In a world of glamour and highlight reels, authenticity is hard to find and even more difficult to share in a meaningful way. 19-year-old superstar Zoe Wees has cracked the code as she wholeheartedly embraces all her vulnerabilities. Having released her debut extended play Golden Wings on May 21, the singer-songwriter is ready to do even greater things in the world of music. Before superstardom, though, exists a more humble beginning.
From her apartment in Hamburg, Germany, Zoe Wees was all smiles in the virtual press conference. Although encased in a rectangular screen, her visuals were not a matter to go unnoticed; Zoe’s slicked-back low ponytail and flawless-looking skin dominated attention. The highlight of the look was, of course, her radiant smile, remaining ever-present on her face as she readily and attentively answered questions. Aside from her visuals, Zoe’s genuineness was apparent throughout the conference. She did not shy away from any topic. It is what she is known for, her openness in talking about issues that matter. Her charm radiated across the virtual space as Zoom participants reacted to all her answers, setting the chat afire with messages of wit and support.
My debut EP Golden Wings is out now! These songs are autobiographical and very special to me, so I hope you enjoy it. My mom told me the one's who leave are looking down at us with golden wings, so that's why I called my EP "Golden Wings" 🖤 https://t.co/s8UbgPdRdp pic.twitter.com/UMniJ4tKW0
— Zoe Wees (@ZoeWeesOfficial) May 21, 2021
It’s Always Been Music
It has always been music for Zoe Wees. In school, she liked writing songs and making music. Having credited artists such as Jessie J and Miley Cyrus as her inspirations, she recalled a fond memory of Jessie J’s in particular. “I realized when I was at Jessie J’s concert that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” she shared on Zoom.
However, there was not a singular decisive moment when Zoe decided music was her passion. Having been musically inclined her entire life, Zoe gets constant reminders that she is doing what she is meant to be. “I’m going to take small steps every day. Even at the live streaming concert, I was like, alright. And the tour announcement, I was like, alright. That’s what I wanna do, and that’s what I have to do now.”
It was with an earnestness that Zoe shared her journey to music. It had the sweet feeling of catching up with an old friend as she leaned forward, eagerly engaging her audience. This is just how she carries herself. Her love for community permeates as part of her being. “For me, I really want to reach a lot of people because I feel like I have so much to say, and I’m able to make other people stronger.” With her music, she tries to foster the same level of connection. Zoe explained, “In my lyrics, I always talk the way I would talk to my best friends, so it’s basically – I want to help people feel less lonely with my music, even though I don’t know them and I can’t be there with them.”
— Zoe Wees (@ZoeWeesOfficial) July 9, 2021
An Insight Into Her Musical Process
Golden Wings is a five-track extended play that has already achieved its fair share of successes and is just another reflection of Zoe Wees. With almost 300 million Spotify plays, the album hit the mark as intended. The title is a homage to Zoe’s late great-grandmother, whom her mom said is always looking down at Zoe’s family with golden wings. The extended play showcases Zoe’s haunting vocals as she delves into buried feelings of anxiety, insecurities, her medical condition, and darker topics. The previously released digital single, “Control,” talks about her struggles with anxiety and benign rolandic epilepsy.
It is this medley of a soulful, raw voice and heart-tugging lyrics that resonate with so many people. Zoe tackles topics of relatability and importance. From her music, “people can expect a lot of real shit. It’s all gonna be real; it’s all gonna be emotions, but things that people struggle with everyday.” She concluded matter-of-factly, “It’s no bullshit.”
As an insight into her musical process, Zoe offered the hilarious oxymoron: “I hate writing about happy things. It makes me sad.” Delving deeper, this made sense as she explained music is her therapy and her songs are a form of storytelling. There is no shortage of topics to cover, either, and Zoe often finds herself having an overflow of topics to dive into. As her music touches the hearts of listeners, Zoe experiences a similar emotional catharsis in her song-writing process. She recalled, “When I write lyrics and stuff with my best friends, I feel so much better. And I’ve actually cried because of it.”
Of course, there are hesitations apparent when exposing oneself in such a way. As such, a qualm one might have when expressing vulnerability is fear of how it’s received. Zoe Wees, however, shows no fear since her songs come from a place of authenticity and readiness. “I write my songs, and I love what I’m doing, and that to me is all that matters.” She leaves the reception up to the listeners, knowing she has done her part as a musician.
Unsurprisingly, there is no need for worry anyway. From her U.S. television debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden to her selection as YouTube’s ‘Artist on the Rise,’ Zoe’s impact has already been made. When asked how she feels knowing her music resonates with so many, and in particular with her Wingz, Zoe’s fandom name coined for the strength they give her, Zoe bubbled with love and excitement. “I’m so happy [when I see people’s reactions.] The one thing is we grow together, from the beginning. We’re gonna grow together when I go on tour.”
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There’s Only More to Come
The world is looking bright for Zoe Wees as she recently announced her headlining European tour. Although very excited to perform all of her songs, being asked to choose just one had her stumped as she circled through her array of hit songs. Finally, she reached her choice with a laugh: “‘Girls Like Us’ because it’s the easiest to sing.” Forecasting for the future, Zoe smiled while noting, “There will never be a concert where I’m not gonna cry.”
Zoe Wees shows us that authenticity is powerful; amidst its darkness and realness, it is deeply touching and possesses a light in its own right. Zoe is not yet done embracing this authenticity in her music and the stories she chooses to share. In fact, “I’m still at the very beginning,” she shared resolutely. “I’m just starting.”
Enjoyed this piece? Check out another talented artist, Young Devyn, here!
Photo Credits: Jeff Hahn