April 19th 2019, the new diamond of French-American R&B released her debut album High Highs to Low Lows.
Born in Paris, Lolo Zouaï experienced her first move at only three months old, when her Algerian parents won the lottery, allowing the family to start over again in San Francisco, USA. She then grew up by the Bay Area, surrounded by French classics that her mother used to listen to: Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf and Françoise Hardy were amongst those artists. It is naturally that young Lolo found herself attracted to the local rap scene, and started listening to some of the Bay Area’s biggest names such as Too $hort and E-40. She writes her first song at six years old, witnessing the beginning of her biggest and most important love affair: her relationship to music. A few years later, and now a young adult, Lolo Zouaï decides to try her luck in Los Angeles but finds herself already facing way too many bumps. Thinking that she has finally started her career, Lolo realizes that she has to work twice as hard if she wants to make her voice heard, in a world and an industry where pop music, mainstream sounds and patriarchy still reign, despite everything.
It is during that same time that she then moves to Nashville to start studying music business, before quickly giving up. And where many choose the easy way and follow the crowd, Lolo Zouaï takes a radical spin. She refuses a record contract with a big major and decides to move, once again, but this time to New York City. In the big apple, the young singer-songwriter meets fellow producer Stelios Phili and their friendship allows her to fully develop what will become her own sound. In 2017, her track High Highs to Low Lows was born. An ode to her ups and downs, to her will to fight against the current, against everyone who has ever doubted her. The track which was already gathering a lot of attention on streaming platform Soundcloud is added to Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist, a tool aiming to showcase tomorrow’s new talents. This addition sets the tone for Lolo Zouaï’s upcoming moves, making her unstoppable on her way to the top.
High Highs to Low Lows:
In New York, Lolo finally finds herself and develops an R&B sound, a mixture of English -the language she feels most at ease using-, French -her mother tongue-, but also Arabic -her parents’ language-. She chose Brooklyn to set her feet and meets the kidsuper crew, a group of artists, designers and producers, and blossom alongside her newfound family. She releases new music, including her collaboration with Devonte Hynes (from Blood Orange) on the track Jade, and co-write H.E.R’s song Still Down.
HIGH HIGHS TO LOW LOW – THE DEBUT ALBUM
Now aware of her talent and confident in her choices, Lolo Zouaï signs to RCA Records and unveils her debut album High Highs to Low Lows, as a proof of everything she’s been going through at only 24 years old. The record is a raw diamond in the current R&B music scene. Co-written and co-produced by herself and artistic partner Stelios Phili, the album wants to be an hymn to all those complex sides defining who Lolo Zouaï actually is. The second track of the project, Moi, written half in French and half in English, confronts the young girl to a very existential question; Where is home? Is it where one was born? Is it where one grew up? Is it where your parents, and therefore your culture and origins, are from? Far from having found an answer yet, Zouaï invites us to an introspection of all those aspects of her life, and tells us her own story, in her own words with the perfect balance of softness, power and emotions. The track Desert Rose -probably the most personal and emotional one of the record- reflects a difficult time of her life. Having grown up without her own father, Algerian and Muslim, Lolo found herself lacking paternal guidance, lost between two ways of life, between two different cultures. The track holds a traditional Arabic sound, mixed with the R&B that Lolo loves and cherishes. It is an open letter to the person that hasn’t seen her grow up, but who still holds a very special place in her heart.
The record closes on Beaucoup, a song written entirely in French, a real challenge for the Frenchie who grew up speaking mostly English her whole life. But Lolo has nothing to worry about, as the challenge was successful and is worthy of all the great French songs that we all know and love. The record even got a 7,5/10 mark on the music review website Pitchfork, proving that Lolo Zouaï’s voice has finally been heard.
High Highs to Low Lows – Album: