Boston singer songwriter/pop artist Zola Simone hit some dreamed of milestones in 2021
Performers on the Go blogger, Marcia J. Macres, was able to connect with one of Boston’s rising stars, Zola Simone, to interview her about her recent awards and accomplishments.
This 18-year-old singer-songwriter combines her passion for music, with her raw lyrics of real-life experiences, and creates a unique and refreshing sound of indie, pop, and R&B in her new album, 'Now You See Me' , that is close to 1M plays on Spotify!
2021 was a year packed with many milestones from streams, a debut album, major awards, to her admittance to her top choice school, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU fall of 2022. Zola had a plan early in the pandemic to expand the visibility of her music, and went for it with extreme commitment and focus, entering the studio after busy all day Zoom classes, to record her new songs. Now You See Me, is a crystal clear mix of songs about Zola's transitions in life, relationship struggles/survival, honest emotions, and self love. When asked about the album's intentions, she indicated it was her time to be "real about me".
POTG ~ Congratulations on being nominated for FOUR Boston Music Awards 2021 last month for: 1) New Artist of the Year, 2) Pop Artist of the Year, 3) Album of the Year, and 4) Song of the Year. And for WINNING two of those awards: New Artists of the Year and Song of the Year for 'Easy'. It is so very exciting to see young performers getting the attention they deserve for the major effort they put into songwriting, recording, and marketing their craft. Tell us how you feel about these latest accomplishments/awards.
ZOLA SIMONE ~ I’m beyond excited, thrilled, and grateful about winning two awards. I’ve never really won anything before, much less something that means something and that I’ve worked so hard on. My whole album is about how people don’t see or understand the real me, and to have that be publicly celebrated and awarded means everything, because it’s this city embracing me and not just my songs.
POTG ~ What is your favorite memory from the awards ceremony?
ZOLA SIMONE ~ My best memory was definitely singing 'Just Business.' It’s my Nana’s favorite song of mine. She was in the crowd and I dedicated the song to her. These past two years have been really hard for everyone in my family, but especially her, and it took a lot for her to be there. I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything, and I know she feels the same.
POTG ~ Tell us about your Song of the Year 'Easy'? It already has more than 462,000 plays on Spotify. What is this song about, and where did you get your inspiration for the lyrics?
ZOLA SIMONE ~ Song of the Year 'Easy'. That feels crazy to say. Well 'Easy' is essentially the song that 'blew me up' so to speak. A small explosion, but still an explosion nonetheless. I wrote it about two characters from the Netflix show 'Atypical' and their relationship. It got featured in the last episode of the show, which is definitely one of my highlights of the year (and life).
POTG ~ What have you done during this pandemic to work on your music?
ZOLA SIMONE ~ I’ve done everything during the pandemic to work on my music. I started working with three-time Boston Music Awards 'Producer of the Year', The Arcitype, on my album 'Now You See Me' only one month before COVID hit, so the whole album was pretty much created, and promoted during the pandemic.
POTG ~ What are your musical goals for 2022?
My musical goals for next year! I’m so excited! I’m going to be releasing lots of singles, putting out another music video (soon!) and hopefully collaborate a lot more. I’m off to NYU at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, so I’m looking forward to all the new opportunities of expanding, growing and making music there! I love film and television and the way soundtracks play into the experience, so I would love to get another song of mine in a TV show. Who knows! One of my biggest hopes for this year is that the pandemic will go away so I will be able to get out there and perform live more often.
POTG ~ Where can people listen/buy your music?
ZOLA SIMONE ~ You can find my music on my website at https://zolasimonemusic.com/music/ or on Spotify, Apple Music, ITunes, Amazon, YouTube- all streaming platforms basically!
POTG ~ I see you have some cool merchandise for sale. What does the eye on your merch represent? How can fans buy a shirt?
ZOLA SIMONE ~ The eye stands for being seen. It is simple, but also big and bold. To me it represents everything Now You See Me is. Being seen in the world, and taking pride in your identity no matter what other people think. You can buy a shirt at https://musicspace.xyz/artist/zolasimone/#merch. Every purchase comes with free Zola Simone stickers as well :)
POTG ~ What advice can you give to other young performers on how to follow your successful path?
ZOLA SIMONE ~ My advice is to find people who support you and lift you up. I’m fortunate and privileged to have people in my life who do those things, but I know not everyone has that. So find your people. It might take a while, but ultimately connection is the most important part of being successful and being happy in general. Put yourself out there, and doors will open. I couldn’t have gotten this far without my family and my colleagues/friends in music.
Below is a summary of some of her accomplishments, all achieved during the Covid pandemic, followed by a selection of quotes from recent PR articles.
872,260 Streams on 10 released songs
Admitted to Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU fall of 2022 https://tisch.nyu.edu/clive-davis-institute
Nominated for 4 Boston Music Awards and winner of 2 awards; "New artist of the year", "Song of the year"
Featured artist at the 2021 Boston Music Awards
Featured in 17+ PR articles
Year in Review: Vanyaland’s 21 favorite Boston songs of 2021; "Not like other girls" (See below)
"Now you see me" Featured in the series finale of Netflix's 'Atypical.'
Since writing her first song when she was only 12 years old, Zola Simone has only improved her style and writing abilities — mastering her craft. Her music has been her coping method for her struggles with anxiety and bullying, and she’s no stranger to judgment as an LGBTQ+ woman. With a steady flow of releases, Simone continues to prove she’s a contender amongst her contemporaries. Her song “Easy,” made such an impression that it was featured on the hit Netflix series, Atypical, in the series finale, which aired July 9, 2021.-Rock n' Load Magazine
That's an essential verse to understanding this album. Simone — with the always impeccable production of three-time Boston Music Award “Producer of the Year” Janos “The Arcitype” Fulop — crosses a lot of lines. There's a lot of pop and R&B in there, some touches of rock and nuvo-folk, but what drives this album is its sheer unguarded honesty. “Yeah, teen angst, ain’t it great,” sings Simone, in “Old Soul,” “Bottle up all the rage/Just another growing pain … Whole lot of tough talk/But never walk the walk/So scared to come out your cage.”-Worcester Magazine
For 18-year-old singer-songwriter, Zola Simone, music is much more than just a passion; it’s a way to make sense of the world and move through the ever-changing conditions of life. Her unique and refreshing sound that blends indie, pop, and R&B matched with her raw, vulnerable, and honest lyrics is what sets her apart from many of her peers.-Mundane Magazine
The meaning of Now You See Me lies in the title itself,” says Simone. “It’s about me finally maturing, growing up, and putting my whole true self out there for the world to see, and most importantly, not caring about how that’s perceived. It’s about just being.”
With catchy tunes, an intimate, distinctive voice, creative range and an innate ability for expressing isolation and frustration with society’s design flaws, Simone is on point throughout the new collection.-The Randy Report
Zola Simone might have taken home hardware at the Boston Music Awards for her song “Easy,” but let’s not overlook the snark that snuck into her August album Now You See Me via “Not Like Other Girls.” Simone’s gloves-off breakup pop gripes about a fame-hungry phony who “reeked of privilege and Urban Outfitters perfume” (they’re nearly the same thing, no?). Somehow, somewhere, the joke’s on her; Simone’s made one girl’s charade into a caustic deep cut that’s racking up replays on Spotify.-Vanyaland
Zola has set goals and has taken every step she takes with her music seriously and with a dedicated plan. We expect to see her visibility and streams continue to rise, and new music to keep on flowing.
You may follow Zola on social media and on her website.