record my first song, which my neighbour at the time paid for, who is one of my current managers. I put out my first song, people loved it and that’s when things took off!
“Fine Girl’”really elevated your career, and I heard in a previous interview that it helped change not only yours but your family’s life as well. Did you ever anticipate how big this single would grow? It was the summer anthem of 2018!
Back in the day, when I went to the booth it was more about having fun, so I never really put to much pressure on myself to make a hit, I just wanted to put a song out and hope for the best. The first ever song that did a million views was “Mingle” and “Fine Girl” was the third or fourth song I had put out! I put “Fine Girl” up on my channel and it got taken down, luckily, I had some good supporters and they posted it on a lyric’s channel so that’s where all the views started coming from. People started taking notice of it and that’s when labels started hitting me up and they pushed it even more into a proper hit – I was proper appreciative of that! At first, I was doing quite well even without a label in the beginning but going with the label gave me that extra push!
Certain artists when they have their first hit single, tend to lose the same focus and drive they’d originally started with. Were you aware of the music business prior to launching your career or did you learn along the way?
I definitely learned along the way! It’s way more intense than I thought it would be! I am the type of person to think of the worst before I think of the good things; you are always going to know how to react to something good, whether it’s a surprise or a present, because you can say ‘Thankyou!’ and take it. However, if something bad happens and you don’t know what to do, that’s when you’re in a sticky situation. I am good at dealing with any bad situations, luckily, I had that trait about myself and was able to carry myself through it! But yeah man, not what I expected!
What have you learnt so far? Is there anything you would say to emerging artists wanting to pursue a similar route to you?
After all the songs are out and you get to perform them – it’s such a good feeling! Especially when you’ve been in the studio for hours and people are singing back to your songs word for word – it’s worth all the hustle and stress in the studio, to actually get on stage and perform the song you recorded!
Looking back on your entire catalogue, not one song sounds the same! You are an extremely versatile artist – What kind of artists were you listening to when you grew up?
Back in the day, I avoided listening to too much UK music; there is a difference if you listen to American music because you won’t really sound too much like them! You might have their accent a tiny bit in your song, but you do not sound like them! My thing is, if I listen to too many UK artists, I will start sounding like them, act like them and be compared to them – the melodies are just engraved in my head! I will usually listen to Post Malone, Da Baby, Future, Lil Durk, J.I and Lil Tjay – even Justin Bieber sometimes!
Hahah a bit of JB!
Yeah got to listen to a bit of JB! *laughs*
Earlier this year you collaborated with King Critical on “Flow” – a very unexpected but dope feature! How did this one come about?
I was just chilling my room, being in the industry for so long it can sometimes make you think a type of way when it comes to recording your music. So, I thought let me take a step back and do things how I used to, and I was listening to a few beats on YouTube. I heard this one beat and it instantly caught my attention, I thought it sounded like a TikTok beat, I thought TikTok is going off right now and no one has really made a song especially for TikTok so I might as well jump in the booth and record it! I recorded it and I was preein’ on TikTok to see who has songs that are poppin’ on there so I could get them as a feature. I saw King Critical had a million videos done with one of his own songs, so I hit him up and gladly he replied, we took it from there and he jumped on it!
You have mastered the formula for making a hit! Every single song you have is a banger! What is the key to making a hit song in your eyes?
The key for making a hit song is your spirit and how you see it in yourself. You might put out a song that you find to be good, because that’s how some artists work but sometimes its perceived differently to other people. As long as you never let comments or critics get to you too tough, it keeps your motivation going so you carry on recording songs. If you let people get to you, that’s when it will start draining you and it will show through your music because you aren’t putting in as much effort! You need to make sure you always have your spirits up, keep positive and the bangers will come naturally!
You recently dropped “Worth It” alongside S1mba and Stylo G – Why these features in particular? What inspired this track?
I am a very random person! Usually people play it safe, they have one genre that works for them and they continue with that. I could do that, sometimes people prefer the Afro side to my music but at the same time I could do a different genre and it could accidentally take off. I don’t want to do just one thing; I don’t want to be stuck in one category of music because I can do a lot!
“Worth It”; I had a session a few months ago with one of the producers behind “Life Is Good” with Drake and Future. After that session, he sent me a few beats and “Work It” was one of them and I recorded it! When it comes to music, I like to be realistic and talk about things that I can either afford or do – so I don’t go too crazy! I was just going with my imagination and put the tune down! With S1mba, I already had a song with him for “Rover”, so we had a mutual connection from there and Stylo G, I had a few sessions with him before. I showed him the song, S1mba had already put down his verse so I thought I might as well put it down! My manager was moving hesitant saying ‘Save him for the remix!’ but I was like nah! He didn’t want me to show him the song, but he liked it and sounded sick, got the video recorded and put it out!
The visuals for this track are super fun! I love the whole roller-skating idea, it’s very refreshing to see! What made you decide this concept? Did you have a vision for the visuals when you were recording it?
My inspiration for this track was “Taste” with Offset and Tyga, I saw in the video that they had some girls skating. I am quite a practical person – I don’t know how to skate, so I thought I might have a go and be the one on the skates as well! The director showed us a few ideas for the video and that was one of the ideas and I really liked it, so we just went with that one! I like my videos being very colorful and creative!
I have noticed under quite a few of your videos that people like to refer to you as ‘underrated’ – Would you agree with this statement or do you find it frustrating?
I 100% agree with those comments! What is it with me, I’m not a people’s person in a sense that you can be a superstar and there’s a lot of people that are good at talking and want to show their personality. I would rather put my music out and not have people know too tough about me unless they look to deep into it – I like my privacy. This music stuff is good, but you don’t have that much privacy, you have to be careful where you go because people know who you are and I forget this! I’ll be going to Morrisons and forget! *laughs* So I need to put out more songs and be where I need to be, rather than people know me too tough.
What else can we expect to see from you this 2020? Can we expect a project anytime soon?
The project is most definitely coming! This sun just needs to get a little bit dimmer and then I’ll drop a nice mellow project for winter so look out for that one!
Keep up to date with all things ZieZie via his Instagram here.