Zoe Wees recently released her highly anticipated debut EP, Golden Wings and the project is dripping with courageous vulnerability, powerful vocals, and emoti0n-filled lyricism that's made her one of the most promising new artists to watch out for this year.
Zoe Wees was born in Hamburg and was always drawn to music. Her distinctive voice infuses depth and soul into every word she sings. "I feel like when I was in the studio, I was 14. And I thought, 'Okay, maybe I should get better with my voice and all that. I could be a singer one day," she shares jokingly over an interview with EARMILK. Her voice and her ability to put her emotions to music feels like a cathartic release with each track. That vulnerability really resonated with her audience.
When she released her single "Control" last year, she didn't anticipate the global acclaim that quickly followed. Thematically, the track details a very personal struggle of her own with Benign Rolandic Epilepsy, a condition that can cause severe seizures. In fact, the anxiety she experienced prior to heading into the studio to record her music helped inspire the track. "Control" serves as the perfect introduction of new fans to her warm, soothing voice. Each note rises and falls effortlessly and ultimately building into a haunting chorus.
So far, "Control" has already been streamed over 400 million times since its release last year. "It's still surreal because I just see the numbers, and it came out in the first lockdown," she says. "I'd just seen the numbers on social media and all that. I don't know. I can't imagine that people buy these numbers."
Apparently, Golden Wings came together naturally. Wees wrote each song week after week with an influx of inspiration. Even the title of the project bears special significance, it's a tribute to her grandmother, and it symbolizes security and strength—a message she hopes to inspire listeners with.
Wees further explains, "Every time when I think of my great-grandma, I think of golden wings because my mom once said that she's looking down on me with her gold wings. And since then, that just changed my life and made me stronger. The song "Hold Me Like You Used To" is dedicated to her."
"Hold Me Like You Used To" is an emotionally charged track featuring haunting pianos and more of those signature soaring vocals that could bring anyone to tears. Like much of her music, the vulnerability of this track produces a sort of reminiscent element to it, a deeper reverberating sound that conjures up once subdued emotions for hardships won or lost.
Wees had a successful year professionally for an aspiring musician, but that didn't shield her from the humanistic struggles many had to face. The kind restlessness and nightmarish doubt that 2020 brought on, served as a time of self-reflection. It provided an impromptu opportunity for her, as an artist, to face the demons of her mental health and battle them through a shield of creativity.
She shares that her song "Ghost" centered on those themes of her darker moments. She confides, "It was so tough, this part of my life, and it was so-- I thought about suicide, so this song is about suicide. And I'm out now, and I'm happy right now, but especially in the lockdown and the quarantine, I really thought about all these things, especially as an artist."
Even though it was a struggle, she pulled inspiration from confronting those thoughts. She further explains, "I felt like when I was sad, and I was alone, and I was lonely, it felt like I was more creative. That just gave me some more motivation to keep going. Even though it's a tough time right now, it motivates me."
I asked her how she takes care of her mental health, especially after this past year, and she explained that when she's not talking to her fans, she keeps her distance from social media. She keeps her circle tight. That's one of her best tips for anyone struggling mentally. She emphazised the importance of making sure to surround yourself with people who genuinely care and whose presence make you happy. She concluded, "Make sure you've got enough other people around you that you need. Just make sure that you're feeling alright when you're with them. That's so important."