Your new album, “Second Month of Summer” has gotten an amazing reaction from your supporters. What has been your thought about the reaction of the album?
Honestly I haven’t had a release that I’ve been more excited about. I enjoy making music, but something about this project felt new and different from before and I felt this one more than previous releases. I think that I was vulnerable and showed my feelings way more than before so I am beyond happy that people are receiving it like they have.
How did the idea for this album come about?
My birthday is July 12, and I thought it would be the perfect time to put out some new music. I wanted my day of birth to coincide with the release of new music because people might be more inclined to listen and support if it were in celebration of my birthday, which seemed to work well. So I started working on it in March of this year and finished the recording part around May. I wanted to have a visual with it, so I got a video filmed for “Forgive Me”, the first single off of my album and I think that helped gain traction.
Can you tell us the meaning behind the name “Second Month of Summer”?
It was really just for my birth month, July, which is the second month of summer. July is a month of high energy for me, and people enjoy the weather and have so much fun in July so I wanted to center my music around that feeling.
Any fun moments while creating the album?
I definitely had fun shooting the videos. Recording music for me is about getting as close to perfection as I possibly can. I record over and over until I get it exactly how I want it, and then it’s fun for me. But beforehand, it’s work for me and then I know I can have fun when the graphics, promo, videos, and performances come.
You write your own music, so what’s the process of writing one of your songs?
It can go 2 ways for me. I like when a song organically comes to me when I hear a track. I listen to the beat and I can just hear a song in my head and I get to writing as fast as I can. Then other times, it takes a couple of tries and flipping lyrics around, and recording it and hearing it doesn’t sound good, and re-arranging the harmonies and lyrics – it becomes a process! With those songs, I sometimes feel like it’s not a song for me because it’s not coming naturally but then I remember it’s hard work and it’s okay to have to work on my craft to make it what I want it to be.
What’s been your favorite song to write and why?
My favorite song to write was “Currency”. I heard the beat and was excited to bring it to listeners before I even wrote it! I loved writing it and feeling like people were definitely going to love it like I did, and I love listening to it. I was proud that I came up with it and just couldn’t wait to debut it.
What song are you most excited to perform from this new album?
Still “Currency”, but also “Forgive Me” because those songs seem to resonate with people more. They’re more in line with popular music today so it’s fun to engage with the audience when I’m on stage.
What does it feel like to perform your own music live in front of your supporters?
It feels like I’m living some of the dreams I’ve envisioned since I was like 7 years old. I’m not the artist that wanted to be famous and on TV and wanted the celebrity life more than I wanted to just SING. I cannot go a day without singing. And now that I have my own music that I wrote that I’m singing and people are coming to see me do all of that – it’s the best feeling in the world. I am watching my audience grow and I’m excited for what’s next.
Does your fanbase have a name?
No, lol, I have been thinking of one, “Zannies” (za-neez not zay-neez). As in being addicted to my music but I don’t know, maybe you guys can help me (haha)!
How do you want your relationship to be with your supporters?
I want an open and engaging relationship with my supporters. I want to chat with everyone, via writing or video or whatever. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their support and if I can personally do that then I definitely want to.
What was the craziest fan encounter you have had?
Since my music was released fairly recently, I’ve been having so many random people see me and say “I loved your last video!” or something similar. I was actually getting my nails done once, and someone was selling something and I went to get my wallet from the car. I’d seen someone and shes like “Hey how are you?” but I didn’t recognize her! I thought she knew a family member or something and so we talked but I thought nothing of it, and kept walking to my car. She yelled out “Are you going to get me one of your CDs from the car?” And I’m like oh crap – she knows me from my music! And it kind of hit me then like maybe this is going farther than I have in my mind, so I’m glad to be on this ride.
What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your supporters?
The engagement with supporters keeps switching from Facebook to Instagram and then back. I use both equally, so you can check me out on IG @zaje_music, and on Facebook either “Zaje ZajeMusic Richardson” or just “ZajeMusic”.
What’s an average day for you look like?
Right now, I am busy promoting and looking for shows to perform at. I’m also planning a couple of events, so all day I’m emailing and calling people to keep pushing this album. I also just edited a video for another song “Maneuver”, and I’ll be shooting a video for my song “Show Me How To Love.” So yeah – pretty busy!
What goals have you set out for yourself in your career and in your personal life?
I want to become a household name across the world. My career goals include the $5M check that I wrote out to myself not too long ago. I look at it everyday so I can keep moving towards it. I’d like to make that by 2020 (hopefully much sooner), and I am actively seeking a major label deal to do so. It’s kind of the opposite of what people want nowadays – most indie and unsigned artists want to stay independent and can be successful in that lane. I want to be more than just a recording artist and I know that I can gain much more with major label backing.
In my personal life, I just want to be able to support my loved ones and become everything that my 7 year old self thought I’d be. I want to stay happy and motivated and live my best life.
How has this whole music career experience been?
I feel like it’s been amazing, but that it’s just the beginning for me. I think it’s been a lot of hard work yet I know there’s a lot more work that I need to put in to get to where I need to be. I’m more excited for the future since so far, the experience has been everything I’ve wanted it to be.
Do you have any last things you want to tell your supporters?
Thank you so much for watching my video, sharing my video, downloading and streaming my songs, and also to the DJs for playing my music across this country. I am grateful beyond words and so thankful that my music is giving you the feelings I wanted to give when I created it.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me.
Thank you so much for having me! I appreciate the opportunity.