June 7, 2023

East coast based artist, Zoeln, is a multi-genre artist who creates and produces his music base on his life story.  Graduated from Moscow Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, Zoeln blends his classical influenced style with an innovative contemporary music writing.  With elements of life, love, and death, Zoeln melts his life story into the sound of art, which explores the depths of musicality and humankind.

Lisa: When did your interest in music start?

Zoeln: I started to play the violin when I was 5. Little by little, I found music irresistibly charming, and I simply couldn’t stop creating them. For me, music is like a friend who listens to my thoughts and feelings without any judgment.

Lisa: How was your audition experience for Berklee?

Zoeln: Berklee is still my favorite music school in the world! Since I started my music career as a classical violinist, my audition for Berklee was quite view changing. Rather than paying too much attention to your techniques and experience in music, Berklee really cares about your creativity, charisma, and your hidden talent. Contrasting from traditional auditions for classical conservatories, Berklee juries ask you to improvise with them TOGETHER! This is really fun and different from what I learned before. Besides, you will have a sweet interview talking about your dreams, your goals, your favorite artists, and etc. You can tell that they care about you as an artist rather than an instrumentalist. I guess that is why I still think Berklee is the best music college in the world.

Lisa: Can you describe your music for us and who were your musical influences, and was there any one person or band that changed your world?

Zoeln: Generally, I would say my music is moody and a bit dark. I love using the minor key and unusual harmony in my songwriting. For me, the dark and dramatic theme is pleasingly attractive and expressive. Musically, I got inspired by artists such as Lana Del Rey, Glass Animals, Florence + the Machine, and Halsey. All of their lyrics and music are deeply hitting my creative process and life in general. I often found myself in tears while playing their songs late at night. If you check out my lyrics, you could find many Lana Del Rey references in my songs!

Lisa: What types of change do you feel your music can initiate?

Zoeln: As an irresistible nuance of living, music is the spell that transcended the bitter moments of my life into beautiful and emotional memories. Every farewell, heartbreak, and depressive lonely night can taste differently with music. I hope my music can light up the gloominess for my audience, and help them find a way of facing sadness without sorrow and pain. In the end, music is the sound hug that I want to send to my listeners.

Lisa: Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a song?

Zoeln: Grow up as a violinist, I nearly always start my songs with a catchy melodic motive that I found expressive for my emotions. It is like the way of writing a melodic poem. Then, I decorate and expand them with more elements.

Lisa: I really enjoy all your tracks. How did you get inspired to blend classical
influenced style with an innovative contemporary music? And What ideas
did inform “Mesmerize” in particular?

Zoeln: Thank you so much! My classical influences mostly coming from my background of studying in the Moscow Conservatory for many years. Growing up in Russia, many listeners find my songwriting style a bit Russian. On the other hand, my years at Berklee helped me develop a curiosity for exploring sounds and styles in a modern style. In my song “Mesmerize”, I used a classical piece as the main motive in the songwriting: Franck Violin Sonata in A Major. This classical violin sonata was originally composed as a wedding gift, and was enjoyed by me and my date while we were dating. So “Mesmerize”, which is a love song obviously, is how I saved my enjoyable moment and transformed it into a sound gift.

Lisa: Do they feel that they need a manager to get gigs? Do you think
independent artists need managers today?

Zoeln: Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s Degree in Music Business at NYU. As an independent artist and a music professional in the industry, I strongly recommend all artists to find someone who knows the business before they release their music. Music managers are critical as their roles are dealing with issues that musicians aren’t familiar with, such as licensing, negotiation, marketing strategy, and etc. Those issues are problematic if dealt with incorrectly. Also, a professional and experienced manager with a good network can definitely get you gigs that you can never get by yourself. However, I think it is still hard for any baby artist or band to afford someone to manage their career in the beginning.

Lisa: What non-musical entities and ideas have impacted your music?

Zoeln: Besides music, I am a big fan of drama films. While I was in Russia, I often went to the cinema alone to watch some outstanding films. Growing up with those masterpieces surely enhanced my dramatic taste in music as well as my vision about life. Also, painting and making art are something I would do apart from music. So when it comes to making the cover art for my music, I designed and painted everything by myself.

Lisa: What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in
forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

Zoeln: Personally, I found myself most creative when I was on my bed after 12AM. Of course, everyone is different, but I am sure the best way to find inspiration is to live your life to the fullest. No matter what time, if you can track down every emotion on your mind, you can transform them into a piece of art and inspire others. In the end, music is just storytelling. Without the story, music is mindless.

Lisa: What is your view on technology in music?

Zoeln: Oh, I love technology! I always consider technology as a comprehensive instrument. It helps artists to express ideas that acoustic instruments cannot. From creative sound design to complex mixing, technology in our modern music industry is inevitable. Even a simple CD is the result of recording technology. Without the help of science, music would never be able to record in the first place.

Lisa: What are your plans for the future?

Zoeln: A successful career in music is challenging and expensive. As I am studying music business for my master’s degree, I plan to work on the business side of the music industry. Once I am financially capable, I will invest back into my music production and artist development. Currently, I am still a baby artist waiting to get heard. Hopefully, one day, my music can be heard by everyone.

Thank you!

Follow Zoeln: Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Facebook, Instagram

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