New York-based pop sensation A-Zal offers an ode to the city that became his muse on “Lonely Town,” a powerful track that poetically compares New York to a companion who walked with him through the trials and tribulations of his journey.
Accompanied by a self-directed music video, that has officially been nominated at the Montreal Independent Film Festival 2023 in the Best Music Video category, “Lonely Town,” and its visuals highlights the artist's quest to find a connection and belonging in a captivating yet sometimes lonely town.
An alluring glimpse of his upcoming album 17 & 11 Nightsscheduled to release in 2024, which will contain other tracks including chart-topping debut single “Movie Script,” as well as upcoming release “Autopilot,” “Phonebook,” “17 & 11 Nights,” “I'm Looking Through You,” “Closet,” “Vegas” and “Ride,” A-Zal’s latest offering continues to establish as a heavyweight in the pop scene.
In conversation with Earmilk, he delves into the lessons from his early days in New York, his song writing process, what’s next for him and more.
1.Lonely Town came to life inspired by your early struggle days in New York. Looking back now, what were your biggest lessons from that time in your journey?
The biggest lesson was taking risk pays off if you are laser focussed. The biggest risk you can take is not taking a risk at all. I gathered the courage to leave behind everything and move to a new country. It was a huge risk as I started from zero for the second time in my life. Apart from that, one other lesson was to never take a single fan for granted. My listeners love my music and give me a lot of encouragement to do more. Each and every fan counts towards making an artist successful, and I truly value that.
2. Your lyrics vividly capture your emotions and experiences in New York – and feels very personal and poetic. How would you describe your song writing process – where do you first sparks of inspiration begin?
The first spark of inspiration is always some moment of my life that has stuck in my heart and mind. Every journey has some key moments, whether good or bad, but they exist. The idea behind my songs and album is to tell my story to my listeners in the most poetic, yet true way. I don’t mix up random words into my lyrics and keep them really close to my life. That’s the only way my listeners would connect with me at a deeper level. My bond and connection with my fans is really important for me and that’s the reason why I choose moments of my life as the topic of a song. Along with the moments, I also try to capture exactly what I felt at that point in time. For instance, in “the streets walking by my side, sometimes they say hi! They would ask, are you finding home just the way I am, and I would just give a smile”. While walking the New York streets, I often felt that the streets themselves were lonely in spite of all the buzz in the city.
3. You’ve managed to explore loneliness and empowerment in it within this track. How do you personally deal or cope with loneliness?
The feeling of loneliness is actually not bad as it sounds, as long as it is not a forever feeling that you carry. Feeling lonely once in a while is actually a good thing as it allows you to spend time with yourself. In today's world where we are surrounded with work, life and digital consumption on our smartphones, we forget to spend time with ourselves. I have to admit that feeling lonely for months can be tough to deal with. However, I feel it helps me regroup with myself once in a while. In fact, with the crazy schedule that I live being an artist, I at times really wish to have that feeling again.
4. Can you delve into the music video, the inspiration and process for it?
This music video is a total opposite to the music video of ‘Movie Script’. This is a storytelling style video that accurately captures my starting days in New York City and also reflects on the everyday grind of a subway musician. This is my second self-directed video and I’m quite loving the process of directing my own videos. My aim is to tell my story as accurately as I can to my fans, and directing it myself just allows me to do that effectively. There were no actors used in the making of the video. All the people you see watching my performance or leaving tips are real travellers using the train. For the music video, I chose the same spots where I used to perform as a subway musician. There is so much love in New York City and the people support you in such a big way. The process was really straightforward. We didn’t have any script for this video. We shot it over five days. For all the five days, all I did was replicate my daily routine as a subway musician.
5. This track comes after the massive success of your debut track “Movie Script.” How does the success of that track inspire and motivate you in your current journey?
Success of a song really motivates any artist. We work so hard just so that our art receives some love and recognition. Movie Script really took off on all platforms and charted in the USA. What really motivated me was to see myself in the top 51 artists on the Mediabase charts and I was one of the only three who were independent. The rest of the artists were backed by major record labels. It gave me the confidence that my music was good enough to stand out and chart alongside some of the biggest names in pop music.
6. What advice would you give any talent who’d like to follow in your footsteps in their own career?
Everyone talks about “go chase your dreams!!”. But, that’s not enough. Being ambitious is great. However, ambition without skill is a perfect recipe for disaster. If you are behind a dream, make sure you give enough time to make yourself capable enough to achieve it. I’ve been training my vocals since childhood and still make sure I don’t skip my daily vocal routine. Even on the day of shoots, where I’m crunched for time, I still do a ten-minute vocal training.
7. Finally, what can we expect from you next?
I will be announcing my next single very soon. It is called Autopilot and will be released before the year ends! All these songs would eventually be consolidated into my debut album 17 & 11 Nights which will be released in 2024. The album will contain songs such as Movie Script, Lonely Town, Autopilot, Phonebook, 17 & 11 Nights, I'm Looking Through You, Closet, Vegas and Ride.
Connect with A-Zal : Instagram