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Interview With Zo!

Website/Twitter/Foreign Exchange Music

Zo! recently took time out of his busy schedule, to talk with us and share his thoughts on his music and SunStorm. Which was recently released to the world, to great praise.  If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do so ASAP.

Soulified

How has the transition to being under the Foreign Exchange Music umbrella been?

Zo!

Around 2005, I met Phonte. Phonte knew of my work and was a fan. On my Re: Define album, I had remix a Little Brother song. From that, our relationship grew and we decided to work together. Our first song together was “Stepping Out” on the Just Visiting album.

Soulified

With your new album SunStorm, what was the motivation for this album, and what was the inspiration for the name itself, it has Roy Ayers feel to the title?

Zo!

This is an auto-biographical piece. From the album cover to every song on the album, it is all me. It is about the ups and downs of my career and life.

Soulified

How do you balance being a music teacher and very active artist?

Zo!

It is tough. You see some artist that work 9 to 5 jobs, it’s tough for them to take a break and tour. My job as a music teacher, you would think they would embrace it. My job puts some pressures on me. My touring is a positive to the kids I teach. It shows them that you can make it and be successful doing music.

Soulified

How did you hook up with Foreign Exchange?

Zo!

Phonte asked me to add something to there live show. And things kept growing after that.

Soulified

I Love the 80’s is a great album, what was the idea behind it?

Zo!

The album came about on a dare. Me and Tay were talking about how bad some of the 80’s music was. This conversation turned into me creating a beat that sounded like “Africa” by Toto. Tay sang over it. And the project bloomed in “I Love the 80’s”. When we did “Take on me”, it was a challenge and dare. We wanted to see if we could create the song and sound good. But we also wanted to see if people would like it.

Soulified

“Overdue Process” with Asylum 7 is a favorite of mine, how did that come about?

Zo!

Asylum has been my boy since 2004. In Detroit, I would go to open mikes. Asylum would be there. And he would be killing them in a freestyle cipher. One day I hit him, we worked on some stuff. In those sessions, we jellied and gained respect for one another. “Overdue Process” was 4-5 years in the making. Asylum love for music is the same as mine. I think that is why we work so well together.

Soulified

When I tell people about u, I say you are an R&B version of Primo.

Zo!

Thanks. To be compared to him is an honor. I’m a huge Primo fan.

Soulified

How did u pick the artist for this project?

Zo!

Everyone, I’m real cool with and fans of. Me and Phonte are so close, I go to him to get a second opinion on beats artist. We went back and forth coming up with who would sound good on this song and that song. It was a shock to me that everyone wanted to be on the album.

Soulified

Jesse Boykins, Eric Roberson, Lady Alma, Sy Smith and Foreign Exchange, I’m happy to see u showcase show indy artists that I’m huge fans of. Explain the studio sessions.

Zo!

These are all my friends on the “Sunstorm” album. Yahzarah voice is so beautiful. She is one of the dopest singers in the music game today. Sy, her voice is so powerful.

Soulified

How was it working with PPP?

Zo!

Dope. The first time me and Wajeed did something, was on the humble. I was at his spot chilling and relaxing. I get to messing around on the Fender Rhodes. Wajeed jumped in and we ended up producing some stuff together. Wajeed is a good friend of mine. He is like a brother to me. I go him to get advance and listen to some of my work.

Soulified

You mentioned this is an album about you. What is the most personal song?

Zo!

All of them. I can’t pick one. They are all about me and things in my life.

Soulified

What would be a dream project for you?

Zo!

Working with Faith Evans would be dope. She puts it down and is very soulful. If I had the resources, I would bring back Zhane. I think they were some what unrated. I would like to see them back.

Soulified

What’s in the future?

Zo!

The Foreign Exchange album in October is up first. And I’m already working on my next album. Hopefully I can put it out next year.

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