Famous For Five Minutes: Zoning in on Zaki

2017-01-29 06:01

JohannesburgA great deal has changed since Zaki Ibrahim released her breakout 2012 album Every Opposite. City Press chats to the sci-fi-soul singer to find out what to expect from her forthcoming release - The Secret Life of Planets

First off, where have you been?

Wow, straight to the big question. Since the last album released in South Africa in 2012 and in Europe in 2013, I’ve been well. I’ve given birth, lost my father and written an album. It’s taken about three years, and for the past nine months I’ve been in Toronto, Canada, finishing the album. But a lot has happened...

So, has motherhood affected the way you look at music and your career?

I don’t think it’s affected the way I look at music, that’s still intact, but when you look at my career... Well, I guess when someone becomes a parent, conversations become shorter, you almost want to get to the point faster. So it’s kind of like figuring out what the best thing is that’s going to work, as well as something that’s going to allow you to hold on to your integrity, and be sustainable. I’ve had to look at the whole picture and think about what things are needed and important, and what’s not needed. So, in that sense, looking at my career, and music, and my career in music, it’s become a little more finite, and more honest in a way.

Did you have that sort of Hollywood-pregnant, my-career-is-dead sort of panic?

Well, I had a moment of panic when I found out I was pregnant. I was just like, ‘I’ve got so much to do, and there’s so much not done.’ But I think that the kind of artist and person that I am is about life. I think that art is a part of life, and that music is a part of the flow of life.

What can we expect from The Secret Life of Planets?

It’s taken a lot of research to figure out what the themes of the album, and those of life, are. But it tells the story of the planets. It’s the story of relativity. It talks about time not being linear and about all sorts of different underlying mystical themes, while being light-hearted and cheeky in parts.

What does the album sound like?

On production, it’s very analogue and synth-heavy. We used synthesisers from as early as 1962 till 1992. So, the hardware that’s in there has a kind of nostalgic sound. While I was writing the melodies, I really pulled on the sort of music that spans that time frame. People like Sun Ra and Mary J Blige, and then I included some more modern trap sounds. It’s kind of like a time machine.

It sounds like all of my favourite things in one album. Are you happy with how the album turned out?

I’m so excited, seriously. In a crazy way, I feel like my whole life has been turned inside out, and then inside again, you know, like doing this album put me back together again. So, many profound things happened recently – like becoming a mom, and losing my dad, just really big things. This album is a complete reflection of that, like giving myself a hug. I hope it will do the same for you when you listen to it.

. The Secret Life of Planets will be released at the end of March.

. Follow Zaki on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

. Zaki Ibrahim is performing live with Kenzhero and Kid Fonque on 4 February at And, 39 Gwi Gwi Mrwebi Street, Newtown.

. Tickets are R100 at the door and are available from quicket.co.za.

Read more on:    local music  |  music

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