Zakhar Unveils New Vibey Single, “Lights Out”

Photograph by Rosie Matheson

“If you don’t have a vibe, leave me alone,” Zakhar says on his latest album, “Lights Out.” Bursting with feel-good energy, flawless lyrical prowess and soulful melody, the rising 17-year-old artist is positioning himself as a talent whose storytelling skills are as fine as his smooth, velvety vocal cords. Although an accelerated beat rises throughout the track’s chorus, Zakhar lends textured lines that unpack the need for self-preservation. Allowing equal space for reflection and dancing, “Lights Out” offers a flavor for every mood – but guarantees an aftertaste of euphoria regardless.

In his own words, Zakhar explains, “The single originated during a session with legend Jake Gosling and Sammy SoSo. The original pitch of the song was much lower but he pushed me to go higher and higher and from there I think the song became something magical. The intention was to create a song that people can vibe to. I wanted you to feel like you’re barbecuing your bredrins on a nice sunny day in the summer, just to relax. When I finished the song, I felt good because at the time it was one of the best songs I created.

Although relatively new to the industry, Zakhar has already demolished his steps to stardom – becoming one of the youngest and most acclaimed names in the UK rap community and music scene. From his tracks reaching six million views on TikTok, to creating viral sounds used by more than 40,000 users, to participating in Sadie Jean’s Open Verse challenge, Zakhar has opened up a whole new world – and continues his ascent in his breast.

To stream the track and for his exclusive interview with us, head below…

Hi Zakhar! How are you?
Well you know, it’s a good experience. It’s all so new to me, I’ve never sat in buildings like these and had these kinds of discussions before, it’s crazy. But it’s definitely a weird thing that I have to adapt to.

So before discussing your music, we would like to know a bit more about you as a person. What brought you to where you are today?
I used to play professional football for Brentford back then. But my family has always had good singing voices. I have four aunts who are all singers, so you can imagine we go crazy at family parties. My whole family is very talented like that. But I was playing football, and I realized that the more I played football, the less I enjoyed it. So I started telling people ‘I don’t want to play football anymore’ even though I literally had this path ahead of me, so it was really hard for others to understand. When I started telling people I wanted to do music, everyone was like “you know you can literally go pro now, why would you want to change that”, but I didn’t like it anymore. I released a few songs while I was still playing football and then one of them got 5000 streams and I was so gassed. I just knew that from here it could be something really good, and I just accepted the fact that I won’t be playing football anymore.

And I couldn’t believe my ears when I found out you were only 17! What do you think helped you find your way despite so many people encouraging you to stay in football?
I just realized that I love writing songs way more than I love training for a game. Then I thought, the hardest thing in music is trying to write a good song, the hardest thing in football is relentless training. And I just knew that I liked writing more than going to the field. It’s just a feeling, when you know something’s right, you just know, I can’t explain it. The music was for me.

Apart from your four aunts, who/who would you say are your biggest influences?
I would say Justin Bieber, and I never said that to anyone but 50 Cent. He went from the streets to an artist, and now he’s branching out into theater and film. It’s like what I want to be able to do, I think music is a stepping stone to even bigger and better things – look at what Rihanna and Justin Bieber have achieved.

And congratulations on your new track “Lights Out”! Can you give us some insight into the meaning behind the track?
When I made this song, I wanted people to imagine it’s a summer day and you’re with your friends. There are so many layers – you can cry on it, you can rock on it.

So we know this is a follow up to the track “Never Hiding” you released in January, would you say your new music is a continuation, or can we expect something totally new?
I think there are definitely elements that are similar, but sonically they are very different. “Never Hiding” is more of a melodic rap, while “Lights Out” has a pop element. I want people to keep guessing what kind of music I’m going to release. Being versatile is so important that I can create an amazing ballad song for people who like ballads – but a lot of my fans won’t like ballads, so I can change things up for them.

I think that’s what stood out to me the most about your music, that you couldn’t put your finger on what genre it was. Where does this come from? And how would you describe your sound?
In fact, I cannot answer you. I’ve always been the guy who does different stuff. I always wanted to stand out, I always wanted to be the leader, the one people notice. So I think I can sing, I can rap, but singing doesn’t just mean drums, singing doesn’t just mean piano – the only limit is what you set yourself. So, being the creative person that I am, I just wanted to incorporate elements of everything I heard growing up into my music. I think that’s why it will never fit into a specific genre.

If you could name your own genre for your own sound, does anything come to mind?
I never even thought about that you know, that’s a good question. I think that’s almost fine, I can’t think of an answer because that means no one else does. It’s a whole new thing.

And finally, for those who don’t know you yet, what is one thing you would like people to know about you?
Returning to hell is profound. I think I’m ready for anything. I want people to know that I take pride in being confident. It’s good to know in itself that yes, I have talent. I just want people to know that I’m an easy going guy. Even though I’m climbing the ladder, I don’t want people to be like “oh, I’m so boujee”. The same way I chat with you now, even though I’ve never met you before, I would chat like this with anyone. I love chatting with people.

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