Q1 – Thanks for stopping by to politick with us. I was reading that you are originally from the Boston area? Where abouts? Can you discuss your background and how you fell in love with music?
Thanks for having for me! Yes I’m from Dorchester–born and raised. I grew up listening to my parents blast old school R&B tunes all around the house and I started singing along to them. Before I knew it I was performing and discovered a love for not only making music, but sharing it with the world.
Q2 – Can you talk about your artist name?
My artist name Zakiyyah is also my birth name. My father put a lot of thought into my name. It’s an Arabic name that’s also used in many African countries and means “one growing in purity and intelligence”.
Q3 – Who would you compare yourself to musically?
I’m an extremely versatile artist and for that reason alone, there’s no one artist that I can point to and say “this person’s sound is similar to mine”. However, one of my musical inspirations is Lauryn Hill. I love how she uses music to speak about important issues but in a fun, non-preachy way, and that’s what I aspire to do with my own music.
Q4 – Who is your most dedicated and loyal fan? (Excluding family members)
Hmmm that’s a tough question! But I’d have to say my high school friend Rheeyan Johnson. He’s a visual artist and always offers creative input when I need it. He even helped design some pieces for my Hip-Hopera video and is often the first person to listen to my songs and give feedback. He invests time in me because he believes in my vision and my talent–and that kind of support is hard to find.
Q5 – Can you discuss your current projects and plans for rest of ’19? ’20?
I’m currently working on an album entitled “African Import” which will be released next year. The album is dedicated to and inspired by the Black diaspora both musically and thematically. It’s been really fun working on this project because I get to explore so many different sounds while also embracing the nerd in me who loves tackling complex issues and making them easily digestible to everyday consumers.
Q6 – Can you describe the new single “Shades of Black (The Hip Hopera)”? Is there a music video for it? Also did you know about the 90’s single by Bounty Killer ft Fugees? Is this a remake?
Shades of Black: (The Hip-Hopera) was born out of my desire to reconcile two very different worlds that I was a part of. As an opera singer that was studying Mozart and then going home to listen to A Tribe Called Quest, or The Fugees, I was internalizing very conflicting ideas about what music is and who I should be. I decided that I shouldn’t have to choose, because both of those worlds are a part of me and to compromise myself would be to keep me from realizing my full potential. The larger context of the song as it pertains to people of color reinforces the notion that you should never compromise your cultural identity in order to fit into white spaces. Yes there is a video out now available to see on Vevo,Youtube,etc
Q7 – If someone never heard your music before, what is the first song that you would want them to hear?
Shades of Black: (The Hip-Hopera) is definitely the best introduction to who I am as an artist. Because I’m an extremely versatile artist, and the song itself is about not fitting into boxes and creating your own lane, I think it’s the best song to prepare people for all the different sounds they can hear from me.
Q8 – Have you worked with any known MC’s/Producers,etc?
I haven’t yet–but I plan to!
Q9 – Thanks for coming thru. Anymore words for the readers, where can we check out more of your music?
You can follow me on instagram at @zakiyyah_official or my website www.zakiyyahofficial.com. There’s more on the way and I can’t wait to share it with the world!