Q&A: Zola Courtney

Zola Courtney is a 20 year old artist waiting to blow up. Her timeless voice and organic music is somewhat majestic. LOCK spoke to Zola ahead of the release of her debut single ‘Nothing To Lose’.

Hey Zola! How do you feel now  that ‘Nothing To Lose’ is out in the world?

I feel super excited but also quite nervous at the thought my song is out there for anyone to listen to. I’ve been writing and working on these songs for couple of years now and have anticipated this day but it still feels quite unreal! They’re very personal to me and the thought that people can listen to my lyrics and know about whats going on in my life is definitely something I’m going to have to get head round. However, I have an overriding feeling of excitement.

Are you nervous about releasing your debut EP? 

I am yes! I’m already worrying about what everyone I know is going to think of it but… I know that most important thing is that I love it and I’m really proud it. I think for artists, early releases are really important as they lay the groundwork and set the tone. For me, it was fundamentally important to get across who I am musically as an artist in this EP. The music I make is quite organic, honest and has a lot of live instrumentation.

What’s the inspiration behind the EP?

There wasn’t one thing specifically that inspired this E.P,  all of the songs have a sense of realness to what I’m singing about. I quite like that the songs are relatable. In one of them I’m singing about self-acceptance and being honest about who you are, and in the other I’m singing about a silly argument I had with my boyfriend. The E.P is a collection of different scenarios and feelings that I experienced, and put down on pen and paper and turned into songs.

Your sound is a hybrid of R&B and pop, do you have a particular genre your lean towards when writing?

I wouldn’t say I have a particular genre I lean towards when writing as I like to try different things in sessions, depending on my mood that day! I do however have a lot of songs that fit into the soul/R&B/Pop world but, I guess that’s because I listen to a lot of music in that style.

You’ve been playing a variety of shows this year, including Bushstock Music Festival. What’s your favourite thing about playing live?

I’m a nervous wreck before my gigs so my any sense of enjoyment usually comes towards the end of the set where I finally relax and wish I had another 10 more songs to sing. It’s a really special thing being able to sing your songs to people who want to listen and that’s probably my favourite part about doing live shows. I do also love the free drinks you get bought by family and friends when you come off stage!

There’s a vulnerability to your lyrics that’s highly captivating, what’s your most favourite lyric you’ve ever written? 

I’m not sure if it’s my most favourite lyric I’ve ever written but I quite like the line, ‘still we can’t be angry for more than a day or two, and silence lingers until we both get bored of being cruel’ which is in the song Air in B major on the E.P.

Finally, karaoke… what’s your go to karaoke song? 

We Are Family by Sister Sledge.

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Q&A: Zola Courtney
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