Today we’d like to introduce you to Zo Duncan.
Zo, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up Detroit, MI. Started writing poetry in high school. A few years after high school, I released two self-published books of poems and short stories. “A Storm That Defines Me” is a collection of personal poems while “Wetter than Rain, Harder than Hail” is a collection of erotic poems and short stories. Following the success of those, I started doing live shows and kept writing poetry.
In 2011, I had a chat with my cousin about her singing ability and the fact that I was writing poems. Basically I said if I wrote a song, she would have to sing it. Shortly after, I wrote my first song, “You Say You Love Me”. Although she never did keep up her end of the deal, this moment led to my journey into the music industry. I kept writing music from that day on.
The following year, I moved to Austell, GA and started linking up with singers and producers. I’ve been on an incline since. I moved around the globe but I’m back and forth between the east and west coast. I’m in LA right now. I’ll be back east next year. Since arriving in LA, I’ve done music with K Michelle, Mickey Shiloh, Eric Bellinger, and more. Onward and upward!
Has it been a smooth road?
Not at all. The struggle is getting in the door, getting people to listen. It’s always going to be hard work.
I’ve sent songs for pitches that had no response. I’ve sent songs that were rejected. The main thing is keep trying. I know that’s cliche but really that’s all the entertainment industry is. Try and fail or try and succeed. Not one person that has made it in anything has skipped the try part.
Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I’m a Songwriter. I specialize in R&B and Pop but I write all genres. I’ve done country, edm, rock and a few others. I love what I do because it’s one of the rawest forms of creation. It’s a business where you have to be selfish and selfless at the same time. Selfish enough to put all of your reflections and emotions into a song to make it about you or relate to you but selfless enough to know that it’s not for you.
I’m most proud of the connections I’ve made. Not celebrity connections, that’s cool but I mean genuine connections and friends that I write with or build with. You can do it all on your own but you’re stronger when you find a team of like-minded people.
What sets me apart from others is my mindset really. I’m a visual writer. I always have been. Even with my poetry, I shot music videos to poems. So when I write a song, I visualize it. Sometimes I’ll write a video treatment before I even finish the song.
In addition to that coming from Detroit, I was hungry when I got out the city. I was taking sessions with anyone anywhere. I did a writing session at Captain D’s one time in Austell. Too many people get comfortable or start thinking about money. I just wanna make dope music.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The music industry is changing. With Covid-19 everyone is waking up. The big shift now is virtual availability. It’s interesting to see how people are adapting with Verzuz battles and virtual concerts but how can the industry monetize that. Most artists only make money from doing shows and walkthroughs. Those are limited. How can you capitalize on your brand virtually. That’s the big shift.
I came out to LA cause I figured I had to be here to pop. Covid has taught everyone you don’t have to be there. Wherever there is for you, you don’t have to be there. I’ve done more virtual sessions than I’ve done live sessions. Now with remote recording and doc sharing a lot of in person needs are going out the window. In 5 – 10 years, everything is going to be virtual.
Aaron Williams took the blue polo photos.