Zanyia is a female singer, songwriter, and rapper. She is originally from Houston, Texas, but now lives in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois. Zanyia sat down with Word Life Production to discuss her career, influences, and the political climate in the country today.
What motivates you to write?
I think my motivation for writing comes from anxiety. I always have a bunch of ideas jumbled inside of my head racing at a mile a minute. It’s like a pent-up mental energy that keeps me up at night. When I write, I am giving that anxiety a place to dwell outside of my head. I put those racing thoughts into ideas, I categorize them, I label them and give them purpose. When I write that mental activity alters itself into another form that isn’t so difficult to deal with. It’s like literary Xanax!
How long have you been rapping and when did you decide it was for you?
I’ve always had this natural ability to put words together ever since I was a kid. I first started writing raps at the age of ten with my older brother. We would both write a rap and recite it to one another. Of course, my brother always said his were better than mine! I always thought of rap as like a fun hobby to do in my spare time. I didn’t start to take it seriously until the pandemic and the death of George Floyd. I wanted to put the struggle of being black into words that people unlike us could understand. After the response I got from the release of my single “Blood Lines”, I knew that this could potentially be a good career path.
Who are some of your influences?
It’s so funny because my parents were the most religious people you would ever meet. We were only allowed to listen to gospel music. I listened to a lot of Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, and a Christian rapper by the name of T-Bone. As I got older and discovered new genres of music I listened to a lot of Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake, and Trey Songz! So for me, I took both genres, picked out the traits I liked best about each one and combined them into this hybrid mix of secular/powerful music and I think this combo can still appeal to the youth while still talking about meaningful topics.
What do you think of the political climate today?
I look at the Democrats and I look at the Republicans and I can’t seem to get behind either one. I wonder if there is a politician out there that truly cares about normal, everyday people? It seems as though there is a disconnect between the working class and the upper class. People in positions of power should use their wealth and influence to assist people in lower positions. I see a lack of compassion, a pompous “I’m better than you” attitude from the people in politics at times and it makes me question the morality within the world. If the world’s leaders, the best and brightest of us all, if they can’t seem to solve these social issues then what does that say of our futures? It’s a scary thought, but that’s why I continue to create art that may leave a lasting impression on the world and hopefully inspire someone to be the change they wish to see.
If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in the world, I think I would make everyone a good person. Imagine a world where everyone had good intentions, everyone thought of everyone else? Where greed and selfishness didn’t exist. What if every single person in the world had compassion for one another? I think that would be a beautiful thing.
What are the goals you wish to reach in your career?
At first, I had the cliché dream to be the rapper on tour, travelling, being a millionaire, looking fabulous on TMZ. But now? I think I just want to create the art whether I receive the credit for it or not. I am interested in ghost writing. I would love to get a publishing deal with a record label and write songs for other artists. At the end of the day, it’s the writing that creates these albums, the hits, the billboard charts. And I like to write. It doesn’t matter the genre of music. One day I can write a rap song, the next day a country song and then a pop song after that. And because of that ability, I would love to be able to create songs with no restrictions with that artistic freedom to write any and everything I want.