Leaving behind a career in social media marketing and an unfinished advertising degree at Texas State, Valin Zamarron, known as ZEALE, has found success in the music industry. With a Red Bull sponsorship, a song in the trailer for one of the year’s most anticipated comedy movies and a tour opening for industry heavyweights, ZEALE is on the rise.
EM: How and when did your music career start?
Z: I started back in high school writing poetry and doing things of that sort. I started writing, performing and creating my freshman year at Texas State. The music that I made at those early stages was very different from what I make today, but it definitely was a predecessor to my present path in music.
EM: What pushed you to pursue music?
Z: I’ve always been a dream chaser. I’ve always wanted to do this. My goal hasn’t changed. I made the decision to take a shot, because there is a difference between living and being alive. It was worth the sacrifice. I told myself, “If you’re going to do something crazy, you might as well have fun.” It is the most stimulating thing for me. It allows me to not be very in line and be outside of the box.
EM: How would you describe your music style?
Z: My music is experimental, powerful and fun. It is hip-hop indie-rock. As a new artist in the industry, I want to change music and br ing something new. I experiment with sounds. Obviously I make mistakes at this early stage, but it’s part of the experience, and I love it.
EM: You have toured with Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION and one of your songs, “Black Mr. Rogers,” is featured in the trailer for the movie “Neighbors” featuring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. How are you dealing with the sudden fame?
Z: It’s definitely a step up the ladder. Everything that I’ve done has helped me get to this place. The recognition is fantastic. Seth Rogen is one of my favorite writers and comedians. The recognition at that level is great. It feels good. The tour (with Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION) taught me how to be better as a performer, elevate my show and handle the pressure of being on the road. The only place I want to be is writing music. I would prefer to not do the whole buzz, but it’s necessary for music in its early stages. I love writing, but I can’t do just that right now.
EM: Which artists inspire you and where do you look for inspiration for your lyrics?
Z: I look up to Joe Strummer from The Clash. He had a strong persona. He was a creative force and a great leader. Also (I look up to) Jay-Z, and his ability to be a force behind business and an innovator. He’s a multifaceted artist. There’s always a struggle, something to root for, so I look at the past and the present and I write about that.
EM: What is the next move in your career?
Z: Number one hit is the next goal. The past six months I have been working on new material, focusing on new music and creating new songs. Then it would be sharing it the world. How that’s going happen? I really don’t know yet, but the goal is to share the music.
EM: What advice would you give to a new artist trying to make it?
Z: Have a serious gut check. Are you ready to maybe not eat, to sacrifice friends and comforts to pursue a career? If the answer is yes, be completely committed. That should be their first move.