Updated: May 11
Since we last profiled Zayd in the months following the near viral rise of his debut single, "Father", the Regina rocker has been steadily planning in the background for a big 2023. Plotting, waiting.
Now, in March of 2023, we're beginning to see the fruits of that labour and, boy, are they sweet!
The year started off with a bang for the young performer, with the music video for "Silent Story"; shot by Moose Jaw's Lampblack Studios, the team responsible for the glossy short films for Visit Moose Jaw and Tourism Moose Jaw.
Hot on the heels of the music video's release came the news that the Z-man would be one of the billed performers on the 2023 iteration of the TeleMiracle televised fundraiser.
And, if that wasn't already impressive enough, along comes the very recent surprise reveal that Zayd and his colleagues blaze the opening bars of a medley rendition of 2008's "Experience Regina" by Tourism Board Sask with a Hard Rock snarl, repleat with distorted guitars and soaring vocals. Local folks will surely recall that the track became a viral sensation in 2018, following a Jimmy Fallon segment that humorously covered it.
So, with such an impressive repertoire already in the backstock for 2023, we wanted to lift back the curtain to see how all of this came to be and what more Zayd has up his sleeve for the rest of the year.
MARK (NSMZ): So, Zayd, 2023 has hit in a big way for you with the release of single, "Silent Story", which is backed up by an impressive music video by Lampblack Studios. Tell us, what has the response been to the video so far?
ZAYD: You said it right! I wanted this year to start with a banger and "Silent Story" was
the perfect song. This music video has been in the making since 2020. The meaning of this song is close to me so I wanted to do it justice. But it definitely tested my patience.
Since the release, it received an amazing response. Over 5k views on Youtube and still climbing. Also, Spotify stream is climbing everyday, finding new fans and reaching new countries.
M: This music video is a big departure from your previous ones, namely because your previous videos have featured a performance element where we see you performing the song and Silent Story is entirely a narrative-style video performed by actors. Can you tell us what the experience of a narrative video was like? Did you get to visit set and have some input? Or do you just leave this in the hands of the directors and trust their vision?
Z: I always wanted to do a narrative video for Silent Story. There are some songs when you hear you can say it needs a performance video. Silent Story from the beginning made me feel that it needs a narrative video as the story behind this song is so strong. I remember right after finishing recording this song at the studio, I said I wanted a big video production for this. I'm a strong believer in collaboration. I like to trust my partners and give them 100% creative control. I usually will tell them what the story behind the music is and from there it's all them. This way they can bring out their best creative mind. I will give my notes and ideas here and there. Otherwise, it's the director and
I'm always at the set moving around and filming the film makers haha. It was a
great time at the Silent Story shoot. It felt like we already knew each other. The
entire filming process was fun.
M: As a movie fan and someone with a degree in Film and TV Production, I love
the production trivia behind a finished music video. Can you tell us where it was
shot, who the actors were, if they were local to the province, etc?
Z: Silent Story featured 100% Saskatchewan talents behind and on the scene. We wanted to keep it within the province, helping the Sask Film industry by showcasing our work to the world. All the main characters and the production team are from different parts of the province. Also the music video was shot in Moose Jaw.
M: The song and the music video both touch on topics of a person's inner demons and abuse. In your opinion, why is this such an important topic for a musician to cover and highlight in our modern day and age?
Z: I think it's easier to sing about the fairytale stories, but it's hard to talk about the darker side of our life. Believe it or not these things are still happening in our society but people don't want to talk about it. Music reaches people in a different way when people feel that they have no one to talk to. Music makes them feel that they are not alone.
Also, I think because we are living in a social media world now. People are scared that if they share or talk about their situation on social media things can get out of proportion or can be misunderstood, which will make the situation much worse.
So as a musician, I think it's our duty to talk about those hard things, because you never know who you will reach and who you will impact.
As a songwriter, it's not easy to tap into the past and write about it, but knowing that it will help someone out there, it encourages me to keep on going.
M: Your start to 2023 has been bolstered by an appearance on the recent TeleMiracle. How did your performance on the famous fundraiser come to be?
Z: I always wanted to support Telemiracle. This year my schedule worked perfectly, so I decided to apply to perform. They asked me to come down for an audition and right after that I was asked to perform a 45min set.
M: And what was that experience like?
Z: The experience was great. The production team was very friendly. They walked me through the process and supported me with everything I needed.
M: Can you tell our readers what they can expect from you as we progress into
Z: 2023 is a definitely a busy year. I'm releasing a single every month including a few collaborations. Instead of taking the traditional approach of releasing a full length album, I've decided to release my songs as singles, because I want to give 100% of my attention to each song. I want to have individual marketing plans for them based on their themes and the sound.
One of the releases that I'm very excited for is "Break The Fall" on April 28th. This is my first ever major collaboration with an artist. I've co-wrote this song with Chris Mifsud. He's the lead guitarist of a famous Toronto-based metal band Red Handed Denial. Chris was the one who approached me after discovering my song "Father" in 2020. We started working right away and finished it in 2021.
I’m also very excited about a new partnership with Tandem X Visuals. Currently they are working on one of my new music video coming out later in the year. Amazing group of people. A big shout out to them. They are right here in Regina and they’ve worked on some really big projects, including the Roughriders.
As for live shows, this year I will be taking things easy. I'm only going to do a selective number of shows.
As well, this year I had the opportunity to be part of Tourism Regina's rebranding to Experience Regina. Being part of the video and the audio process was an amazing experience.
There are more exciting things that I can’t talk about yet. As things progresses I will be making announcements on my socials.
A hearty thank you to Zayd for his assistance in this update. You can follow his work and that of the musicians he works with on his official website, where you'll find widget links to his socials and streaming platforms.