Emerging artist Zzzahara dropped their sophomore album, Tender, in September via Lex Records, and it documents a period of transition following a devastating breakup. The Southern California native looked inward for inspiration by meditating and practicing mindfulness. “I realized that drinking like, 30-40 drinks a week wasn’t making me happy, and that some of the people I hung around with weren’t real friends,” Zzzahara shared, “I still party, but I limit myself. When I spend time with people, I want it to feel intentional.” Zzzahara spent time journaling after the breakup and dug into working on new material inspired by the experience and took the wheel to produce the majority of the album. The result is a tight array of sounds ranging from The Cure on “Kensington”, 1950s waltz on the album opener, “Dust” as well as Zzzahara’s straight-ahead signature guitar-work on tracks like “Girls on SSRIs Don’t Cry”. The latter was a song that was on the fence to make it onto the album, “you don’t want to talk about people on SSRIs or even if you’re taking them by yourself, like personal and stuff,” stated Zzzahara, “it’s hard to kind of showcase that stuff because most of America would be like ‘why are you writing about that?'” Situations like this hit home for Zzzahara, who grew up in Highland Park, CA, where the neighborhood and environment were less than ideal with many trappings to get into trouble as a youth that included drug use. It wasn’t until Zzzahara met a recovering drug dealer and user who was able to refocus their life onto religion that they would give up drugs and focus on graduating high school and education. “I had a lot of ups and downs and ended up going back to a lot of the bad stuff that I did but whenever I would be hung over feeling withdrawal, he’d call me and be like hey how are you, are you going to come to church and stuff,” Zzzahara shared, “God pulled me out of the gutter that I was in.” Zzzahara just wrapped up a tour with Wild Nothing and will play ‘Tender’ in its entirety in Los Angeles, CA on January 12, 2024.
Zzzahara spoke with B-Sides host Pete Mar about how going to church and their faith in God helped stop them from self-destructing after growing up in an environment of drugs and partying during high school. They speak about their latest album ‘Tender’ and more.