Caturday with Zsela

Jessica Gianelli

At one point in time, quarantine was a phrase that felt foreign for most of us. And now, one that solidly encapsulates the day to day experience of many. As we look around for well, things to do, and songs to soothe our souls, it seems that Zsela has cooked up just the thing for us. Ache of Victory – the freshly released debut EP from the NYC native, fleshes out melancholic melodies in her Sadé-esuqe fashion that force us to face all the feels that isolation might be wringing out of us. From the comforts of her family’s LA home, Zsela catches us up on her strongest influences, the past moment she’s keen to visit, and the beauty that can arise from unfortunate circumstance.

JG: It’s hard to ignore the current state of global isolation at the moment. For some, it’s been really helpful in instigating creativity. For others, it’s been quite difficult from day to day living, and the resonant anxieties that come along with it all. How have these new, uncertain circumstances impacted the way that you work? Has it been a detriment, or blessing in any way?
Z: I can’t complain much because so far i have my health, and I’m safely under a roof with my family in LA. But it is wild not being home in NYC and not knowing when i will be back. But it’s beautiful we can make things together. Yesterday my mom, a friend and i made a music video for a song off of the EP. It was shot in this shed my parents have in their backyard which I’ve been calling my “office.” We did it in two days and for the first time during quarantine i was so inspired and busy i forgot the reality of our situation for a few minutes which felt nice to catch a breath.
JG: Coming from a family of creatives, did you ever feel the pressure to do something creative? Or is it something you’ve gravitated towards naturally?
Z: Inherently probably yes but my parents didn’t pressure me to pursue music as a career, that pressure was pretty self-inflicted once I knew it was something I wanted to do.  
JG: Your songs carry a sort of transcendent quality. I can’t help but get into my body when I hear them, especially ‘Noise,’ and ‘For Now,’ which get me moving in ways my mind couldn’t really ever grasp—like an unexpected cure. What is it that the music does for you?
Z: It makes me feel alive. 
JG: Who or what, are your biggest influences/inspirations?
Fear, laughter and doubt.
JG: Your style isn’t something we come across every day. It seems to speak to an interesting array of influences. What, or perhaps who, if anything, or anyone, is exciting you about music and culture at the moment?
Z: Davia Spain’s debut album “Dawning” has been on repeat especially the song “Away”. 
JG: In an interview, you mentioned that the superpower you wish to have is time travel—what, or when is first moment you’d travel to?
Z: Probably go check out some dinosaurs really quick! Just a peek!
JG: Being born and raised in Brooklyn, what kind of effect do you think it’s had on you, on your journey?
Z: Its taught me how to appreciate time and space and patience!
 JG: What’s one thing about you that people wouldn’t expect?
Z: I’m funny ?
JG: What does time-off look like for you? Who’s playing in the background?
Z: In this economy? It looks long. Right now in the background there’s this guy on YouTube playing guitar cuz he’s teaching me a Sheryl Crow song. 

Click to check out Zsela’s playlist