In the eclectic world of music, Zoë Starra stands out as a rising independent artist who weaves a mesmerizing tapestry of sound and storytelling. Her journey from a high school arts program to producing her own music has shaped her into the unique artist she is today.
Introduction: A Journey of Self-Discovery
Zoë Starra's musical odyssey began in an arts high school nestled in the vibrant city of Toronto, Ontario. Her major was vocal music, with a strong focus on choral music. Outside of the school's walls, she ventured into the world of classical piano. It was during her university years that her musical path took an unexpected turn. Her piano instructor recognized her readiness for something entirely different and introduced her to music production using just a laptop and a keyboard. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of Zoë's journey as an independent artist. Her transition from student to producer opened doors to an exciting world of creativity and self-expression.
Musical Style and Inspirations: A Genre-Bending Sound
Zoë's music defies easy categorization, mirroring the complexity of her own personality. While she describes her sound as a "cybercore alternative pop genre," it's clear that her music transcends traditional boundaries. At its core, Zoë's music is an exploration of the future, where she weaves tales of events yet to transpire, interwoven with emotions and experiences. Her second song on her latest album, "Chthulucene," is a prime example. Inspired by Donna Haraway's "Staying with the Trouble," Zoë crafts a narrative of an era beyond our current Anthropocene, where humans find kinship with the world around them.
Influenced by artists such as Grimes, AshNikko, Aurora, Pvris, and Melanie Martinez, Zoë's music is a testament to the diverse influences that shape her unique sound.
Songwriting Process: Crafting Stories of Tomorrow
Zoë's songwriting process is a fascinating blend of concept and collaboration. Her songs often start as concepts or titles, a glimpse into the narrative she intends to create. Production takes center stage next, with Zoë utilizing tools like Logic Pro and Maschine by Native Instruments to craft the musical backdrop. Once the production is complete, she dives into the lyrical world, often in tandem with her writing partner and best friend, Kristen. Their collaborative efforts, influenced by their shared passion for science fiction and fantasy, breathe life into Zoë's songs. It's a process fueled by imagination and shared creativity, resulting in lyrics that resonate with depth and emotion.
Live Performances: Dreams on Stage
One of Zoë's most cherished live performances was opening for Red Handed Denial at Lee's Palace in Toronto. This venue held a special place in her heart as it had been her dream stage since watching "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" in 2010, where it made a cameo appearance. The memory of performing on this iconic stage, where Brie Larson played a memorable song by Metric, felt like a pinnacle achievement in her music career. It's moments like these that artists cherish, where dreams become reality under the spotlight.
Visual Artistry: Embracing the Post-Human Aesthetic
Zoë takes great pride in infusing her music with visually captivating elements. In her music videos, she transforms herself into something otherworldly, portraying herself as a cyborg, an alien, or a being slightly outside the realm of the ordinary. This visual journey delves into the concept of being post-human, the next evolutionary step beyond our current Homo sapiens. It's a testament to Zoë's commitment to exploring new dimensions in both her music and her visual storytelling.
Collaborations: Elevating the Creative Process
Zoë has had the privilege of collaborating with exceptional artists, and they've played a vital role in her creative journey. Her engineer, Spencer, who releases his own music as Taabu, has been an instrumental part of her work. Spencer's technical prowess in mixing and mastering elevates Zoë's songs to new heights.
Another notable collaboration has been with musician Alex Exists. Their creative synergy led to a cover of John Lennon's "Instant Karma" and an original creation, "Nyctophile." Together with Agata, they've also been the driving force behind Zoë's captivating music videos.
Challenges: Navigating the Numbers
Like many independent artists, Zoë faces the challenge of balancing artistic passion with financial realities. The numbers, in terms of streams and views, can be daunting. While she's immensely proud of her work, covering the expenses can be a hurdle. Researching marketing techniques and budgeting have become essential skills to ensure her music reaches its audience effectively. Zoë advises aspiring artists to establish a realistic budget, as ambitious projects can quickly exceed initial financial plans.
Future Aspirations: Evolving Soundscape
With the release of her latest album, "Kinship," Zoë has unearthed her true sound. Her future aspirations involve a deeper exploration of this musical identity. She envisions creating more singles that allow her to delve further into her evolving sound. Her ultimate goal is to craft music that invites others to share in her experiences and emotions, to connect on a profound level through the power of music.
In the ever-evolving landscape of music, Zoë Starra shines as an artist who embraces the future, both in sound and vision. Her music is a testament to the boundless possibilities of creativity, and her journey from a Toronto arts school to the global stage is a testament to the enduring power of artistic passion and self-discovery.