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The romantic that I am musically falls in love almost every week and sometimes even many times a week. Recently, I got the biggest crush on Zak Abel. Born from an English mother and a Moroccan father (just in case you’re passionate about finding out everyone’s ethnic background), this young lad coming from the other side of the Thames writes since he’s 15 and is a self-taught pianist and guitarist. How I wish I could say that. And if this wasn’t enough already, Zak can also boast about signing his first record deal before 18. “I was 17 and I got glandular fever and so I kinda fucked up my exams, he recently told during an interview with Rinse FM. And at the same time I got a record deal. So I was like ‘You know what? I’m not gonna continue school!'”
Like many other fellow artists, Zak Abel made some little detours before he finally decided to follow his own destiny. In 2014, this fan of Paolo Nutini, Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers therefore laid down vocal tracks on British dance producer Wookie‘s Higher.
Later the same year, he flirted with the UK top 20 for the very first time thanks to his featuring on garage duet Gorgon City‘s. “I was working with a producer called Jeopardize and I think his manager knew Gorgon City’s manager. Jimmy Napes had just written the song with Gorgon City and they were looking for a vocalist, he recalled. So the manager got in touch with Jeopardize’s manager and said ‘Is there anyone you know?’. And she recommended me. Three days later I got sent the song and about four days later I recorded it and they liked it, which is cool.” The 19-year-old Englishman then followed them on tour last summer but also sang live with Bondax.
Meanwhile, Zak Abel apparently felt exhilarated enough to release his first solo project earlier this month… with some help from a producer called Joker. I’m absolutely sure you’re gonna LOVE these four tracks, my friends: Zak’s tone is heavenly. But if you live outside the UK, I do have to break down some bad news to you: the Joker Presents… Zak Abel EP is not yet available on iTunes Belgium (and in other countries as well, I assume) and his label Atlantic Records UK confirmed via email that there was no release date on the schedule for us at the moment. But go ahead and feel free to hit the replay button over and over again on his Soundcloud stream.
This collab with Joker was supposed to be a one-time thing for what happens to be the first music video (directed by Fred Rowson) out of this EP: Wise Enough. This jam has been recorded a year ago and Zak got along so well with him that he came back to him even though he experimented with a few other songwriters and producers in the meantime. “At the time I wrote the song I was starting to realise that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. The song is a celebration of my own ignorance, he explained in Notion Magazine. It was a statement to myself, like an affirmation, that I was going to walk through life being more open minded. It is an optimistic song. It’s about self-realisation and realising that it’s OK not to know everything. We all do that thing where we argue our point of view even when we’re not sure we are right in the first place. Wise Enough is about that moment when you realise there’s a greater wisdom in stepping back from a situation and admitting that you might not be right and don’t have to be right either. That’s quite liberating.” Let me remind you one more time: this guy is only 19 years old, ladies and gentlemen!
Currently working on his debut album, Zak Abel has already mentioned a few upcoming collaborations but I’m pretty sure that, just like me, you probably don’t need anything more to dare to predict a brilliant future to this cutie.