Apr 14, 2023
Genre: Roots Reggae
Artwork: Zoe Mazah
Photography: Alexandra Kolb
Styling: Coren Pollok
Hair & Makeup: Joana Ma
Produced and written by: Zoe Mazah, Louie Melody, Rocksteady Fred
Lyrics: Zoe Mazah
Instruments: Louie Melody, Pedro Pulga Silva (Bass), Nic Horns (Horns)
Mixed & Mastered: Rocksteady Fred
Zoe Mazah mixes her African and European heritage with Roots-Reggae vibes and the sounds of Nu-Soul and Dub. The Liberian/German singer and songwriter Zoe Mazah is writing soul-infused reggae songs of big and small emotions close to her thoughts and feelings.
Zoe Mazah’s three albums, Zoeciety, Exile African, and Golden Rebellion, including hit singles like, Could it be You ft Ky-Mani Marley, her dance floor smasher, Rock Steady, and her collaboration with Alborosie, Is dis Love, already became classics in the history of European Reggae.
Honored with several awards before, Zoe’s comeback EP, On Repeat, and follow-up singles produced in Portugal by Louie Melody again got a lot of recognition from the reggae community worldwide. In addition, she later released collaborations with the American Soul/Reggae act Silent Nancy and Reggae veteran Rob Symeonn and is part of the multidisciplinary artist and musician ZOOLOOK’s animated world, Stonefrenge.
Her long-awaited new Album, Higher Vibration, is scheduled for an April 14th, 2023, release date. The sum of passion and meeting with like-minded people became the start of Zoe Mazah’s fourth studio album. Higher Vibration is about finding out who you are and staying true to yourself, your values, and your beliefs.
Together with the two producers and musicians Louie Melody from Portugal and Rocksteady Fred from Sweden (Silent Nancy), the most down-to-earth album in Zoe Mazah’s catalog is presented. Connected through their love for heavy roots music, the trio’s collaboration led to the extraordinary original sound of Higher Vibration. The groove and the horns are at the center of the sound. All instruments played, the Deep Roots, Rock Steady, and Rub A Dub, combine perfectly with Zoe’s elegant, sometimes almost jazzy melodies and vintage arranged harmonies. At the same time, her timeless voice draws you into her world of thoughts and emotions.
Her lyrics speak about life itself. Honest, real, and even raw, the artist sings about her personal experiences. About being human, a mother, a woman, a lover, a friend, and most of all, a musician who does not only want to entertain but share a message with her audience. Zoe Mazah has extensive experience in the reggae scene and has previously collaborated with artists such as Alborosie and the Marleys. She plays Live worldwide with her band or in an eclectic electronic setup in a Live Dub format.
Zoe Mazah INTERVIEW
IRIE. What is it about Roots Reggae music that makes you want to be a voice for this genre of music?
ZOE MAZAH. What I love about Roots Reggae is that it’s music for the people. Everybody can feel it! It’s spiritual. It can be very political. It’s holistic and organic, and its message of one love is powerful. Roots Reggae Music is a vibe of its own and gathers people of different backgrounds, ages, and living situations.
IRIE. You’re about to release your new album, Higher Vibration, written and produced by you, Louie Medody, and Rocksteady Fred. Big Up! How did the three of you come together for this album collaboration?
ZOE MAZAH. I am a huge fan of Fred’s project Silent Nancy and had the great honor to collaborate with him and the singer Katie Burke for two singles. So when he asked me if I’d like to do an EP with him, I immediately said yes, send you ideas. I have been working with Louie for five years, and he became my wingman, biggest supporter, and mentor in finding my new sound. So it wasn’t a question at any time for me to ask him if he would join the project. It was like the perfect match; a creative triangle from Sweden to Germany and Portugal. We all came together for our love of Roots Reggae music, and what can I say? Listen to the album. I think you can feel the good vibes through all of our songs. We initially only wanted to make an EP, but we all loved working with each other so much that we decided to make it a full album.
IRIE. What inspired you to write Higher Vibration?
ZOE MAZAH. Well, you know, during recording sessions, band rehearsals, and also with friends, we reason a lot about music and life itself. In conversations with my friends and family, we reason also. From everyday struggles to philosophy and politics. I, in general, am a person who thinks a lot. And all of this influences the songs I write and the music I make. In all these conversations, I wanna make a song that will comfort you or a song that will make you dance, or another one that might give you hope or makes you smile. I get inspired by life itself.
IRIE. Is there a message you want to share through the album?
ZOE MAZAH. There’s a song on my album called Soul Rebel. When I think about it, I feel like yeah, that’s part of my mission. Be a soul rebel! Speak up. Lively up yourself. Be awake. Be a person who is really there and spread the LOVE. Vibrate higher. Be real. It just takes a little courage, and you’re not alone!
IRIE. Can you share with us your journey in making Higher Vibration?
ZOE MAZAH. Writing the songs and lyrics for this album was such a journey! I really challenged myself to dig deep. I wanted every song to be meaningful to me. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent listening to the raw instrumentals Fred sent me, meditating with them, and making them my own. Countless long walks with headphones. Sometimes I got carried away by listening to the beautiful horn arrangements and forgot what I wanted to sing. I wanted to vibrate higher! For myself. For the music, we wanted to bring it to life. For my audience.
IRIE. Is there a song from the new album that resonates most with you? If so, why?
ZOE MAZAH. That’s a difficult question. I love all these songs for another reason. One of my favorites is ‘I turn to you.’ It’s this moment of homecoming and surrender when I rest my soul on Jah.
And I love ‘Into the light!’ It sounds so sweet, like Reggae needs to be! ‘Boogie Rock’ cause I wrote it for my Dad. I love them all, and all are so very precious to me.
IRIE. What do you hope your fans or first-time listeners take with them after hearing the full ‘Higher Vibration’ album?
ZOE MAZAH. I hope that whoever listens to Higher Vibration will feel like after a great relaxed hour with a good friend. Uplifted. Refreshed. Encouraged to keep going and in a good and positive mindset. And I hope people will wanna listen to it again and again because the music makes their day a little better if it wasn’twasn’t so great. And I hope people will listen again because they are in such a good mood that the sound is just the perfect soundtrack and fits their good days and make it even more joyful.
IRIE. We hear that you have wrapped up a couple of music video shoots. Can you give us details?
ZOE MAZAH. Oh yes. Till now, I produced one super cute animation video that I’mI’m all crazy about. A very cool Live Dub Video and an actual music video clip. I totally love making visuals for my music and making everybody crazy to help me realize my ideas, and I have a lot of ideas! 🙂
IRIE. You are part of the animated world called STONEFRENGE, created by multidisciplinary artist and musician ZOOLOOK. What is it about this project that inspires you the most?
ZOE MAZAH. The entire world of STONEFRENGE is fascinating! The idea behind its setting out of space to a new world with a society built totally different from ours here is amazing! Equality and the one-love spirit are contagious, and I am the biggest fan of the characters. The drawings and animations are out of this world! I am totally proud to be a part of it.
IRIE. Is there anything you want to share with the IRIE audience?
ZOE MAZAH. Don’t you ever give in! Stay true to yourself and others. It’s not asked for too much to hope for a better day, and yes, we can make a difference. So be the love and spread it. I believe in the highest Vibration of you and me and that we are connected through this. Music is Love!