In an ever-shifting digital landscape of fluid identities, long distance discoveries, and a music community that is more global than ever, ZHU is an exciting new voice that is carving his own unique path.
At the start of February, an anonymous track consisting of Outkast songs reworked to a futuristic dance floor medley titled ‘Moves Like Ms. Jackson’ sent ripples across the online music community, being featured and raved about across a plethora of major dance music publications before it was endorsed by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1. From MTV, Dancing Astronaut to ThisSongisSick and Earmilk amongst others, rumors swirled as to the identity of the creator behind the masterful recording, with theories ranging from Duke Dumont to French Express to a collaboration between Disclosure and Outkast ahead of their joint billing at Coachella.
One week later, the artist anonymously uploaded an original track titled ‘Superfriends’. Bringing together Gorillaz-esque synth funk with rough-and-ready 90's hip hop bounce and pitched-down rap verses—the artist’s voice only revealing itself for the beguiling chorus hook of "Oh baby baby baby, we could be superfriends"—it provided a further enticing inkling to the shadowy artist. Finally, as the track surged to the top of the Hype Machine charts and after much speculation, the investigative work of one particularly avid follower revealed the artist's identity as ZHU via electronic music website Do Androids Dance.
In the space of these meteoric few weeks during which the tracks accumulated a combined over half a million plays on Soundcloud, one thing was at no point ambiguous—the unbridled creativity and addictive pull at the core of ZHU's craft. Drawing from a range of dance music genres from house to disco to garage to hip-hop and synth-pop, along with his distinctly captivating voice and futuristic production, ZHU spins these elements into a potent concoction entirely of his making.
New track ‘Faded’, the first one to be put out officially under his own authorship, expounds on the intriguing palette set thus far with smoky midnight Italo disco, elastic garage keys, and ZHU's liquid falsetto and cunningly manipulated production to deliver a hymn-like earworm melody. It’s an enticing transmission that not only cements the arrival of a special new voice to keep a watchful eye on but also leaves us with what’s next?