Chat With Melbourne Singer Songwriter Zaiya
Zaiya is a “soul-pop” singer songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. The 23-year-old songstress recently began splitting her time between home and Los Angeles after being discovered by producer/mixer Dave Darling, whose widely diverse credits include such artists as Brian Setzer, Jack Johnson, Tom Waits, and Motley Crue. Clearly gifted with an incredibly strong voice that defies her petite frame, Zaiya is quickly coming into her own as a songwriter and live performer.
I sat down with the beautiful Zaiya who has exotic looks, (due to the unusual mix of Persian and Polish background).
Zaiya breezed in from her Pilates class dress wearing a casual sporty ensemble – Nike Runners, Black Sporty Luxe pants and an over-0sized womens top. She was fresh faced, open and honest, and full of chatter and excitement about her latest projects.
When did you start singing?
As a child I was interested in basketball, but every Saturday afternoon after basketball practice I insisted that my family were all present while I performed a full Karaoke concert for them. After enduring a few years of karaoke when I was 13 my father decided to enrol me in singing lessons. (At the time I wasn’t sure if this was a compliment or that he hated Karaoke). Singing quickly became my passion.
Who do you look up to in the music industry, and who inspires you as a person?
I have been inspired by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston but as I have evolved as a singer I became to love the raw sounds of Aretha Franklin, Carol King and Janis Joplin.
At the moment I am really inspired by Rebel Wilson. She is a real role model to me and many other women. Rebel has become an absolute superstar in Hollywood, yet she has remained true to herself. She is incredibly sexy and supremely confident – people are always drawn to that confidence, I know I am.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
Singing at the House of Blues in LA, as a completely unknown artist after I had only been in LA a very short time.
Singing for the Fred Hallows Charity in front of an audience of 2000 with David Jaanz.
Touring Vietnam and singing at various venues around Vietnam.
What have you been doing since coming back to Australia?
I came back home to complete my exams in PR and Psychology. I also wanted to write some more music and was able to collaborate with some great Australian songwriters.
How do you juggle your time between LA and Melbourne?
I have been spending 3 months in LA and 3 months in Melbourne. It usually revolves around my workload and collaborations, but I still wanted to be available to do my course exams.
How would you describe your fashion style?
I am sporty and hipster in my day to day to day wear, but on stage I tend to be boho-grunge. I usually wear flowy type womens tops or womens dresses with biker leather shorts or pants and tough jewellery. I have a favourite fedora hat which I wear on stage and it has become my lucky charm.
Do you shop wherever you go?
I love to shop at online clothing boutiques. Because I am so busy travelling I find it’s easier for me to buy womens fashion online. I also love to pop into various stores in LA to keep up with the latest trends.
My favourite brands are:
What is your Alter Ego?
Zaiya – which is my stage name. My friends say that I am a different person on stage and off. I am quite a shy person, when I meet people for the first time or if I’m in new surroundings . When I’m on stage I come out of my shell. I go into a zone and focus on my singing and not what is going on around me. I’m a late bloomer as I only sang on stage for the first time when I was 19 and became very serious when I was 22.
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