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Classically trained Parisian pianist turns raconteur of surrealist leftfield pop

Following guest vocals on tracks and remixes for standout UK labels such as Hypercolour and Warp Records as well as producers Luciano and Matthew Herbert, the hotly tipped vocalist and producer Zilla is taking centre stage for her debut solo release.

The debut single Get Your Way was first used for Elle UK's incredibly successful #MoreWomen #ELLEFeminism campaign Get Your Way is a deeply personal anthem of empowerment to the individual, to speak out when oppressed and to live life according to one's own vision.

“Growing up in a male environment (I have three older brothers) and with a strict upbringing, I was expected to cook and clean from a young age and I was not treated as an equal intellectually. It enraged me. Piano was my quiet revenge on those who expected me to fail. As a person, I have decided to own my flaws and not feel self conscious because of society’s vision of what a female should look like” Zilla

Get Your Way is the first track to appear from Zilla’s anticipated debut solo album. A visceral and intoxicating avant pop number, the track was co-written and produced by renowned producer Matthew Herbert (The Invisible, Karl Hyde, Mica Levi, Eska) who has signed Zilla to his Accidental label for her first run of singles.  Matthew says “I like the fact that Zilla can sit at a piano and bash out some Rachmaninov and Debussy, but chose instead to make an ahead-of-its-time record out of the ephemera of ordinary life. It bristles with the friction of real life as opposed to the comfort of the recording studio. So many new artists want to sound like their heroes and end up diluting their own identity, but this has never been the case with Zilla.’’

The kaleidoscopic video for Get Your Way was directed and choreographed by Imogen Knight (Sadlers Wells, Barbican, Royal Court Theatre) with set and costume design by Chloe Lamford (National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre). Visually arresting, it is a fitting representation of Zilla's explorations of sonic space, loops and sequences and the feelings of confinement that she experienced when she wrote the original lyrics.  Speaking about how the track came together, she explains:

“All the instruments used in the song are real objects. The beat was called Round and I decided to use all round objects firstly because the loops in my head at that time were constant, it was like living in a world of sequences, my mind would obsess on bits of sentences or bits of music non stop. Round is also a very feminine shape, a pregnant woman, the female body. Round can represent a routine, so it can be reassuring and comforting but also there is something quite disturbing about not being able to get out.”

This then is the first of a series of releases from a bold new artist, working somewhere between the crunch of the avant garde and the joy of a good hook.

ZILLA’s Biog:

Full of Parisian melancholy, bouncy leftfield dance and electronic pop, Zilla’s music is a fantasy filled with imaginary friends and monsters. This is a nocturnal tale of obsession, of relationships behind closed doors, of the secrets we hide, of a daydreamer's take on life and the way we wish to be remembered after we die.

Recorded with renowned experimental producer Matthew Herbert, the beats on Zilla’s debut material were made by turning objects collected by Zilla into conceptual instruments. Everything has a direct relation to the stories told in the songs: listen closely and you'll hear workers drilling outside, the tape of a space echo machine, a bunch of oyster shells and an electric toothbrush…

“Working with Matthew Herbert was an incredible opportunity,” she says. “I was always a fan of his work, especially the Roisin Murphy album. I wasn’t aware that he liked working with objects, an idea I found super-exciting but also daunting.”

Born and raised in Paris, Zilla is a singer, songwriter and producer who trained as a classical pianist at a Parisian conservatoire for 10 years before moving to London at 18. There she started writing piano-based music over hip hop beats, inspired by her favourite composers and experimental electronica. It's a globe-trotting sound that reflects her heritage: Zilla's mother is the Ivory Coast ambassador to Denmark, her father a chemistry professor who fled Guinea's dictatorship in the 1970s.

“Piano taught me how to escape – whether it was home, school or the world – and find a place where I could be pure and honest with myself,” she says.

Before hooking up with Herbert, she wrote for artists like Tinie Tempah and Wretch32 with Yogi, a group of hip hop producers.

Zilla releases 'Get Your Way' debut single release 1st September on Accidental Records

01 September 2017