Talking About What Matters Most with Zella Day

Not that I’m necessarily the best person for prophesying these kinds of things, but Zella Day definitely deserves to be the next great pop star… And not only that,...

Not that I’m necessarily the best person for prophesying these kinds of things, but Zella Day definitely deserves to be the next great pop star… And not only that, but the next pop star that is actually worthy of your attention.  The songstress, who hails from Arizona but resides in LA, writes songs that can embrace the sass of the best kinds of R&B and the charmingly sour disposition of the ‘80s darkest, synth-driven pop; however, at her most stripped, she shows a capacity for simple and delectable, and simply delectable, indie folk pop (Not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy her swagger, but this might actually be where she shines brightest.)  Last Fall saw the release of Zella’s self-titled debut EP and her debut LP, Kicker, is set to drop on June 2nd.  Zella Day is about to hit the road for a string of tour dates that start here, this Saturday, April 18th, at our very own Ortlieb’s, and which are presently set to conclude on June 18th at the Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware.  Earlier this week Zella and I got in a brief chat in which she told me all about her music and the things that ultimately matter to her.

Izzy Cihak: You’ve already achieved quite a bit, despite your professional musical career still being in its relatively early stages.  What have been the highlights of your career so far?

Zella Day: The highlights thus far have been finishing my first record, having people sing along with me at shows, and learning about myself through my passion.

Izzy: On a similar note, have you had any particular favorite reactions to your work?

Zella: The one that stands out to me was when my little sister finally approved of my music by putting it on her phone. She was always so dismissive until I started writing songs like “Sweet Ophelia.” That really sparked her interest.

Izzy: Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about you as an artist and your approach to writing and recording music?

Zella: Everything in my life I hold to be important or sacred is threaded in the songs.

Izzy: And you’re debut LP, Kicker, is about to drop this June.  What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences?

Zella: This record is my story of moving from Arizona out to LA only to realize that Arizona will always be at the root of who I am. I’m proud of the place that created the person I am today, and to show my gratitude I injected the album with as much of the cultural beauty as I possibly could.

Izzy: Both your music videos and your own personal sense of fashion are quite cool.  What is it that inspires the visual elements of your work?  Any particular favorite visual artists or style icons?  The video for “Hypnotic” is meant to reference The Holy Mountain by Jodorowsky, right?

Zella: I’m intaking as much art as I can right now, which I believe elevates my artistic sensibilities. I’ve been very influenced by the 60’s and 70’s eras, as well as French New Wave film.

Izzy: You’re going to be playing a headlining show in Philadelphia later this week.  What can be expected of the live experience?

Zella: If it was planned it wouldn’t be as fun. I’m looking forward to connecting with the people in the room.

Izzy: And how are you hoping and planning to spend the second half of 2015?

Zella: I’ll be seeing you again on my headlining tour.


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.