#NowPlaying: Zack Gray - “Idontwannabeyourfriend”
Over the past year, Zack Gray established himself as a dynamic vocalist who comfortably delivers atmospheric R&B material and collaborations with electronic producers alike. He leans into emotive lyricism on his more recent solo release, “idontwannabeyourfriend” a simple but powerful anthem about being caught in between friends and wanting something more. The trap-pop song begins with Zack Gray’s high vocal resonance setting the mood for the record with a voice I’d describe as “Pretty”. His lyrics shows a sense of purity and expresses genuine emotions from the artist’s sentiments. “I don’t wanna be your friend, I don’t wanna” is the repetitive yet memorable hook that will become addicting to its listeners.
The nostalgic atmosphere Zack Gray creates undeniably represents the melancholic mix of emotion and numbness that Zack is displaying. In the songwriting of “Idontwannabeyourfriend” it’s clear to me that Zack is attempting not to feel anything, he wants to be careless and remain friends with the lover in the song however, the lover could be making it difficult unintentionally due to the amount of love Zack has for them. The instrumental showcases the electronic elements fused with smooth-sailing and chilled EDM, perfect for fabricating an atmosphere for the listeners.
Stream “Idontwannabeyourfriend” on Spotify here and get to know Zack Gray below!
Mind telling our readers a little bit about where you’re from and your upbringing?
I am from Roseville, California near Sacramento. Pretty much the suburbs. I grew up with my mom and my sister. Music started for me when I was a kid. I played violin when I was super young. Around five years old, I got my first guitar, but didn’t really know how to tune it for what seemed like a couple years but still played it and messed around. No one really ever had to force me or push me to do music, it’s something I was always very drawn to. From there, I learned piano and started writing songs. I was in a lot of bands for a long time, but after getting tired of relying on people I realized being a solo artist was the best choice. I am more happy than ever about the music I making now.
When you first heard the backtrack to “Idontwannabeyourfriend” what was your instant reaction?
I was actually in the car with the girl the song is about. Avance sent me the beat via Instagram, and I immediately started Vibing to it and had the Melody/lyrics in my head. My only initial thoughts besides that was that the drums needed to be louder. About 15 minutes later I was at the studio and already laid down the hook.
How was the songwriting process for “Idontwannabeyourfriend”?
It was extremely quick, my boy and co-producer Blake Wisner met me at the studio about a half an hour after I had laid down the initial Hook/Melody, we got the stems from Avance, added a couple things and finished 90% of the track that night. The next day was just finishing a couple lyrics and mixing/mastering.
As an artist, were you able to personally relate to “Idontwannabeyourfriend” ?
100% real life. I think it something we can all relate to, whether it’s about A platonic relationship/friendship. Or in this case about being in between friends and something more with someone.
What were some challenges you faced while writing the single? How did you overcome that?
I think the only real challenges were adjusting the baseline, and deciding if we wanted to add any more lyrics or not. The song is definitely repetitive, and very simple but we decided we liked it that way.
Who are your top 3 musical influences who have helped shape you career in the music industry?
Flume, (Early “Trilogy” era) The Weeknd, Radiohead
What’s next for you in 2019?
2018 has been my biggest year yet by far, I am extremely grateful for everything that has happened and all the buzz/exposure I have gained. I have an amazing team around me, and I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing people & musicians. 2019 is going to be amazing, I am planning on releasing new music every two weeks to a month, I will also be dropping an album in the first quarter of the year. Stay tuned, I cannot wait for everyone to hear this new music. Thank you so much, much love!
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