Interviews

We had a chat with rapper ZMA about his new album and love for 50 Cent

Zaid from rap/hip-hop project ZMA sat down with Happy to chat through beat selection on his latest album Eclectic.

When in comes to conjuring a new sound, whilst honouring the greats for all their pacemaking brilliance, ZMA nails it.

A rapper, songwriter and producer, Zaid represents the modern artist and on his new album Eclectic. We took a moment to quiz him on what it means to create a record of visceral diversity.

ZMA

HAPPY: Hey ZMA, thanks for your time! Congratulations on the release of your album Eclectic! Can you tell us about the creative process?

ZMA: Thank you! I appreciate it! The producer for the album, Ty Fyffe, has produced for many artists that have inspired me throughout my life such as 50 Cent, so right away I asked him if he could send me some instrumentals similar to what he would do for G-Unit. I also wanted to explore another side of mine, I’ve always been into all sorts of genres so I also asked for beachy vibes and funky vibes type instrumentals, so he sent me about twenty-six beats that I had to choose from and whatever caught my ears I’d write to it.

HAPPY: You’ve described this record as being diverse – what do you think attributes to that?

ZMA: It’s the choice of beats that we were used, how each track made you feel different and I wanted to showcase my approach to each beat and my skills to adapt to each one: Paradise was beachy, summer vibes, Thing For You was funky, groovy vibes, Beautiful was love, RnB vibes, Let Me In was west coast LA sound, Omertha was New York, 50 Cent Sound and Ghostlike was that rap 2000’s era with today’s sound.

 

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A post shared by ZMA (@donzma)


HAPPY: What was your favourite track to write?

ZMA: Honestly, I don’t have a favourite but if I had to choose I’d say Beautiful, I’ve always been into the love- dovey, Ja Rule/Ashanti type of music but it had been some time since I can open my heart to write something like that due to life (haha). My good friend See-Niz (he’s featured on Omertha) told me I need to find that in myself again and so I thought I’d dedicate it to my girlfriend at the time and that’s what I came up with. It’s one my favourites to date.

HAPPY: Was there a conscious decision to keep the album short and sweet? And what’s the process like for choosing which tracks make the album?

ZMA: In 2020 I was releasing singles after singles, which caught the eye of my consultant Kelvin Miller, he said singles are hit and miss, it’s best to release an EP and present it, could be six to eights songs. We decided to go with six songs and he introduced me to Ty Fyffe and that’s how it all started!

 

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A post shared by ZMA (@donzma)

HAPPY: What artists got you through 2020?

ZMA: Snoh Aalegra, Summer Walker, a lot of chillhop music, my music that I finally released in 2020, my good friends Nicky Smirk and See-Niz.

HAPPY: Have you been to any sit-down gigs this past year, what was your experience?

ZMA: I haven’t been to a sit-down gig when it comes to music, plus in New Zealand we had everything back to normal fairly quickly, luckily!

HAPPY: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

ZMA: Aahhhh, this question gets me all the time…. I just wish the industry would appreciate and go for talent rather than what goes viral. So many great artists are being overlooked because they don’t have a large social media following, so they’d go for the talentless person, and I say this with no disrespect to the person they choose because I understand that it is a business at the end of the day, but the machine has the power to turn anyone into a superstar as they did before the social media days….

HAPPY: What’s next for ZMA?

ZMA: I want to TRAVEL (haha). I’m going to start working on my next EP (hopefully release two by the end of this year) and I’m going to put in more effort on my podcast, be a little more active online.

HAPPY: Cheers, thank you so much for your time!

ZMA: Thank you for the interview!

Enj0y ZMA’s Electric on Spotify below: