Music Premiere: ‘Tendency’ By ZEMBU

by Lucy Lerner

14th February, 2020

Photo by Sophie Pellegrini

My first thought when hearing the latest single ‘Tendency’ by indie-pop-electronic producer and vocalist ZEMBU was, it makes me feel alive. There is something in the warmth and airiness of the song that takes you to a place where the sun is shining down on your face and you feel calm and free. Isn’t music amazing to be able to do such a thing?

It is therefore interesting when you learn more about ZEMBU, her life and how nature is reflected through her music. Previous single ‘Human’ contains the sound of water and her Instagram photos feature beautiful shots of the ocean, trees and snowy mountains. ZEMBU recently moved from her lifelong home in Seattle to Colorado and says she loves “the mountains and making songs about the nuances of life.

Following a busy 2019 where ZEMBU was featured on Spotify’s Fresh Finds and Study Break editorial playlists, her new single is about the old tendencies that crop up as we look upon our home and previous relationships.

‘Tendency’ is filled with light with a surging string section, haunting vocals, and ethereal arrangments building in momentum creating an overall feeling of well-being. It is the first track from ZEMBU’s debut EP released on March 27th.

Photo by Alex Woldeab

We interviewed ZEMBU to find out more about her new release and musical influences:

Tell me about your new single ‘Tendency’?
‘Tendency’ is about the old tendencies that resurface when visiting home and stepping back into what was familiar during childhood and adolescence. It’s about regressing in certain environments and the process of finding grace for ourselves when we do.

How would you describe your musical style to new listeners?
Mmm, I like to say it’s indie-pop electronic. Moody, ethereal, and ambient….with soul. 

Which music artists influenced you while growing up?
Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Stan Getz, Hikaru Utada, Diana Ross. I grew up with parents who were musicians and they played a lot of jazz, blues, and Motown around the house. 

If you weren’t making music what else would you be doing?
I would likely still be involved in the music scene in some capacity. Before I started creating music, I actually worked in festivals and radio, which I loved! Outside of music though – I would love to live off the grid and be more connected to nature. I could see myself doing permaculture work and living a life more connected to the land.

What challenges do you face in the music industry today?
I would say the two challenges thus far have been lack of representation and saturation of the industry. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some absolutely incredible people. That being said, the overall lack of representation of women, femmes, and non-binary folks can be a challenge. It can feel isolating at times to be a woman in this industry, particularly a woman producer. I hope to cultivate collaboration with more equal gender representation and more varying representation in general.

The internet has been such an incredible vehicle to share and hear music, which I feel very grateful for, especially as a producer. On the other side of that, there is so much amazing music out there and at times it can also be a challenge to carve a path amongst so many incredible artists.

Your Instagram photos are very tranquil and relate to your style of music – what inspires you in your songwriting?
Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to connect the visuals and sounds. My songwriting is inspired by the human experience, my experience in this world, relationships, current events, activism, feminism, mental health, healing, and growth.

What’s a typical day for ZEMBU?
Waking up to coffee with my beautiful partner, Becca. Saying hello to our many house plants. Listening to the news. Checking in on emails sooner than I probably should. Breakfast tacos. Therapy. Lessons (I teach production and vocals to kids and adults). Practice. Producing music. More emails. Volunteering at the community radio station. Working on whatever project is going on. A dusk walk with my love after she gets home from work. Dinner tacos. Phone call catch-ups with family and friends. In sum, a very privileged life. 

3 things you cannot live without?
Sushi. Soy sauce. Plants

Your favourite up and coming music artist is….?
Saint Sinner

What’s next for ZEMBU?
The EP! It comes out on March 27. It’s been about a 6-month journey and I am so excited to share “recall” the EP at last! We are going to start playing some shows this spring and tour this summer.

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