ZHU is an LA-based electronic producer/singer/songwriter signed to Mind of a Genius Records (home to another one of my new favs, GALLANT). In 2014 he released an EP, The Nightday, featuring a song called ‘Faded,’ which went on to earn ZHU his first GRAMMY-nomination (for ‘Best Dance Recording‘). Since then, ZHU‘s been mostly MIA, that is until last month when we started to hear rumblings about ‘Generation Series.’ No clue WHAT ‘Generation Series’ was but we had a website (www.generationwhy.com) but there was a spot to fill in your email address. Then, on September 16th we were treated to a new song featuring none-other than UK synthpop duo Alunageorge! Check out “Automatic” below.
The single simultaneously debuted on radio via Radio 1 (where it was named ‘Hottest Record in the World‘) and online through Pitchfork. This infectious house track features seriously body-bumping beats plus a sexy as-f**k sax solo, not to mention of course the sweet yet distinctive coos of Aluna Francis on featured vocal; alternating on the chorus with ZHU himself. Following the release, ‘Automatic‘ continued to make waves online, earning over 1 million plays in its first week on Spotify and entering the Top 10 on the streaming services’ Viral Charts in America. Wasting no time, ZHU quickly dropped another taster off his ‘Genesis Series‘ EP, this time on COMPLEX and featuring DJ-producer A-Trak and the smooth vocal stylings of Jamaican singer/songwriter Keznamdi. Check out “As Crazy As It Is” below.
While “Automatic” was DISTINCTLY house music—”As Crazy As It Is” is very distinctly NOT dance music, at least not in the traditional sense. The song starts out, incorporating a unique mix of electronic blips and beeps, drums, piano flourishes, with a sexy male falsetto (A-Trak? Is that you?) singing on the pre-chorus, rhythmically vibing to the shoulder-shaking island beats. By the time Keznmadi enters on lead vocals the song is in full-on reggae mode and the beats don’t stop until the very end. If your signature dance move includes a shimmy, this track is going to make your entire body shake AND quake so get ready. Now, if you’re loving these first two tracks, prepare your mind and body because we’re not finished. ZHU has unleashed yet ANOTHER part of his ‘Generation Series’ EP—THIS time featuring the undeniable vocal talents of up & comer electronic-soul stunner (and ZHU‘s Mind of a Genius label mate) GALLANT. Listen to “Testarossa Music” below.
The song starts off a SICK as FUNK electric guitar solo before it launches into a sultry synth-lead electronic-pop-rock-soul hybrid, with GALLANT‘s sky-high falsetto soaring above the beats, giving off serious heat (and maybe Prince x Miguel x The Weekend vibes along the way). The song made its radio debut last week on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic with Jason Bentley before hitting the interwebs via Noisey.com. I first started hearing about Gallant thanks to his STUNNING debut single, “Weight In Gold,” which Zane Lowe premiered as a #WorldExclusive on Beats 1/Apple Music. Since then, Gallant’s assent continues, having recently been given a BIG thumbs up by none-other than Sir Elton John, plus an opening slot on Sufjan Stevens‘ latest tour—Gallant is going places and this new collaboration with ZHU definitely won’t hurt.
With already previewed collabs with Alunageorge, A-Trak and Gallant, you’re probably thinking ‘HOW COULD THIS GET ANY BETTER,’ right? Well stay tuned because IN ADDITION we can expect appearences from Skrillex, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Daniel Johns (frontman from Silverchair). GAHHH I’m so excited! Keep checking www.generationwhy.com for updates.
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