In the realm of music and artistry, Zarah stands as a captivating figure, capturing hearts with her soulful melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Her tracks, especially “What Have We Become?” and the highly anticipated “Blind Woman,” have been setting the industry abuzz. With her debut album of the same name on the horizon, we had the privilege of sitting down with Zarah to explore her creative process, inspirations, and her ever-expanding journey as an artist and writer.
Your track “What Have We Become?” received widespread acclaim. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this song and how it has influenced your upcoming album, “Blind Woman”?
Yes, it did. That was unexpected and I’m very much humbled by it. You can’t help but think that your message is resonating and that your artistic vision and hard work is starting to pay off. “What Have We Become?” was heavily influenced by U2 as they were very much present in my mind when I wrote it, combined with today’s pop. Bono, who I’ve met as we have common friends and acquaintances, have worked on a couple of projects for youth including The GRAMMY Foundation; I think he is one of the best lyricists in today’s generation. Although the original concept was supposed to be a complex relationship, I ended up writing about societal issues and humanitarian awareness. I wanted to create something more positive with raw energy while rocking it out and “What Have We Become?” became the fastest track I wrote practically writing itself, which in many ways dictated the tone and direction of the album that carries fully produced sounds with layered guitars, dramatic bassline, live-sounding drums and pronounced vocals. And more times than not, rock music is all about the attitude and having fun and that’s exactly what we did in the studio though I’m still scratching my head on how fast that song was written!
“Blind Woman” is described as “gripping, haunting, and poignant” in the press release. Could you delve into the creative process behind this single and how you managed to convey such depth and emotion in the song?
The entire ‘Blind Woman album’ has incredibly rich and full sounds. I tend to like faster tracks and nine out of ten, I will create just that. But every now and then, I like to show vulnerability as an artist because for one, it makes you real and human particularly when listeners do not expect it. I thought the album needed to breathe and so, along came the “Blind Woman” ballad when I began to shed light on what I was going through as I bared my soul in the midst of a heartbreak. The song takes you to a dream-like soulful journey where you’ll experience the deepest level of emotions like peeling an onion so to speak being revealed in due course in the boldest, purest and most honest form, which made this ballad ‘haunting’. This is where you become the story yourself in the song as supposed to singing just another track. Gripping because it holds your attention. Haunting because it stays within you. And poignant because you will feel the pain in every note since we’ve all gone through a painful heartbreak at one point or another in our lives. You say what you say, do what you do, and not worry about whether or not somebody will like it; I was completely and unequivocally unapologetic.
Collaborating with musicians like Chris Chaney of Jane’s Addiction and the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is no small feat. How did these collaborations come about, and what unique elements did they bring to the songwriting process?
First-class musicians are always demanded in this business. Actually, I was lucky enough to work with a group of extremely talented studio professionals who worked as well as toured with top tier bands and singers even during the time when I was opening for Johnny and Robby of the Goo Goo Dolls. And session players like Chris Chaney who has worked with Jane’s Addiction and Alanis Morrisette and the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra came highly recommended as we went through the planning and pre-production stage of the album and most were simply introduced to me. When you get to the professional level, the music business very much becomes a word-of-mouth. And although I had already written, arranged, and pre-produced all my songs in the album before we even got started inside the Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles and that all other players have eventually enhanced my artistic vision including the remastering at the McCartney Studios, Chris has brought so much to this album with his freestyle bass recordings while the LA Phil orchestra specifically took the “Blind Woman” track to the next level to a point that they’ve completed my artistic vision. That’s always a good thing.
Apart from your music career, you’re also an author, with the intriguing novel “Diamonds are For Cocktails.” Could you share the concept behind the book and what led you to venture into the world of murder mystery novels?
Truth be told, I was always a fan of a good murder mystery my whole life especially with legendary authors like Sydney Sheldon and Agatha Christie It was and still is my favorite genre when it comes to books and movies. However, I dreaded writing growing up, believe it or not. It wasn’t my thing and I never wanted to get involve in a profession that required writing in my future. Yet, for the better part of my life, I became a lyricist as a songwriter that led to becoming a contributing writer for the nationally syndicated music-based teen series “B InTune TV” I was hosting in over a hundred million homes in the US, to becoming a full-blown novelist, which I must say, is a bold move. The book concept came about when I visited the French Riviera and fell in love with the place, its beauty and elegance. I was in the great company of Prince Albert II and the late Sir Roger Moore and I had an epiphany of a movie concept to write a screenplay incorporating my favorite genre, but decided to do the book first. I like writing stories that I would want to read and “Diamonds are For Cocktails” has the unique perspective of the billionaire’s lifestyle and the unfolding man haunt between the killer and the FBI from the crimes that’s been plaguing the French Riviera town with an overall human interest and moral life lessons written into the story. Besides, rock music and murder mystery go together, don’t they?
Your charity work in the media edutainment space has been commendable. How do you plan to further your efforts in advancing music and arts for youth, and what motivates you to be involved in such initiatives?
Thank you. I am very proud of my philanthropic work that I started with my late husband, which has gone on for many years now. Outside of accomplishing a multi-career in the entertainment industry, my other passion is to help advance music and arts education for youth in the media edutainment space through the power of music. Which is why there’s been talks of bringing back the “B InTune TV” as well as other media initiatives and youth programs that’s being put forth for this re-emergence only this time at the global stage in support of our partners like the United Nations. I think more so than ever, these are the type of causes that are much needed in these increasingly challenging times and yet, they’re the first ones being cut back in terms of funding despite the obvious fact that ‘music’ truly helps heal and educate not only within our youth but adults in general in more ways than one can fathom. They are the one tool that has proven time and again that heals emotional pain, inspires dreams, breaks barriers in languages, transcends time, and even stimulates the minds and gives hope to the lost, abused, disadvantaged, and displaced children around the world. Think about it, how much does it cost you to listen to your favorite song and feel good about it afterwards? I think we all know the answer to that Not only it changes your mood and mind set like the latest therapy, it also brings out positive results. Not to mention, the educational aspect that you can learn from. And as a musician, I think these are enough reasons that motivate me to give back and continue not only my late husband and I’s work but also, build a rich legacy. To me, that is totally worth the effort.
As Zarah prepares to unveil her much-anticipated single “Blind Woman” on October 27th, this interview provides a unique insight into the mind of an artist who is not only making waves in the music industry but is also contributing positively to society through her charity work