Today, Zuzu belatedly releases her debut album, Queensway Tunnel, in what is a momentous moment for an artist that has truly gone full circle. It was only last year that Zuzu contemplated giving up on music entirely after being released from Virgin. Thankfully, she valiantly fought against adversity to make the record she’s always wanted to create.
On her first attempt, Zuzu wears her heart on her sleeve as she pieces her life back together, dealing with the anxieties and growing up in a turbulent digital world. From 2018 up until the pandemic, Zuzu released a plethora of singles, but none of them found their way onto Queensway Tunnel.
The album is its own entity and reflects where she is now, both as an artist and on a human level. An honesty runs through her lyricism and is coupled with the relentless passion she exudes, which makes for an infectious combination as she makes her voyage through young adulthood and filled with melodic hooks.
Zuzu’s life has been a rollercoaster over the last 18 months. Cost-cutting measures forced by the pandemic led to her release, and she thought her career was over but found the strength to continue against the odds.
“I felt like my whole world fell apart professionally and had to pick myself up,” she tells Far Out. “It’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with just to keep going during this time and not quitting.
“It’s hard to put into words,” she painfully recalls. “I lost my will not just to play music, but my will to live. I didn’t feel like there was much point anymore, but getting through that has taught me a lot. It’s really taught me to value every single thing that happens now. Now, every single show, and every single time I hear my song played somewhere that is not my house or my mum’s house, I appreciate it so much more now than I did before, even though at one point I wanted to die last year.”
Having a project to focus on in her home studio played an essential role in Zuzu’s recovery. It gave her a vehicle to vent, and the process was a beacon of light during an otherwise dark period. “No matter what happens, it’s on my terms, and that’s all I can really do,” she adds.
Like many people throughout the pandemic, Zuzu hit rock bottom. However, 2021 has been a brighter experience after she “revaluated what is important” in life and learned to deal with the root of her anxieties.
Earlier this year, her self-belief sky-rocketed when Zuzu became the first artist to play an unrestricted concert when she opened up for Blossoms at Sefton Park in Liverpool. It’s an experience that she compares to “winning the lottery”, and it’s a precious moment that will stay with the singer eternally.
Additionally, Zuzu has even now managed to see the decision to drop her as a blessing in disguise and pointed out: “There’s a lot of artists out there on record labels that can’t even put music out”. In contrast, she’s been able to make her debut on her terms without interference or her creative vision being diluted.
Moreover, Zuzu wants the listeners to feel a sense of release from Queensway Tunnel and be cathartic, just like it was for her recording the album. She explains, “I want it to be like when you feel like shit, and speak to your auntie or your Scouse mum, you’ve had it out with them then you have a hug, and then feel better”.
It’s been a torturous experience to get to release day, but one that has made Zuzu find an inner resilience that she didn’t even know she had. While it’s been far from easy to get to this point, she is now deservedly filled with pride as Queensway Tunnel enters the world.
Zuzu tour dates
- Wed 01 Dec – Patterns – Brighton, UK
- Thu 02 Dec – The Dome – London, UK
- Fri 03 Dec – Thekla – Bristol, UK
- Sun 05 Dec – O2 Academy – Liverpool, UK
- Mon 06 Dec – The Cluny – Newcastle, UK
- Tue 07 Dec – The Mash House – Edinburgh, UK
- Wed 08 Dec – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – Glasgow, UK
- Thu 09 Dec – Bodega Social Club – Nottingham, UK
- Sat 11 Dec – Hyde Park Book Club – Leeds, UK
- Sun 12 Dec – Hare & Hounds – Birmingham, UK
- Mon 13 Dec – The Deaf Institute – Manchester, UK
- Tue 14 Dec – The Leadmill – Sheffield, UK
- Thu 16 Dec – The Academy- Dublin, IE