"I want listeners to be able to relate to what I’m singing about, but also feel good when listening to my music."




Zola Courtney is bringing a stripped back, down to earth approach to her music. Her latest single, ‘Nothing To Lose’ is a soulful RnB influenced track that offers insight into her potential for creating heartfelt songs that are relatable, but emotionally honest. Nothing to lose is about being honest about who you are and accepting it and being happy with that. The song was a bit of an ode to myself after a year of worrying and a lot of doubt in myself and my music which I let escalate,” she explains. 

With more music on the way, Milk spoke to Zola Courtney about her influences, songwriting process, and the choices behind the exclusive playlist she created:

How would you describe yourself? What do you want listeners to take away from your music?

I’m a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who makes Pop/R&B/Soul styled music. I try to make my music as organic as possible and I like to use a lot of live instrumentation. I tend to write about things that are going on in my life, such as arguments with my boyfriend to feeling self-doubt. I want listeners to be able to relate to what I’m singing about, but also feel good when listening to my music, I like to make happy music.

You mentioned that it is important for you to be genuine with the music you create. What does that mean to you, what makes someone genuine?

For me, it means making the music that I want to make. It’s also about presenting myself as just me, and not some product that’s been tailored to suit what’s popular within the music industry right now. I think the general public is really good at seeing through things that aren’t genuine and the artists that stand the test of time are those who are honest with their approach.

‘Nothing to Lose’ is an excellent introduction to what you want your music to represent. Can we expect a similar sound from you or is that something that you are open to exploring further?

It took me a while to find my sound but I’m definitely happy with the sound I have now so, yes you can expect a similar sound from me. I do think, however, that my sound will naturally change over time. I’m not against the idea of taking my music in a different direction sonically.

You mentioned that you went through a year of worrying and self-doubt, what changed that? Tell me more about that feeling.

I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist and had a lot of doubt in myself and my music which I let escalate when I was in LA. I wrote ‘Nothing To Lose’ on my last day and made an agreement with myself that I had to stop worrying about what other people think and learn to accept me for me. That’s what the song is about.

What’s your songwriting process like, how do you keep yourself inspired?

It’s really important for me to experience different situations and spend time with different people; that really helps me with my songwriting. I also keep a little notebook on me a lot of the time. If I have a lyric idea or something small happens I’ll write it down and refer back to it when writing a song. For example, it could be as small as what someone was wearing that day, but descriptive things like that I find really work well when creating a picture within a song. 

Who would you like to work/collaborate with in the future (any medium)?

I’d love to work/collaborate with Daniel Caesar.

What else can your fans expect from you in the near future? Are you working on any upcoming projects?

Yes, I’m putting out two more songs really soon and will have an EP out this December. I am hoping to put out a more extended EP later next year as well.

Do you like performing live? How do you prepare for it?

I actually get really nervous performing live and it is something I need to work on, I’m hoping the more I perform the easier it will become! I do enjoy myself usually about halfway through my set once my nerves have subsided a bit. In terms of preparing, I usually just practice, practice, practice! And try to look after my voice.

Tell us about the playlist you put together – what do you like about it?

It’s a collection of some of my favorite songs so I like it just for that but, I think there are some really cool artists in there that are up and coming such as Pip Millet, Kaiit and Joesef. I’m excited to see what they put out next and what direction they take their music. I’ve also got some classic songs in there from Artists that I grew up listening to such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, and Amy Winehouse. It’s all very upbeat and happy which is the feeling I’m trying to create with my music.

Image courtesy of Zola Courtney. 

Stay tuned to Milk for more Weekend Playlists

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