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zella day: the laterals magazine


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Let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like a good music festival. It’s all about that moment when the sun falls, a dusty breeze surrounds you and music fills the fiery desert sky. There’s a romance to it all; and music lovers will employ militant tactics to ensure they don’t miss it. With strategy and precision, they’ll make their way to a beer garden and jet across the fairgrounds just in time to catch the last 10 minutes of a set. Capturing that moment is everything.

Songstress ZELLA DAY has become a familiar name on lineups across the globe, catching fire with her windswept charm and organic sound. Zella’s debut album titled Kicker has been described by KCRW as, “something that [just] pops… bright and well arranged.” To be released June 2nd, it embodies indie folk pop that merges with a soulful glamour that is uniquely modern and captivating. Zella Day is destined to become a household name. Her music, her words, her incandescent presence will make you come running… and stay for an encore.

Zella, we know that music has been the very foundation of your life. Share with us a moment when you realized music was everything to you.
When I packed my bags to move to California, I wasn’t apprehensive or afraid in the least bit. I was leaving everything I knew for something a little more imprecise, but music was my beacon of light in the murky waters of LA. I didn’t move to this unfamiliar city with “what ifs”, the songs I wrote gave me clarity. With music to depend on, I never felt like a stranger in this new world.

As they often say, “the struggle is real”. How have you found the motivation to keep pursuing your dream?
I created a lifestyle that is absorbed in art and I’m deeply engrained in it. There has never been a question in my mind as to whether I will keep this up or not. I don’t live with specifics in mind and I don’t discount any possibilities my journey may encounter. Because there isn’t just one-way to define success. When it comes to all of the ups and downs my career might take, I keep a very open-mind. It allows me to not live in fear of the harder times. I don’t need motivation to do what I love.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
Bob Dylan and Arthur Rimbaud for words. Michael Jackson and Janis Joplin for voices. Mick Jagger and Tina Turner for stage presence. Jane Birkin and Brigid Bardot for sex appeal. Gloria Steinem and Patti Smith for girl power. Mom and sister for insight.

If we were to look through your iPod right now, what would we find?
Air’s album, Talkie Walkie, on repeat.

You’ve been living in LA for a few years, has it become home to you?
It’s become some kind of home. I’ve moved twice within the past six months, which has made me a little weary of feeling completely stable. It probably doesn’t help that our new landlords don’t necessarily love us. I moved to Long Beach before living in LA, which serves as a type of “hometown” since my mom still lives there. I’ve got a sweet little spot in East LA right now, but who knows where I’ll be stashing my life in the next couple years.

We love your sense of style. It’s raw, romantic, bohemian and effortless. Is there a fashion moment in your past that you wish you could forget completely?
Hmmm…. there’s a good couple of years worth of moments I would like to forget. I’ve always been the same girl with the same tastes but when I was living in a small town, I was limited to what I had access to, both for shopping and inspiration. We didn’t have a mall in town so when I got within close proximity of one, I stocked up on all of the Hollister shirts I could get my hands on.

You have such a beautiful air of wanderlust in you. What does going on tour, sharing your first EP mean to you?
This is a new phase of my music. I’ve dug deep within the realms of writing and recording, and now it’s time for the sharing part. Finally! I’m so lucky that my passion has taken me far enough to be able to play for people around the world and I am lost for words. I’m enjoying the ride.

You have performed alongside some incredible musicians. Have you ever had a “fangirl” moment you can share with us?
Haha yes. Duh. I went to the Fonda to see Jack White play. I wore my prairie dress in honor of him and Nashville. I stood front row completely unprepared to cry as much as I did…. embarrassed.

If music weren’t on the table, what do you think you’d be doing?
If I weren’t a performer, then I would focus on something different within the music industry. I’m fascinated by producing and session work. I wouldn’t be opposed to mastering an instrument to play in other people’s bands. I wouldn’t do anything too distant from myself; I’ve got to be a part of it somehow.

What do you want your music to leave behind when you are gone?
I want to leave behind a repertoire of albums, each unique in their aesthetics. I want my music to evolve in such a way that doesn’t confine me to any one genre. I want to try a lot of sounds on for size. I want to be able to create other works of art to broaden the horizon for my messages, things such as films and founding of music festivals. I hope to inspire other young women to trust their intuitions and creative spirits.

If you could give a little piece of your wisdom to your fans, what would it be?
I would say to not take yourself so seriously. There’s always room to mess up and laugh at yourself a little bit. When you are up on stage nobody wants you to fail, for failure on stage makes for an uncomfortable audience. Everyone is secretly rooting for each other ;)

Last but not least, what song can you just not get out of your head these days?
Electric Love by BØRNS.