Interview: Introducing Neave Zaria

Emerging talent Neave Zaria is just 18 years old, but her big voice was captivating years before. Having released her debut single earlier this year and with more music on the way we caught up with the soulful star to find out more…

Back in February you released your debut single If I See You can you tell us the story behind the song?
It’s about relationships, and how time can be a great healer and change the way you feel, but never who you are deep down. It’s the first song that I’ve written in collaboration with my producer Chas. I had an idea one night, just me a guitar and a glass of wine and we developed it together in the studio.  

You have such a strong and soulful voice, but how would you describe your style of music?
I think it’s Classic Pop with a Soul soul if that makes sense! A few people have said that on this first song my voice sounds a cross between Adele and Amy (Winehouse) which I take as a massive compliment, but the next couple of songs we have set for release have a more laid back souly feel to them. 

We hear Amy Winehouse is a big inspiration of yours, what is it about her that really stood out to you?
She had one of the greatest female voices I’ve ever heard, so silky, smooth and sexy, and her song-writing was phenomenal. I remember seeing a video of her at the start of her career on Jools Holland, when he introduced her as having one of the greatest female voices he had ever heard. She was amazing, but very fragile. So sad. 

Who else inspires you?
Etta JamesNina SimoneJorja Smith

Is there anyone who’s music you’re really into at the moment that you’d recommend listening?
Yeah Jorja Smith! Also like Pip Millett and the Black Pumas are really cool. I love that Motown sound.

Watch the video for If I See You below:

You’re not just a singer, you can play violin, piano, guitar and trumpet, what drew you to play such a variety of instruments and how are these skills brought into your music?
To be honest, I was just trying to find an outlet for my music from an early age like any other school kid trying music lessons! Ultimately, it ended up being my voice where I found I could express myself most. The piano is what I use to come up with ideas, but Chas and I usually work together on writing in the studio. 

Four years ago, you were invited to the X Factor bootcamp, but you instead went on an already planned school trip to Mongolia, how hard a decision was that?
Not really, to be honest I wasn’t really into it at that age, I kind of went into it for a dare more than anything! The decision was no contest, and the time I spent in Mongolia was the greatest experience of my life so far. I love being at one with nature, and that trip was a dream for me. 

You’ve obviously bounced-back pretty well after being discovered by a music producer, while singing at a large garden party, can you tell us about how that all came together and how you felt?
Dad was at a family friend’s birthday bbq and he asked me to drop in and sing a song, so I went there and bumped into Chas, who I hadn’t seen since I was about eight years old. Dad told him that I was now singing but was looking for someone to help write and record some original songs with. Chas mentioned that he was a music producer and would love to help. I sang Elton John Your Song a capella and Chas was very complimentary and we kind of went from there. I’ve been working with him now since August and we have seven or eight songs complete and ready for release. 

What’s next for you?
My next song is coming out on May 1st, we have recorded a great video for it filmed in Shoreditch and will be putting out a teaser of that in the next week or so. It will be released on Spotify and all other major streaming platforms from May 1st, and I really hope everyone likes it. To create music, put it out there and find people love it is the biggest buzz of all.

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