Swedish Grammy winner Zikai and hit producers Hitimpulse, who have had previous hits which include 'I'm In Love With The Coco,' have teamed up for one of 2021's freshest collaborations, with their track 'Hero,' which is a laid-back R&B/pop take on the 1984 classic by Bonnie Tyler.
With a sound that resonates with global artists, her overall artistry and attitude is truly unique. Sampling a soulful sound, a throwback R&B sound, a postmodern disco vibe, an African pop element and an undeniable star quality sound, her success continues to emulate over time.
When speaking about 'Hero,' talented Zikai, whose prior releases also include 'Champagne For Breakfast,' 'First Place' and 'Twenty Something' explained:
"When we did 'Hero,' we started writing the verses about the feeling that many of us have felt in the last year of longing for something bigger and something different. After a while, we realised that the chords were the same as the classic 'Holding Out For A Hero' by Bonnie Tyler, so we played with the idea of having it as a chorus and shape the verses based on it. When we were done, it just felt like a completely perfect mix!"
You have recently released your new single 'Hero,' in collaboration with Hitimpulse. What has it been like for you to have new music released?
"I'm always excited and a bit nervous when I get to release new music. I feel like in times like these, it's just great to be able to release songs, even if I don't get to play live."
Have you found that using your own personal experiences makes your music more relatable to listeners?
"Definitely! When I released a song called 'Do You Love Me Still?' back in 2019, I received a lot of comments and DM's from people saying that they related to the song. That was special to me, since 'Do You Love Me Still?' was really personal. I think people could tell it was personal and real to me and that's one of the reasons they connected with it."
How long did 'Hero' take to come together, especially as it is a collaboration?
"It was actually done after just one session! Hitimpulse played the chords and me and Maria Hazell started playing around with melodies and lyrics. Hitimpulse came up with the fun idea that we should take inspiration from the classic hook from 'Holding Out For A Hero,' since it is the same chords. That's what we did and a couple of hours later, we had a song!"
Do you have a favourite memory from putting the single together?
"It was probably the fact that everything went so smoothly. I love sessions like that...when everything just feels right and there's no pressure, only good vibes!"
How did you first get into music? Is it something that you have always wanted to be involved in?
"I always knew that I wanted to work with music, but I don't come from a musical family or a music school, so I really had to do everything I could to get into the industry. I posted YouTube covers, I reached out to producers and did all of that. Eventually, things started to make sense. In 2019, I dropped my first single!"
Who would you say are your musical influences? Do you feel that they have a direct bearing on the music that you write, record and release?
"I get inspired from specific albums and songs, not necessarily the artist itself, since their sound usually evolves so much through the years. I do love Jhene Aiko's writing. Post Malone's album 'Stoney' influenced me a lot, so did Drake's album 'Take Care.' I love the sounds that Tame Impala use. I'm obsessed with Ariana Grande's latest album. I listen to a lot of different music, but I don't think it has a direct bearing on the music I create."
Is there anything in particular that you would like to achieve throughout your music career?
"I'd love to go on a tour. Hopefully, that's something I'll be able to do next year. I want to release an album and an emotional acoustic album. There's a lot of things I want to do!"
How would you sum up your sound in a couple of words?
"Playful, vibey, sad and happy. It really depends on the mood."
What else have you got planned for the remainder of this year music-wise?
"I'm working on an album right now and just trying to stay focused in the studio. I want this next project to feel special, so I've surrounded myself with my favourite musicians and friends, just so that we can have fun with it while creating."
Are you working on an EP/album that is set to be released at a later date?
"Yes! An album - I want to say midway through next year, but you never know!"
Finally, do you have a message for all those who support you?
"I love you! Thank you for vibing with me!"
Zikai's new single 'Hero,' in collaboration with Hitimpulse, is out now and is available to purchase and stream through all major responsible music streaming and purchasing outlets.
By Rachel Dempster