It's very easy for me to remember my first encounter with the artist known as Zeeza, because it happened maybe a month into my first big foray into online music, at mp3.com. One of the first things you had to notice in their community was that everywhere you turned, you saw an artistic pic of this woman, the same woman. The pictures were captivating but at the same time they kept popping up all over the place. I remember this moment as the one time I ever actually picked a fight online. I started a really obnoxious thread about her and some of the other fixtures in that community, I suppose trying to find a way that people paid attention to me in that vast melting pot. Anyway I called her ugly which she clearly wasn't of course, but I did get noticed for doing so (whatever it takes, I thought). It was maybe the next night when I received an artist mail from her, saying she loves me, of all things. :) It was the beginning of a memorable friendship to say the least. But it was after that when I became involved in her music. It was that voice, still maybe the best voice I've ever heard in indieland. This became the start of my promoting other artists because I needed to tell everybody how good she was. We collaborated a few times with great results as well. At the time she was one of the few female producers I knew and she went thru an amazing run of great songs for several years there. It seemed effortless the way she churned them out. At the same time she had this magnetic pull, this beacon that eminated out of her. She would post some sort of rant and crowds would gather, lovers, haters, being her friend was totally where the action was, and you never knew when her next appearance would occur.
I was just reading on her IMP page some comments I made about her music in the year 2000. Check them out if you want to see somebody smitten with another's music. :) Also I'd add that my favorite song of hers is Let Her Go which is on her page, it's a unique song, is basically a freeflow, she just started to play and sing and it came out, it was a song that was written spontaneously.
Zeeza is actually Christiane. She still has fans around the world. Some know her only as a French singer. Her first language was French. She is wise beyond her years. At her musical peak she was everything that Madonna ever wished she was times a thousand. She is rock, she is the blues, she is a country girl. She is all about peace and love but inside of her is a fierce warrior. She has been called the Andy Warhol of photoshop. but what she does more than anything is that she sings.
Zeeza (in case you want to listen while you read)
Scott: Okay let's start from the beginning. How old were you and do you remember where you were when you first thought to yourself you might have musical talent?
Zeeza: A long time ago when I was young, maybe 5, I sang to my sisters to help them fall asleep, I composed songs and they liked it. I would sit long hours under a self-playing piano, just to hear the vibrations and feel the musical notes from underneath. At 8 or 9 I started to play accordion, a big Italian one that my father played also. I learned by ear, like all of my instruments. I started playing guitar at around 13, with 3 chords, I could do almost every song I knew with a twist. One of my first songs was the Monkees "I'm not Your Stepping Stone", and all broke loose when I learned more chords. I slowly got into all styles and loved to sing my heart out. I got compliments for my vocals. The guitar chords where always kind of "off" but it worked. I discovered the capo later on to give me more options. Harmonica and tam tam came next. Camping and music got me into blues, folk and old time country. I thought that maybe I have talent, at least I thought I did from the compliments. Mostly friends and family back then.
Scott: You and I both surely remember a time when you were famous on the internet. My question is, was that enough for you? Or do you still crave the sort of attention you once did?
Zeeza: Yes I remember and I still think of stuff we went through to push out our music. It was wild and sometimes felt so overwhelming that I thought it would never end. No it was never enough for me, I could have gone on forever to be honest. I loved the pioneering, the new world of digital magic, the stars glowing around my heart, the music revolution, so much going on at once. I loved it. I don't crave it, yet I'd jump right back in if pay-for-play came back. The message boards, the downloads, the features, the feeding of my soul. I'd never deny wanting that time line back again. I know that I had the goods and probably still do, I would only need a small refresher buzz to bring me back into that space and time. The attention feeds my ego, the love of music gives me lots of chi. The craving to be full of creative energy will never go away.
Scott: If you right now play a concert somewhere, where would it be? Carnegie Hall or around a campfire, or.. ?
Zeeza: Yeah,around a nice warm campfire, beautiful sand, a glass of elderberry wine and a few people listening. Perhaps millions watching from the future wanting to know what its all about. I'd like to send my recordings into deep outer space somewhere where it would be loved. It's probably already there.
Scott: I know this is a tough question considering all the songs you've written, but if you had to pick one, what's Zeeza's greatest song?
Zeeza: I am split into many pieces on this. Great for someone else, great for me. It is difficult to pick one song. "T'aime Trop" is the song that I feel is true to me, I can sing it in many styles and it is in French. It felt good when I first did it. There are many others that come close, depending on the weather and time. "Let Her Go" was the most spontaneous song, one shot full moon song. "You're Always Trying To Numb Me" got some underground stream attention that I never expected. "Evangelina" reached the spirits, and "Points of Five" is beyond my control, it used me as a portal for earthly mysteries. Greatest in the download area would be "Pagan Birthday Song". "House of Rising Sun" is well loved as a cover song. "Baby Come Back" left me with a scar that inspired me to write "You Never Know" and "When My Heart Hurts". "All I Ever Need Is You" and "So Bad" were my instant cure songs. "Last Of The Mana" is a translation of the pain I felt when they cut the giant pine forest near my home. "And So Will I" I still don't get how that came into me, I feel as if it were a God inspired song. I still don't know what my greatest song is. Perhaps in my next one.
Scott: You were always open about your sexuality. How much does that topic and your music coincide, intermingle?
Zeeza: It is a full circle. Imagine trying to get inspired with a rope around your brain, holding you back, warning you of what you can't do, can't say, can't think. Sexuality is not one thing, its a human energy with many parts, it can be our life force expressed artistically. Without it, my songs would sound like deflating tires on a hot day, restricted on all dimensions. It would not speak to the earth and heaven, hearts and souls it would not reach into the very depths of our lives. Sensual is feeling with the natural inner power.
Scott: Thinking about your outspokenness and the way you posted rants over the years, you definitely seemed in touch with your angry side. Is that something that is still a big part of you? When's the last time you got really pissed off about something? :)
Zeeza: Rock and Roll will never die. It's there yeah. I don't feel it's gone, I can still rock into a song and feel the thunder with words. Hey I've got to tell you something, hey I know where you're hiding, deep below the sea, way above the clouds over my head. Can't you see your destruction? I can see your spark and lightning, I will carry you like an angel, I won't spin you round like the devil would, not me, I've got an Angel's heart, sweet and mellow, ready to forgive you, I will bend like a crying willow. yeah, "bend like a weeping willow", these words come out by themselves. Words are words. Anger is transformable so it's best to do something more pleasant with the energy. Music and Art expression are ideal ways to push out the bad chi. Music, laughter and tears rule.
will be listeners, producers will be producers. I like to
think of both
of these as helpful in creating the sound that some people want to
hear. When it comes to doing spontaneous composition, there
is no time
or space for complicated effects and noise reduction. That
the fact, bring it on, its all good. I'd love to get into
dub step with my songs. Perfection is what a song
would be beside a campfire I think. Sand on the
sparkling, deep fresh full moon, air and love all around..
perfect song, this is its perfect universe. Lots of
energy. Some of the technical advice that I got was very
compliments mingled with sound techniques, extra- ordinary advice from
respected professionals. In my first
recordings, I did not think of perfection, that was another world.
fans did not even notice it, at least in my works.
was brutal , "Are those birds in the back ground?", "tune your guitar
the normal way", "Whats that thumping noise on the left?", "are you
using a capo?", "What chord is that?" "Please use a drum
machine or a
ticker so we can play along", "What effect is that?", "Is your guitar
tuned?" The advice was almost always on my guitar, the chords
tuning, never on my vocal sounds or vocal styles. I learned that nobody
has the same advice, its a matter of taste and preferences. I like the
idea and feel of slowing down and then stepping up in a song, ever so
lightly. Advice is good, but I don't always use it because
does hold me back, makes it harder to let go and let it happen.
respect great production and a good song.
Scott: When I first ran into you online, one aspect of your art was very visual, I think you were somewhat of a groundbreaker the way you included a lot of photos in your artist persona. Do you still have that hobby and work with visual art? and does it bother you at all that you were doing things 15 years ago that only came into vogue recently?
Zeeza: I am filled with inspiration as always and feel good about paving the way for other Artists that do the same now. I really think I may have had something to do with it, if only in my own "selfie" mind state. I still love to do artful things, create and take pictures. Photoshop is in my blood still lingering with inspirations. It was fun to do when very few were doing it, now its a normal thing. Back then, people thought I was insanely Narcissistic doing all those selfies. I would do it all over again with another 699 Zeeza Pics. My features have changed, but the possibilities are even more intense now that "normal" means nothing. Now there are millions of Zeeza inspired selfies. I love it.
Zeeza: "Let it happen". Yes I still let it happen. Sometimes I didn't let it and I regretted it, but somehow I fixed it. Its a matter of respecting my own intuitions and magic. In music, nothing beats letting it happen.
Scott: You did an amazing amount of great songs as a writer and producer in a fairly short span, from like 1999 to 2002. Do you think you're capable of doing that right now if you wanted to and what possible impetus might that take? :)
Zeeza: I still write, sing and compose songs, its always there. It would be nice to have some form of recording going on all day long to prove it. It would help to have a quick set up to record and upload all in one shot anytime anywhere. The technology is there. I know that there is something left to push out with my music, I feel it.
Scott: Have you ever had any encounters with UFOs or the supernatural?
Zeeza: Encounters with some kind of energy yes. The strangest feeling of impending danger on the early morning of 9/11. 2 metal planes parked on each side of my house, tip of plane pointing east. Alien security? I am certain it was a dream field of some kind. The planes seemed alien and warning me of something I should not interfere with. They were just "parked", no noise, no engines. It felt like they were in another dimension to me. When I woke completely and got out of bed, one of my sons said that new York had been hit by terrorists. That lingering feeling of having been pre-warned, minutes before the event. I assume it could be coincidence. As if they were keeping me from entering that dimension to go back in time and prevent it? I wondered how long they had been there parked quietly in the air, did they implant me? did they scan my brain? I have no clue. I had seen the number 11.11, a portal a few times that year. My logical side wants to keep it a dream, I guess I should. (Scott: I want to interject here that I can attest that Zeeza had a premonition about 9/11. I was working with her online that morning on a project involving another music site. She wasn't herself, she was utterly manic, I asked her what's wrong several times. An hour or so later was the event that changed the world.)
Scott: What makes you sad? What makes you happy?
Zeeza: What makes me sad are situations where no one believes me and I'm telling the truth, giving a gift of love only to have it crushed and disposed of by a jealous jelly bean, learning the hard way that life is not always a blast of cherry kool aid where people love each other and trust each other. I'm sad when I see and feel the love and no one else does. It makes me sad to be sad. I don't like sad because it's useless past a song. Sad is dark and grey, its only useful for a day of crying I get happy when l want to be happy, I get sad when I'm not feeling love. Healthiness seems to be my trail to joy, I am happy when I sing, play guitar and do art. I'm happy when I do my taichi and kung fu with my ear phones blasting. I like to be happy every day. I am happy with my family and wish it would never end. It makes me happy to feel the rain storm, listening to the falling rain, thunder and water falling on the roof. I feel happy when the moon is so full it seems to want to explode. There is no end to this question, I could go on for eternity. The sound of fresh guitar strings, snow falling on a pine tree at night, the smell of roses, fog filled farms, newborn baby on my breast, walking on wet grass, the sweet sap of a peach, lemons and salt...singing in my studio, dancing, sour worms and chocolate..When I feel like a buck I run and hide from the hunters, jumping over the green soft moss, in the woods, while I wonder why, I'm not human enough to be a prey this way. Joy is such a searched sugar, it's a matter to time when it becomes a pill or an electro target to our hearts. Happy is a trail.