Photo by: @bekahthehedgephoto
An interview with ZIIRI:
Dennis: Good day ZIIRI, how are you?
ZIIRI: I’ve got an iced coffee, and I used a bouncy ball as a desk chair today so… I feel like it goes without saying that I’m doing great.
Dennis: I would like to start off by congratulating you on the release of ‘Weird Energy’ last month and to also with you a very belated Happy Birthday… I hope your Birthday was as awesome as the reception to your album streams…!! Now that your album is out, how does it feel for you to have it out there for everyone to enjoy?
ZIIRI: Thank you! I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift than all of my friends and family showing up to celebrate the end of a year-long project with me. Best b’day ever.
It feels… well, it felt like a huge relief to finally finish the album, but I’m quickly realizing the “end,” in fact, isn’t. Not that I’m complaining! I can’t think of a more satisfying way to be totally overwhelmed. The response has been so crazy for me.
Dennis: What does the full album ‘Weird Energy’ encompass for you as an artist? What was your artistic goal with it, did you achieve the goal and/or exceed your goal?
ZIIRI: This album was such a catharsis for me. I wanted to create something honest, introspective, and without compromise, and I can definitely say I’ve done that.
I wrote a lot of these songs when I was in a fairly dark place in my early 20s. I kinda came drunkenly stumbling into adulthood with no fucking clue what to do, who to be, or how to deal. It sounds lame, but it’s been really healing to reflect on those life moments while making the EP and see how much I’ve grown personally and artistically.
This was also the first time I’ve had full creative control over a project, which was awesome!
Dennis: ‘Drowning’ is my favorite song so far, followed by ‘Sometimes I Try’, how long did it take to put the album together (from writing each song to recording to release)?
ZIIRI: That’s awesome! I love my moody, broody babies, so I’m stoked to hear those are your favorite.
The EP was about six years in the making, although the initial writing process was really quick for most of the songs. I actually I wrote the lyrics for ‘Sometimes I Try’ on the way to the studio session. Most of them just sat in production purgatory forever while I tried to find the right team for the job. I recorded the demo version of ‘Drowning’ (which you can listen to at https://soundcloud.com/ziiri) way back in 2013, but we didn’t record the final version until this January. Major props to my sound engineer, Chris Lane, and The Sound Machine studio in Atlanta for helping me bring these songs to life!
Dennis: What do you want fans to walk away with after listening to the album?
ZIIRI: That everything sucks, I guess? Haha. In all seriousness, ‘Sometimes I Try’ really says it best. You aren’t perfect, life is hard and often harder, keep going anyway.
Dennis: Who did you have performing on the album with you?
ZIIRI: Some wonderfully talented friends produced the electronic tracks, and I did all the vocals and lyrics. I’m particularly proud of the title track ‘Weird Energy’ because it was originally all a cappella. It has about 30 unique vocal stems in it and was a nightmare to mix. (Bless you, Chris, you auditory wizard.)
Special shout out to my newest writing partner, Pedro Caldas, for his work on ‘Watch You Move.’ That drop is everything.
Dennis: Do you have plans for an official video release to follow this up?
ZIIRI: I do! Still in early stages, but my goal is to release a video for ‘Stuck On You’ this year.
Shameless plug while you’re here, dear reader: if you want to help me make that goal a reality, please consider becoming a Patron! You’ll have my undying love and gratitude and maybe we become best friends and grow old and move into a house in Miami and okay, this is just the plot of The Golden Girls now. https://www.patreon.com/teamziiri.
Dennis: Tell me a bit about yourself and your career as a whole, when did you get started and what instruments do you currently create your masterpieces with?
ZIIRI: I’ve been singing my whole life! My mom likes to tell this (totally true, I’m sure) story about how I got on a restaurant table as a toddler once and started singing Patsy Cline. I wrote my first song in 5th grade and wrote a ton of piano pop in high school. I started moving toward a more electronic sound in college but really solidified my style in 2017 when I wrote my debut single ‘Hold’ with LA-based producer Keyspan.
While I still play a bit of piano, these days I mainly do vocals and lyrics and let my team handle the instrumentals (and put up with the potato-quality a cappella audio clips I text them, bless their hearts.)
Dennis: Have you taken any lessons for your vocals?
ZIIRI: I took lessons as a kid but mostly self-taught through YouTube and obsessively singing every song Sia has ever released.
Dennis: What have been some of the biggest challenges you have personally faced and overcome thus far in your career?
ZIIRI: Challenge 1: Being a morning bird in a night owl’s world. I love performing, but staying up late for gigs when my lil’ granny self was ready for bed three hours ago is just… why? WHY. It’s 11pm on a Tuesday and I’m not in bed in a onesie and this is an outrage.
Challenge 2: Learning the business half of the music business. I studied finance and marketing in college, but didn’t know the first thing about applying those skills to the music industry when I first started. I’ve put a ton of work into building my brand from the ground up; I love the sense of accomplishment and the chance to learn something new every day.
Dennis: How would you describe the Birmingham music scene, does it offer you a fair amount of venues to showcase your wonderful music in?
ZIIRI: The Birmingham scene is awesome! I sometimes stick out like a sore thumb doing electronic pop music in this town, but I love the community. There are so many fantastic indie artists and venues and production teams embracing that DIY life around here.
Dennis: Do you currently have, or are you seeking management at this time?
ZIIRI: No management team yet, but definitely looking to partner with the right fit.
Dennis: How are you – (and will you be) marketing ‘Weird Energy’?
ZIIRI: I like to describe my sound as “sad girl vibes, dream pop beats.” Like, “Did you grow up listening to MCR on the school bus and now you’re an adult who’s still a little prone to melancholy but you also like to dance? Buy this EP!”
As far as spreading the word, I’ve been focused on digital streaming platforms and staying as active as I can on social media. I think it’s so cool to have that direct connection with my fans. I’m most active on Spotify, Instagram (@ziiri_music), and ReverbNation, so come hang out with me on those platforms!
Dennis: How have your experiences been in the music industry (working with producers, booking agents, etc.)?
ZIIRI: I’ve hit a couple snags along the way, but for the most part I’ve been really lucky to work with passionate, professional people. Honestly, the most frustrating roadblock I’ve run into so far is that I can’t seem to get “ZIIRI” in all caps on some platforms, so I guess I’m getting off pretty easy as setbacks go.
Dennis: In the short time I’ve gotten to know you as an artist, I have to say, you’re inspiring me… from your lyrics and music, to your outgoing personality and fashion sense to shout-outs to fellow musicians and desire to help animal shelters and LGBTQ+ youth programs; I respect all this in you. You radiate a very positive vibe in all you do and I think a lot of your fans and prospective fans can see that too.. keep it up! Now… with all that said… do you find yourself ever struggle to stay positive from day to day?
ZIIRI: Thank you! Pfffft, a thousand times Y-E-S. My inner monologue is basically Liz Lemon. Having said that, I’m a firm believer in the “fake it ’til you make it” method. Action precedes motivation, right? Express gratitude, then feel grateful. Go work out, then feel energized, that kind of thing. I do my best to put out the energy that I want from other people.
Dennis: Aside from promoting ‘Weird Energy’, what do you have lined up for the rest of 2019?
ZIIRI: I have a few bonus tracks and singles planned for later this year, a TV interview, a Skip-the-line audition for The Voice, and a new collab called ‘Sunshine’ with the artist SHIVA. I can’t wait for that one to come out! It’s so groovy. And that first writing session we did as a group was just – ugh! It was magic. By far the most fun I’ve ever had co-writing.
Dennis: What are some long term goals and other desired ventures you’d like to accomplish one day in the future?
ZIIRI: Win the music lottery with an overnight viral blow up a la Billie Eilish. Ya know, realistic achievable goals and such.
Actual answer: get on the road! I’m focusing on festivals for 2020, and I’d love to do a West Coast tour. Beyond that, who knows? Score a publishing deal, write that memoir, actually do stand-up comedy instead of just writing jokes in my notes app, maybe start my own lace-front wig line? I’m leaving it open.
Dennis: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions today, I really appreciate it and wish you all the best for you in your music career and your dreams!
ZIIRI: Thanks Dennis!
ZIIRI is the brainchild of Zoe Vaziri, a woman who’s desperately hoping you never find that one emo poem she put on her MySpace blog in 2006.
Lyrically drawing on break ups, f*ck ups, and the self-destruction of quarter-life crises, ZIIRI seamlessly blends vulnerable vocals with dance beats from a global team of producers and collaborators. Her debut EP (coming May 2019) entitled “Weird Energy” features dreamy stoner pop vocals with dynamic harmonies and r&b undertones.
She is currently keeping busy prepping for the EP release, playing shows across the Southeast, and forever picking dog hair off of her clothes. ZIIRI is passionate about queer visibility and animal rescue and hopes to use her platform to help local shelters and LGBTQ+ youth programs. To stay up to date on the latest shenanigans, follow
ziiri_music on IG, join the mailing list, or become a Patron by visiting https://www.patreon.com/teamziiri.