Zoe Wees' debut, 'Control', has garnered fans worldwide thanks to her captivating lyricism which feels both reflective & urgent, whilst her performance and delivery is nothing short of powerful.
Zoe Wees is a rare artist. At just 18 years old, her unique vocals leaves you hanging on every word. The Hamburg native’s captivating lyricism feels both reflective & urgent, whilst her performance and delivery is nothing short of powerful.
On her debut single “Control,” she shares her story of the struggles she faced with Rolandic childhood epilepsy – a condition she’s wrestled with through early childhood – with feelings of loss of control, helplessness and exclusion from others.
Speaking of her illness, Zoe explained; “The sickness was stronger than me, and left scars that have become part of my life. Accepting them has taken so much time, but they make me what I am today: a fighter.”
Although the song chronicles a tough time for Zoe, there’s something incredibly uplifting how she’s managed to turn her past into something beautiful & ultimately positive.
Since releasing “Control,” the vocals and messages shared on Zoe’s debut have seen exponential growth. On Spotify alone, she has featured on the viral charts of 57 countries around the world, the U.K.’s Top 10, and across the pond in the US and Canada. If Zoe is already achieving world domination in the first year of her career, who knows what she’ll achieve next?
The track continues to grow across all streaming services, and also across other areas of the media including BBC Radio1 & Sirius XM, where several DJs have noticed Zoe’s talents. The rising star has already notched up over one million streams in a day.
Ahead of the release, Zoe had been uploading performance clips on Instagram, garnering shares and reposts from the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Jessie J, Tom Walker and Dean Lewis to name but a few.
With a collaboration already in the bag on Tom Walker’s beautiful record “Wait For You,” Zoe’s definitely one to watch.
We caught up with Zoe further about her journey into the industry, what’s it’s been like launching her career in midst of a pandemic and her upcoming album – due next year.
Let’s start by talking about your latest EP ‘Control.’ How long had you been working on the record?
‘Control’ didn’t take that much time. It was my first songwriting session ever with professional songwriters and the song was pretty much finished after the session. We even kept the first take in the track.
If you could summarise, what would be the story of how you became a musician?
It all started with a school concert where my teacher at that time came to me and said basically “your voice is amazing, let’s work on some music.” First, it was weird because making music with a teacher wasn’t the first thing you wanna do as a teenager but we’ve tried some stuff and it worked out pretty well. Today he’s my manager and quit his job as a teacher.
‘Control’ has captured the imagination of numerous fans worldwide and artists alike. How does it feel to have your music out in the world and to be receiving global recognition and support?
It feels great to tell my story and have the song released for everyone, especially knowing how much the song helped so many people to fight their own fears and dealing with their own problems. But at the same time, it’s weird because I haven’t played any shows during the pandemic so I didn’t really get the chance to actually meet my fans.
Since releasing your debut EP ‘Control’ how have you grown personally?
Absolutely, I think talking publicly about my song and my past helped me grow even more and also living in the pandemic situation helped me to get to know myself even better, also for writing new songs.
The lyrics in ‘Control’ fuse your personal lived in experience with your prolonged struggle with benign Rolandic epilepsy (BRE). Releasing something so powerful & personal as your debut EP speaks volumes about you as an artist. You’ve managed to turn your past into something beautiful and ultimately positive. How did it feel baring it all within your music for the world to hear?
Thanks so much! It felt really good to release something personal like “Control”. Sometimes it’s painful going back to my past but in the end, it’s much easier for me to sing about my feelings than talking about it. This is why music is kind of a therapy for me and writing and releasing “Control” was very healing.
Did you have any particularly strong influences when working on the project?
Apart from my own past, not particularly as I wanted the song to be 100% me.
What would you say the most important things are that you’ve learned about yourself as an artist?
I think always being real and true to myself is one of the most important things I’ve learned. People should and will like you for who you are and you shouldn’t change for other people.
Can you talk us through what your process is like when creating new music? Fusing reflective and autobiographical lyrics seem to be your M.O, will this be a common thread in your future releases?
Yes, I will always be writing songs based on my own past, my own stories and experiences. Most of the time I’m making voice notes on my phone when I got a new melody in my mind or I just write down new lyric ideas. And together with my songwriting team, we talk about it, how to tell my story, figure out how it should sound and start with recording it right away.
What is the main message you wanted to get across within your music?
It’s really easy to feel alone in this world. And it’s totally normal and good to be sad sometimes. But no matter what point in life you are right now, and no matter how hopeless life can feel sometimes, it’s gonna get better.
You’ve spoken about doing a lot of writing in your hometown of Hamburg. What’s the best environment for making music?
Yes, I live in Hamburg and my producers as well. So most of my sessions take place there. But I think it’s not really about the city you’re in. For me it’s only about the people in the room and the vibes in a songwriting session. And I need to be able to trust the people I’m writing with. But yeah, it’s mostly about the vibes. A couple of weeks ago we even wrote a song on the train.
Which albums have changed the way you saw the world and inspired you?
I’m not really into albums since most of the time I only like a couple of songs of an album. But if I had to choose, it’s probably Billie Eilish’s “Don’t smile at me”. It’s really unique and inspiring and I like every song on it, probably because all of them are sad!
Describe your sound in three words.
Deep, dark, honest.
You’ve recently collaborated with Tom Walker on the beautiful track “Wait for You”. Are there any other collaborations in the pipeline? And do you have any specific criteria when thinking of working with someone?
There’s no other feature planned at the moment but I’m really happy that this collaboration worked out. I really love to sing that song. For the future, I would love to do collaborations with artists like Lewis Capaldi because I think our voices would match very well. But I’m sure there will be many other artists for interesting collaborations.
Due to the current worldwide pandemic performing live and touring has taken a backseat. How has the ‘new norm’ of releasing music impacted you?
The crazy thing is: For me, it’s not really a new norm. Because when I released my debut single in March, the pandemic had already started. So talking to people on video chats is pretty normal for me now. And texting with my fans on social media is something I would do anyway.
I’m just missing playing shows and I really hope I can do that soon, maybe in 2021 and finally meet my fans in person.
What’s next for Zoe Wees? Are you working on an EP or an album you can share with us?
I’m working on new songs all the time and we already have a lot of songs ready for an EP and an album coming next year. And there will be a new single this year! I really can’t wait to release new music!