10 things you need to know about french-algerian new yorker, lolo zouaï

A 'chill, emotional, sexy, fun' popstar to get excited about, we premiere the video for Lolo Zouaï​'s ‘Lose Myself’.

by Frankie Dunn
13 February 2019, 5:36pm

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Lolo Zouaï just won a Grammy. Kind of. Okay, okay... so it was her pal H.E.R. that won Best R&B Album for her eponymous 2018 record, but Lolo’s award-winning songwriting was right there on green-eyed album track, Still Down, and that definitely counts for something.

At just 23, Lolo Zouaï (“zoo-eye” as her Insta bio helpfully clears up) has already won acclaim for her glossy, culture-clashing pop music. “It’s a combination of all the places I’m from,” she says. “Hip-hop from the Bay Area, the lo-fi gritty feel from New York, Arabic melodies and classically French chords.” Born in Paris to French and Algerian parents (her earliest memory is singing French nursery rhymes in elementary school -- cute!), the family relocated to San Francisco when Lolo was a child. She recently switched coasts, trading California in for New York, which she now calls home.

“Vibe-wise, my songs can be chill, emotional, sexy, fun, and all that” Lolo tells us. All of the above emotions seemed to make their way into her break-out single High Highs to Low Lows last summer, which clearly resonated with many -- racking up over 10 million streams worldwide. If somehow you missed it, perhaps her recent Blood Orange collaboration, Jade, caught your attention.

Enough of that though. Today is all about Lose Myself, the other single from Lolo’s recent Ocean Beach double A-side. “I never really write love songs but this is the story of my first love,” she says. “The song is about not wanting to forget where I came from, so I shot the video in San Francisco with my friend Hanna Hotchkiss who worked on my first few videos.”

As she gears up for her biggest tour yet and then a debut album, take an exclusive first look at the lo-fi music video for Lose Myself and get to know more about Lolo Zouaï via these 10 fun facts.

1. She taught herself how to produce…
“I started in 2012 by playing around on the iPhone Garageband app. I’d send the songs to my friends with the generic email: ‘Hi. I just made a song with Garageband on my iPhone’. Then I was ready to level up, so I started working at American Apparel in order to buy myself a Macbook, mic and keyboard. I got Logic X and would practice by recreating the beats from songs that I liked and eventually started making my own stuff.”

2. As evidenced across her multilingual chansons, she’s a polyglot…
“I speak English, obviously. And I’m fluent in French. In French, I realise that I use the word coeur a lot, which means heart. In English, I love the word diamond… it just sounds good in songs. I barely speak any Arabic but I know a few words. Habibi is my favourite, it means my love. That makes me sound like a real romantic.”

3. The past year has been full of high highs, with minimal low lows…
“Just looking back at where I was a year ago is enough for me to feel proud. I got my own apartment and I’m in the process of mixing my first album right now. I’ve been really focused. Thankfully there haven’t been many lows. My iPhone storage is low though… which is really annoying.”

4. She’s a big fan of vintage Tommy Hilfiger, especially the iconic campaigns with...
“Destiny’s Child and Aaliyah.”

5. Um, she kind of just won a Grammy…
“Pretty crazy. I co-wrote Still Down On H.E.R.’s album. They were the first people I worked with when I moved to New York. She’s amazing. I’m really happy for her.”

6. This is her advice for when you’re feeling Blue
“Go running. My new apartment is right next to Prospect Park so I’ve been going on a lot of runs. Of course making music helps too… whenever I feel down I work on a new song and it turns the sadness into something positive.”

7. Lolo reckons the following fictional characters would enjoy her music...
“Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction or Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman. Also Ilana and Abbi from Broad City.”

8. She admires Dev Hynes for his effortless approach to making music...
“From what I saw he never overthinks anything. For Jade, he wrote his verse in 10 minutes and did three takes and was done. He also has a really distinct style, and has worked with artists across different genres, yet his sound is still recognisable. Not to mention he’s so sweet and humble.”

9. She’s got a thing for Nascar merch...
“I think it came from my love of thrifting. I was always attracted to sportswear and its bright colours. I really just love vintage cars.

10. She has an impressive secret skill...
“I can solve a Rubik's Cube in about two minutes.”

Gonna be in America this April/May? Join the tour here!

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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