Interview – Zenesoul

Born in Nigeria, and based in Toronto, R&B Neo-soul, and Afro-beat artist,  Zenesoul (zen-soul) has released her new single, “That Love”.

“When I first heard the beat from my producer, Larumadeit, I instantly thought of that nostalgic type of love people had in the past,” Zenesoul — Angie Akhinagba — shares of the song teeming with the lush, enveloping sound that’s all her own. “Think: 90s Black love culture found in movies, family TV shows, and R&B music of the time.

“And this is how I usually write… Not with pen and paper, but with hearing the music, getting a theme or a vibe in mind, and then singing melodies and lyrics to expand it into a song.”

Zenesoul released her debut EP, Worth, in 2019, followed by a steady stream of singles – including “Love and Be Loved,” “Sunday,” and “I Will Not Be Silenced”. In 2020, she released her premiere full-length album, Coffee.

“My previous project, Coffee, took listeners through my tribulations with toxic love,” Zenesoul expands. “Since then, I’d made a pact to only search for the best love, so the song became a manifestation of the love I wanted in my life after such hard times dealing with it in the past.

“So in the lyrics of ‘That Love,’ I explain I’m no longer settling for an inferior love anymore…” she continues. “I will only love someone that loves me the same way and, since I”m not perfect, their love doesn’t need to be either.

“It just,” she underscores, “needs to be true.”

Check out “That Love” below, and find out more about Zenesoul via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My Name is Zenesoul and I am an R&B/Neo-Soul singer and songwriter from Brampton, ON. I love music with meaning and storytelling – I aim to do that in everything I do. I love soul and in-depth thinking, I want that to translate into the music I put out. Music has been such a consistent blessing in my life and it has the power to save and heal. I want to save and heal people through music by sharing my stories, experiences, and how I’m still growing as an individual.

Tell us about the recording process behind “That Love”?

I really wanted a feature for that love but in the end, I decided to create a second verse. The process was actually very easy. After writing it in my car, where I usually write, I went to the studio with my engineer Nate Smith. I just wanted to give the song a 90s feel. At first, I was afraid to include the short monologues that I have in the song but I felt it gave the song a deeper meaning. It made it feel like a conversation and it reminded me of the diary entries and soft-spoken voices of women I watched from 90s TV shows.

What was the highlight of 2020?

The highlight of 2020 I would say is the organic support from Spotify and Apple Music, placing me on many of their curated playlists. I would also say the growth in support as a whole from people around me and people in the industry.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career in 2021?

In 2021 I hope to build more supporters and to host my own concert. Even if it’s just a small one. I really want to see the people supporting me digitally vibe with my music in person, especially after being indoors for so long without being able to perform a lot of my songs live due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Is there anyone out there you’d like to collaborate or open/close a concert with in the future?

I have so many people I’d love to work with in the future. It would be a dream if I could open/ close and collab with Lauryn Hill. My life would feel so complete! I would also love to work with other artists such as Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, India Arie, Brandy, Summer Walker, Ari Lennox, H.E.R, Jazmine Sullivan … omg the list goes on and on.

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