Name: K.Zia
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, artistic director
Nationality: Martinican-Belgo-Congolese
Current release: K.Zia's “‘I Got Your Back” is out now. It's the latest single taken from her new album Genesis, slated for release 11th February 2022.

If this interview with K.Zia piqued your interest, visit her official website for more information. She is also on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

Music and writing is like therapy to me. I use it to reflect, think without overthinking, to exteriorize and to fulfil my purpose to share my emotional and personal journey to hope to help some with similar feelings.

The core need is really a translation of an emotion, not because I dreamt it or saw it, but because I felt it.

For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a ‘visualisation’ of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

Something that I’ve noticed when working with procedures is that they tend to hear and see everything in their head beforehand. It doesn’t really work like that with me. I feel stuff, and follow my instincts, inspiration, create and discover as it goes.

The only thing I have in mind is a standard/quality of work that’s the visualization ... If that makes sense ?

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating?

No I don’t really have ONE special way I create. It depends on the setting, the mood, the people,the purpose, and my emotional state once again. (laughs)

The one thing that does remain, is that when I write for myself I cannot do it if I don't feel it. All my songs are close to me cause they are all experiences I’ve lived or witnessed. That’s the process for me: authenticity, real stories and emotions. Other than that, it can be: writing in a notebook by the water because I have things I need to express. Humming a melody to a beat I was sent by a producer, being in the studio finding toplines with other songwriters after a long conversation about something that’ s been going on in my life ...  

What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

Those things influence my mood and emotions.. Emotions lead my creation :)

When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?

Once again, like mentioned it really depends. Sometimes I have things on my mind I need to express and I write them down and take them out if ever I'm in need of lyrics.

Other times I start with the melody and just toplines and vibes, and think of the emotion the beat brings to me, and I write on top.. And when you write with other songwriters it’s a whole other process again :)

What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?

I believe there are different criteria to good lyrics :

When they slide into your mind without you needing to concentrate too much.
When they make you feel something, because they tell a story.
When you can relate.
When they have sense, swag and smoothness
When they fit the instrumental sonically

Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?

Oh yes this happens quite often to me. As I said above, things build up along the way with me, so it’s pretty much always like that: that’s the process. You start and see where your inspiration takes you.

Most of the time when doing the singing part I like being in the studio alone to let my spirit and mind really express themselves without thinking. When people are around it’s harder to get out of my comfort zone, vocally, or the style ... I “need” to make sure I always deliver something good so I may hold back sometimes. Whereas alone, I let that shit go and sometimes, you have nice surprises … and sometimes you’re happy you were alone! (laughs)

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?

Once it’s out it’s out ! I let go of that shit! I’m a perfectionist so I am never truly satisfied so the rational part of me just tells me “ it’s out you can’t change it now anyways!!” (laughs)

There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?

I believe there is more to life than our material bodies, and my goal is to live focusing on that mostly. I believe everything is energy, what you are, how you act, the spaces you are in, the people that surround you, what you eat, the animals ,plants ... And it takes work, patience and paying attention to align yourself with the right energies for your soul.

School, western society, media etc / blocks us from the strong bonds our ancestors had to their ancestors and the spiritual realm. Messages and directions are communicated. I’m trying to unlearn, disconnect to reconnect and grow my spiritual language and develop my radar.

Sometimes, and those moments are the most precious, I really disconnect from our physical reality and it’s like I'm channelling things. A song will be written in 30 min ... It just flows out. But this connection  happens mostly when I perform rather; not so much when writing. In those moments, I disconnect and let my spirit express itself.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you’re satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?

That’s a real topic for me actually. Being an independent artist, I get confronted to situations where the lack of money = time  conducts my working ways.  I’m really looking forward to having an unlimited amount of time in the studio, with a certain producer, musicians, mixing recalls etc ... and see where that leads me.

There is always somewhat of a limitation I’m confronted with making me have to be satisfied with the work cause there ain’t no more time or budget.

What’s your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?

It’s extremely important. It’s the whole thing. I’m a musician, everything is about the sound and I am involved throughout the whole process. Not actively as I don’t produce or work with sound. But I am always involved.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn’t or wouldn’t in more ‘mundane’ tasks?

It’s an interesting question, not quite sure how to answer it to be honest. I wouldn’t say making a cup of coffee is being creative? Unless you’re inventing something new? Then you create? But then I don’t drink or make coffee so I wouldn’t know. (laughs) I might be missing the point. (laughs)

Through music I express myself and my emotions. I guess dressing up, wearing clothes, doing my hair is the one thing I can link to that type of creativity. It’s a translation of how I feel in that moment. Other than that I don’t really find it comparable to any other “mundane” task.. Not sure if that answers the question. (laughs)