The Dublin based singer has been planning this radio moment all her life.
Zali has Ireland listeners streaming her songs hundreds of thousands of times, and across the globe, too. The songbird first became encouraged to pursue her passion as a youngster in her church choir. As year’s passed, she gained the confidence she needed through her adolescence, to create more than memorable solos, but instead… fan favorites. Today the local star is gearing up to spread her tuneful feminist anthems, and make you dance. Learn about ZALI‘s courageous climb in an exclusive one-on-one with The Knockurnal.
Your latest single “Girls Like Us,” describes wanting an uncommitted intimate relationship. What inspired this “don’t love, don’t trust” anthem?
“Girls Like Us” was a concept I had a while ago but could never really finish. Every time I would go back to it I would find that I couldn’t really connect to it. Well, not in a way that was real with my music. The sound [of my songs] has to be real or else what‘s the point? But that all changed when I got my heart broken. It was intense because it was my first true experience with romantic love.
For me, it doesn’t really reflect so much the desire for an uncommitted intimate relationship. It’s more of a disruption of patriarchy and how women are often confined to this role where you take what you’re given. Also, if we happen to veer from that standard we’re often looked at negatively. Even in the face of heartbreak, a lot of the time you find yourself being comforted with these words “You’ll find someone better, just be patient.” [Maybe you’re told,] “They didn’t deserve you”.
A breakup is always about [the other person]. So, coming from someone who typically did all the “right” things in finding love, it was sort of a wake-up call [to see] that it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how bad you are, love and heartbreak do not discriminate.
I want this song to be an anthem to switch up the status quo. We can’t always be searching for love. And, for people who’ve been hurt by someone they loved, all those series of actions are bound to change how you feel and react to situations. I’ve felt the hurt. I’ve felt the pain, and instead of lashing out to try to hurt someone in a roundabout way to feel better, I’m just going put all that energy into being happy, however long the moments last.
And if I’m going to go through this… then I’m going to go through this on my terms. It was for me! This was a time (for once) to just do whatever I wanted. I did what made me feel good in that moment because sometimes it’s not always about pure happiness and contentment. I look at life sort of like divine chaos, and now more than ever… I grab every opportunity I can to indulge in things that make me smile, laugh, and bring me pleasure.
Those last lines of the chorus ‘‘Girls like us just want fun! All we want to do is just… “ leaves it up to the imagination but you can hear the hint of [the song] “Bad”. When I wrote this line I kept picturing that feeling of complete euphoria. I pictured the times you’re in the middle of a dancefloor with your eyes closed, just looking up, and feeling the lights on you. Those times where every beat vibrates through you are memorable. That feeling of freedom is what I wanted to communicate.
I’ve found that among girls who’ve heard the song, they immediately feel a connection of solidarity in a way because there’s always someone who’s once made you feel like you weren’t enough. [Men can] drain the life out of you. You might have known someone who’s been hurt in love. So, I find they’re either singing along because of their own emotions and experiences or they‘re singing along in support of every girl who’s been hurt that now is our time!
Your music is genre-bending. What is your favorite style to record?
To be honest, I grew up on soul music. I see myself as more of a soul singer. So, whether I’m recording a pop song or something leaning towards R&B, I try to sneak a little bit of that soul aspect into it. There’s just something so exhilarating in being able to capture emotion in that way. I’m working on a lot of new music and it reflects this side of me a bit more.