Alternative singer and songwriter Zhaklina conveys her latest four-track EP, '17 Reasons Why II,' in an elegant expression of her mind. Originally from the Hudson Valley in New York, where she was born and lived for much of her life, alternative artist Zhaklina reigns from Nashville, Tennessee. Zhaklina is a creative artist and storyteller all in one adoring package. Creating a safe space for her listeners to feel heard and seen, she advocates for mental health through much of her work, donating portions of her profit from music to various mental health organizations.
Focusing on the second desire-driven record, "Crown," Zhaklina expresses a unique power and sensitivity, drawing listeners into both an emotional and inspiring experience.
"Crown" is a prominent ballad that carries the elusive and prevailing components of everything that Zhaklina encompasses. The chilling piano keys being played give a simplistic and sophisticated take on the instrumentation allowing Zhakilna's vocals to act as a centerpiece on this decadent masterpiece. The resonant sound of her vocals graces the speakers as they give you goosebumps while we dive deeper into the manner she showcases her wide vocal range accompanied by heartfelt lyrics.
"Crown" is a song developed from a wistful place of mystery and love combined. Zhaklina's storytelling allows us to see into this place that her mind lives where she reminisces on a time where what she had to offer was received as not enough from the person she wanted to stay in her life. "I'm tired of losing love," can be heard repeatedly as we feel for the sorrow her performance delivers to us all. She pulls us into a nostalgic headspace as we hold onto each passionate word that she embodies. Zhaklina wants us to know that if we live from a place of knowing that we're loved, we could change the world - one heartbeat at a time.
Hello Zhaklina, welcome to BuzzMusic, and congratulations on the release of your latest four-song EP, '17 Reasons Why II,' and the record “Crown.” With the passion delivered in such a beautiful manner, was this song built off of a real-life experience?
Yes, “Crown” was built off of a real-life experience. Up until the last chorus of the song, I was writing about a long-term relationship I was in for about 5 years. It was a relationship filled with a lot of passion, love, and faith but it was also toxic because it wasn’t built on trust and we struggled to build and maintain trust from the very beginning. Because we couldn’t find a way to cultivate trust, our relationship fell apart- all of our dreams began to abuse us rather than delight us. It got to a point where even friendship, for me, was not possible and firm boundaries had to be set. I then go into a lament towards the end of the song expressing that I was tired of losing love (we had gone back and forth, breaking up & getting back together so many times) but that my heart, even in its brokenness, still had hope for a future relationship built on trust. The very last line expresses “trust will be her crown,” which is a message about walking into a relationship with a crown of trust. The crown symbolizes glory (which I attribute to my faith and trust in knowing we are God’s children, daughters, and sons of the true King) and I believe that when we walk into our relationships knowing that trust is something we are all supposed to not only expect but bring into a relationship, we can feel empowered to build our future relationships on that firm foundation.
How was your creative process different on this record versus the rest on your EP? Could you take us into what your process encompasses?
Similar to how I write many of my songs, I wrote the song as I was processing through a meaningful experience. It took me over a year to write, perfect (as best as one can with their work), record, and produce in its entirety. It took longer than most of my songs because it evolved as events during that time transformed the message to be what it is today. Grief is something we have to work with and as I worked through it, I found a message. Musically, the form doesn’t have the typical verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus structure. It has a verse, an instrumental first chorus, a second verse, and then ends on the chorus. There’s no bridge. This is also the first song I played piano on. I’ve been teaching myself how to play the lino for years and although I’ve written many of my songs on the piano, it has taken time to feel confident enough to record and play live while singing. I still have so much room for growth but this was a monumental experience and in a sense, a redeeming one, affirming that beauty and growth comes out of even the most difficult experiences- if you let it.
What was the inspiration behind the way you chose the tracklist for '17 Reasons Why II?'
The inspiration behind the way I chose my track list for “17 Reasons Why II” was mainly to create an experience for my listeners that flows. In both message and sound, the songs ordered like a sandwich. The two harder-hitting songs with firmer messages of strength are the “bread” of the EP, the two middle songs are softer and more vulnerable; the insides of the sandwich (meat/veggie/etc). My hope was for that visual concept to translate auditorily.
What would you like your listeners to take away from this heartfelt piece?
I would love for my listeners to feel like they’re not alone when they experience heartbreak and to feel inspired by the message of hope & trust. I believe love and trust are action words so I encourage my listeners to embody both love and trust for themselves and their relationships, knowing that good things come from meaningful work.
What can listeners anticipate to hear next from you?
I am currently working on a few collaborations and singles, as well as conceptualizing the third part of 17 Reasons Why. There will be 4 total “17 Reasons Why” EP’s released over time. Two are now out so there are two left! However, I’m in no rush to have them all out right away and feel myself growing as an artist as I co-write and co-create with other artists. I plan on doing more live shows and hope to continue building my connection and relationships with my listeners in the meantime.