Moments ago, Canadian Nigerian R&B/soul singer-songwriter Zenesoul, pronounced “Zen-Soul,” introduced her brand-new EP, Brown Sugar, following on the heels of last year’s Coffee.
Explaining the EP, Zenesoul shares, “This is a special project for me. ‘Brown Sugar’ has been in the works since my last release ‘Coffee,’ and I am so excited for the world to finally experience it. This project is the positive vibes I feel we all really needed this pandemic. ‘Brown Sugar’ is me not settling for anything less than the love I deserve, while being realistic in the energy I send out into the world. I hope the EP can help us all find this love and most importantly, help us win in the biggest relationship, with ourselves.”
Whereas Coffee delved into the painful side of love and relationships, Brown Sugar probes the enchanting side of love.
According to Zenesoul, “In a world filled with bitterness and heartbreak, ‘Brown Sugar’ is the sweet side of love. The ingredient that makes coffee more tolerable. Whether love is a fantasy or not, I’m on a journey to find out, and I am manifesting the type of love I want in my life, instead of drowning in my painful experiences.”
With more than one million streams on Spotify, on Brown Sugar, Zenesoul offers plush textures of creamy R&B flavored by her crème de la crème voice, a voice akin to warm honey.
CelebMix spoke with Zenesoul to find out more about the person behind the music, how she got started in music, the genesis of her unique name, and why she makes music.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
I’ll be really honest. I sing a lot of my own songs in the shower; it is a perfect time to make any changes to any of the lyrics. But aside from me, I would definitely say lately “DYING 4 YOUR LOVE” by Snoh Aalegra
Who is your favorite music artist?
My favorite artist is definitely Lauryn Hill.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
So many amazing artists are killing it right now! I would say Tiana Major9, Joyce Wrice, Jazmine Sullivan, so many to name.
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
I’ve always loved music, but I was insecure about my voice and my parents didn’t approve of it. After finishing University, my Dad became a bit more accepting of it and one of my ex-boyfriends decided to get me 10 studio sessions for my birthday. That is how my first song ‘Pricey’ and my first EP ‘Worth.’ came about. I haven’t stopped making music since.
What’s the story behind the name Zenesoul?
Well, my first name is Nene, so while trying to find a way to make Nene look cool as a stage name, I turned the first N sideways to a Z. I loved the idea of Zene being my stage name but having it pronounced as ‘Zen’ because I’ve been told that my voice is soothing, so it was perfect. I also found out that ‘Zene’ meant music in Hungarian, so I fell in love. The problem is, another artist went by ‘Zene’ so I added the soul at the end since my music is soulful and viola, Zenesoul.
What musicians/singers influenced you the most?
I’m influenced by a lot of soulful artists such as Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, India Arie, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Keyshia Cole, and Brandy.
What inspired your new EP, Brown Sugar?
‘Brown Sugar’ is inspired by the movies and love songs I used to hear about from back in the day. The way love used to be narrated was so special to me. Although my parents may have their own ups and downs that they’re going through, the love they had towards each other and always shown me played a role in this project.
Do you have a favorite track on the EP, one that means more to you for some reason?
It’s hard to choose a favorite song. It’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. But I will say that ‘Yourself’ hits me differently. It really speaks to me right now. I’m not currently in love with anyone, so most of the other songs are the type of love I want. My current state is loving myself.
What do you want people to take away when they listen to your music?
I want people to take away a message and to know that if they feel how I feel, that they are not alone. I want people to know that it is okay to be vulnerable and to put your feelings out there.
Is your sound evolving? If so, in which direction?
Yes! I definitely believe my sound is evolving. I feel it’s more soulful but yet very melodic. It is very nostalgic but yet very modern. It is evolving into the exact sound I was going for.
Why do you make music?
I make music to relate to people. I make music to heal from my past experiences. I make music because it is something no one can take from me and I make music because it is what makes me the happiest.
Looking to the future, what’s next?
A lot of new music, more collaborations, afrobeats, and stories. Consistency is part of the reason I’m here right now and I plan to maintain my consistency.