Listening to branded experimental hip-hop artist Revolution Zo, you can hear ingredients of 21st century surrealism, addictive personification, and pure creativity throughout his recent works. This has brought a much needed unique and fresh sound to this congested era of music – no question this newly-bred artist is being considered to be a major competitor in breakthrough talent. As a native from Winston-Salem, NC, he began discovering a passion for music composing instrumentals for local hometown artists for profit. It wasn’t until later that he acquired a taste for songwriting and started works on a anticipated album. Familiarizing himself with aspects of the music scene and networking he made a decision to relocate to Nashville, TN to be closer to a vast and diverse music culture. “Strange Thangs” has since been the first released single from the artist and has received a great amount of exposure through several reviews, social media sites and radio play. Revolution Zo has continued to gain fans attention, dropping new material on his official website and keeping enthusiasts updated on the fully independent release of an album in early 2015,
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your background? What is the significance of your pseudonym? What was it like growing up in Winston Salem, North Carolina? When did you discover your passion for music?
Revolution Zo: It’s funny how you get asked about who you are.. You kind of sit back for a while and think about the things you’ve done up to this point, the accomplishments, the downfalls – the life that you’ve lived… I was born March 20, 1985 the only son of three siblings, my mother and father divorced when I was young. I guess it was hard on my mother trying to raise me to be the man of the household – thought I knew everything.. Hard-headed. I didn’t have the best childhood but my mother made sure that we had everything we needed, she definitely has been my inspiration. You begin to define yourself as you get older; as you go through situations you find a way to escape from the norm – creating music definitely helped. I tend to be random at times, you can say I wear my emotions on my sleeve. That’s also the significance of Revolution Zo; Listening to my music you can hear the many instances of how and what I feel. Winston-Salem is home, you can get yourself sucked into the life real quickly. Growing up in Winston I was always getting into something… usually up to no good – but realizing what road I would’ve been heading for if I continued doing the things that I was doing I decided I needed a major change. I was filling a void when I discovered my passion for creating music, I was always a natural at anything that I did growing up – but the time it took to compose instrumentals and write songs.. It was more than a passion it was a necessity, putting my thoughts and ideas into the form of music just happened to be that gateway for me – it’s always been the easiest, most creative transition.
When did you relocate to Nashville, Tennessee?
I believe it was the summer of 2006 when I moved to Tennessee. I started in Clarksville, TN where my sister was stationed at Ft. Campbell, I was reestablishing myself and started getting familiar with the area. The first time I went to Nashville to record I knew where I needed to be. It wasn’t long until I relocated to Nashville to be closer to the music scene.
What has been your experience with Nashville so far?
It’s has been my home away from home.. Nashville definitely upholds it’s status of being the Music City capital of the world. It’s filled with a lot of opportunities for inspired artists to pursue their dreams, it’s music everywhere; the atmosphere of Nashville is simply alive – there’s always something to do and plenty of things going on. My experience has been a busy one.. it’s consisted of working constantly on new material and networking with the right people all while trying to keep a strong presence, but also maintaining a low profile while building a strong reputation for myself. Sounds impossible I know.. I’ve expanded my genre of songwriting while relocating here, you have to have an open mind – Nashville has been the best thing to happen to me.
What can you tell us about your two releases, ‘Dance Anymore’ and ‘Strange Thangs’? What inspired the writing and recording of those two productions?
“Strange Thangs” was the first released single from the upcoming album, this record brings you the eerie side of Revolution Zo. I got inspired and influenced by Henry Greens “Strange Things” 1950 record, I wanted to do a up-to-date version of this song – I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to bring back to life a song that never got the attention that it deserved. It sent a message that people tend to forget – I chopped and reconstructed the instrumental and picked up from what this gem was implying. I was so shocked at the amount of attention this track received, it goes to show you that people can relate to music that’s different from what you hear on a regular basis.
“Dance Anymore” … I love this track as well – I wanted to release this track to people who are avid listeners of my music, but I also wanted to cross that barrier between dance and hip-hop.. I think I made a presence with this song. what influenced me to write Dance Anymore was that I feel like the era where dance was the only “feel good” drug you needed is dead.. People need an extra “antidote” to get their bodies moving on the dance floor now – and that wasn’t the case back then. I was able to pick up a very talented artist by the name of Skye Mangrum to bless this track with her amazing voice… I was hesitant to release this record but I felt like we had such a great success with Strange Thangs let’s shake things up a little bit.
What inspired the artwork for ‘Strange Thangs’?
Not what, but who.. I was doing a show at a venue and I happened to come across some amazing artwork from an artist by the name of Bradnt Hardin. His outlook on art was intriguing and beyond ordinary, I contacted him and inquired about possibly getting some artwork done for a record. I gave him my concept and shot him the track before it’s release, this guy with no hesitation sent me a markup of his idea and… it was just amazing what he came up with – as you can see for yourself.
What do you think of the current music industry model?
It is what it is.. I think that music industry has definitely changed in the decades – you have more to listen to now, and it seems artists are dropping new music all the time, it’s a competitive industry and you have to be aggressive to get where you want in this business.
What would you change about its structure or makeup if you had the ability to do so?
I would take music back to when music was MUSIC. I believe that the creativity factor has been shrunken down to “what’s catchy”, I wouldn’t change anything for the simple fact that it gives me an advantage against other artists as well as give listeners a reason to love Revolution Zo.
Is it correct that you’re currently working on a full-length album?
Yes.. I have been working on this album for 8 years, first impressions are everything and I wanted this album to be something I could release and not look back and feel like I should have done something different… I want this album to be a strong introduction to myself; to what I’ve worked so hard for. I know it’ll show.
What does 2015 hold in store for Revolution Zo?
2015 is going to be an awakening for the fans, we’ve been getting prepared, putting together so many things for people to finally see who Revolution Zo is and what he represents. This year is going to be for enthusiasts of my music, not for me.. but for them..
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes, I want to thank everyone who has taken an interest in my music, without you guys I wouldn’t be able to create. You guys are my inspiration.