THE MUSIC MAN | Zak Abel
London based Singer/Songwriter and Musician Zak Abel knows a thing or two about penning the perfect pop song, which is hardly surprising since he has worked with some of the biggest artists in the world and has been dancing to Gypsy Kings since he was 5. Models 1 here chats with recent talent signing to get a little more familiar.
M1: If you could claim one great song as your own work, what would it be and why?
ZA: Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye. I’d love to be the reason that hundreds of thousands of babies are born around the world.
M1: As an artist, what positive and negative impacts do you think social media has had on the music industry?
ZA: Social media connects artists with their fans and let’s them say things in exactly the way they want to say it – to many people. Some of the collaborations I’ve done have stemmed from social media. The down side is that I don’t think social media is very good for our mental health. I think it distracts us and makes us feel inferior.
M1: If you could have a jam session with any 3 musicians dead or alive, who would they be and why?
ZA: Joni Mitchel – her music is like angels, clouds and rainbows, with a bit of depression for good measure. She’s one of the most fearless writers there ever was.
Chilly Gonzales – I could listen to this guy play piano for the rest of my life and not get bored. He’s a genius.
Bill Withers – I would love to just hang out with the dude. He seems so wise and even if we didn’t come up with a song, I feel like I’d learn something about life.
M1: When it comes to music, what is your guilty pleasure?
ZA: Listening to Brazilian Funk music full volume on my headphones on the train and shamelessly wiling out.
M1: Which artist, in your opinion has smashed it in 2018?
ZA: Kanye West, obviously.
M1: What song reminds you most of your childhood?
ZA: Gypsy Kings – Bamboleo. I was 4 years old and for some reason whenever I heard this song, I felt the need to take off all my clothes and run around the living room. Don’t ask me why.
M1: Do you think there is an intrinsic link between music and fashion?
ZA: For sure! It’s no accident that when The Kooks – in their Naive era – started wearing straw hats, everyone wore straw hats to align with The Kooks’ lifestyle. Equally when Jungle and Stormzy were starting to get popular, they were wearing full Adidas track suits and suddenly that was the coolest thing to be wearing if you were into that kind of music.
M1: Do you have any unusual pre-show rituals?
ZA: I sometimes steam if my voice is feeling a bit sore. A little band huddle is always a good thing to do too!
M1: Where is top of your bucket list to perform in the world?
ZA: Brazil or USA would be awesome. Some of my favourite music has come from there.
M1: A lot of your songs are about love and relationships. Are you big on romance?
ZA: Yeah, I’m definitely a romantic type. The Holiday is a go-to movie over Christmas!
M1: If you could have anyone cover one of your songs, who would it be and which song?
ZA: If Kendrick Lamar covered my song You Come First, it would be the ultimate sign that anything is possible in life.
M1: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
ZA: Sure! I’m obsessed with Melody. I always try to find a dope melody over some chords first. Then when I’m happy with the melody, I try to push myself to dig deep and talk about something that I genuinely care about, something that is important to me. Lyrics are important.
M1: Our M1 Curve girl Karmi is one of your backing singers – what is it like working with her?
ZA: I love Karmi! We’ve known each other since we were 15. She’s actually working on her own material atm. I think she’s an amazing artist and I can’t wait for the world to hear her music when the time is right!
M1: What do you think your biggest fashion faux-pas has been since becoming an artist?
ZA: Definitely the sideburns. Having been a late bloomer in life, the prospect of facial hair was a very exciting one for me. Therefore, I let those sideburns grow with the freedom of a blue whale in the ocean. Unfortunately, I realised they looked terrible about a year too late.
M1: Talk us through a night in with you?
ZA: There will be tea, DMC (deep meaningful conversations), Zelda on the Nintendo switch and there may be some vegan ice cream if we can muster up the courage to spend £6 on a tub of ice cream.