By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Within the past year, Zachary Knowles has proven to be a name to stay on your radar, with the release of his debut album ‘tendency to be a loner’ via FADER Label, which explores the emotional ups and downs of life, from high-school romance (“johnny & june”) and a day of lazy fun at home with your lover (“dancing in the kitchen”) to the confusion that can surround an abrupt breakup (“stranger to me”).
Even deeper, ‘Tendency To Be A Loner’ shows Knowles’ vulnerability on both a musical and intellectual level, as he’s a real-life happy introvert with the occasional urge to go out and socialize. It was all about emotions for him.
Influenced by artists such as Post Malone, John Mayer and Justin Bieber, Knowles has opened for Alec Benjamin, collaborated with the likes of Ashe, Alexander23 and X Lovers and has been regularly featured on Spotify’s “New Music Friday” playlist since his emergence.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with the Magnolia, Texas-based singer-songwriter about ‘Tendency To Be A Loner’ and more.
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?
Zachary Knowles – After I put out my first project freshman year of college and got a lot of good support on it, I think it just made me realize that I could see myself doing it more seriously, so I started putting a lot more time into it and fell in love with everything that goes into the process and eventually got signed and just haven’t stopped.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your video for “stranger to me”?
Zachary Knowles – Making that video was such a good time. The idea came from Jonah George and TJ Hoover, who basically helped expand on this idea of being in the presence of someone you know, but who feels like a complete “stranger” to you because of a breakup or just growing apart. Throughout the video, there’s things surrounding the tent next to mine that shift around, as if the person I can’t see is packing up to leave. I’m constantly trying to get a look at them during the video, but I never do, which is meant to symbolize this “ghost-like” person, whose actions and life is foreign and unknown to me.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your debut album ‘tendency to be a loner’?
Zachary Knowles – I’d say my goal with this album was just to reach people and hopefully give them something that makes them feel heard or understood. I try and be very real and vulnerable in my lyrics, so I just hope that people connect with that! I also think this album is a project that captured such an interesting time in my life, so it’ll be cool to look back on to see how I was impacted by everything going on around me and in my life.
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your streaming success to, so far?
Zachary Knowles – Huge shoutout to Spotify, because they put me on playlists at the very beginning when I didn’t really know what I was doing, which allowed me to gain some traction, for sure. From there though, the listeners and fans just took it to the next level for me. I feel very blessed that I get to do what I do and it blows my mind that people connect with what I do and choose to share it with others. I really couldn’t do any of this without those listening. My label and whole team around me has amped everything up too and I’ve been pushed creatively a lot by artists and my team in ways I probably never would’ve thought of had I not met them.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Zachary Knowles – The pandemic put me in a weird place mentally at first, because I was just getting used to traveling and being able to work with people in person. When all of that was stripped away, I definitely went through a weird phase where I just didn’t feel creative. I was overthinking everything I did, on top of trying to finish college and graduate on time, so I was pretty stressed out, to be honest. I had to find new sources of inspiration and push myself to write differently, but in the end, it wound up being pretty cool, because it opened my eyes to new ways of thinking as a writer.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Zachary Knowles – Where I come from is a pretty small town and I feel like life is quiet and simple there. I really appreciate that, because I think it made me learn to take a step back sometimes and learn to love the little and simple things that life has to offer. With my family being there too, it’s always a reminder of where I came from and how I got to where I am, so it’ll always be really special to me.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Zachary Knowles – Lately, I’ve been listening to a mix of Kamal., John Mayer and Kendrick when I workout! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Zachary Knowles – I usually go workout, play basketball, or go thrifting or something.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Zachary Knowles – Something I think about a lot is how life isn’t promised, so the fact that I woke up this morning is enough motivation for me to keep going and enjoy my time doing what I love while I’m here.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for as we begin 2022?
Zachary Knowles – I really just want to connect with fans and continue putting out music. I’ve been meeting a lot of cool people lately and pushing myself creatively, so I just want to share everything I’m doing with those who are listening. Shows are something I really want to get into as well, but I’ve been loving making new music and challenging myself with creating content, so we’ll see!
*Photo Credit – Jonah George*