With innate talent and good training, Zaritza is an artist to watch out for. Influenced by classical Russian composers and contemporary European electronic producers, her pop music links the new with the old. Scroll down to discover much more about her latest single “Slot Machine”.
1 — First of all, why did you decide to make music in America and not in Russia?
Despite growing up in a very isolated village geographically, I was lucky to be exposed to a variety of music that enriched my life and influenced my own creativity. Much of the music was, of course, Russian, including traditional folk music and the great Russian classical composers — Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Glinka and, by far my favorite of all classical composers, Rachmaninoff. In addition, my father introduced me to American/British pop, rock n’ roll music, ranging from the Beatles to Motown to my all-time favorite rock band, Queen. This music from “the West” was so magnetic; it opened up an entirely different world of musical possibilities for me and led me to focus on pop/rock and later electronic music as an artist in my own right. So when I first came to America as a teenager, I immediately felt energized and inspired to explore the music scene here without compromising my values and my authenticity! I first arrived in America from Russia many years ago, I was extremely fortunate to be introduced to and spend a little time with one of my musical heroes, the legendary songwriter, performer and producer Nile Rodgers, who generously gave me musical and career advice that continues to help me to this day.
2 — What’s something you miss about your homeland?
Aside from my family who is now spending more time with me here in the US, I miss Russian nature – seeing miles of beautiful fields, birch trees, getting lost while mushroom picking, all the simple but often magical things and surroundings of suburban Russia.
3 — Are you musically trained or self-taught?
My arts education, on scholarships, included nine years of both dance school and music school, where I trained in my greatest passion, classical piano. Every year I competed in regional dance and piano competitions, frequently placing first. At age 15, I started composing my own music, combining Russian classical with modern forms popular with my generation. After immigrating to the US, I took piano, music theory and musical theater courses at Rhode Island College, and later studied voice with Kathryn LaBouff, chairperson of the voice department at the Juilliard School.
I would hope that my audience connects to my music in their own individual way, finding some reflection of their feelings, desires, experiences or struggles in my lyrics or at least in the tapestry of sounds each tune shows. I love hearing when people find their own meaning to my lyrics and interpret them through their prism of emotions.
5 — What was the creative process behind your new song “Slot Machine”?
I wrote the initial idea on piano (my most common way of writing demo ideas) and then I took it to my friend Chris – collaborator of my new music, a guitar player in all of my live performances in last two years and just an incredible musician overall – and we’ve worked on producing the song together and experimenting with different sounds for a few months. Then, I finished remaining lyrics with my other collaborator/producer and long-term friend Steve who has helped me bring more wild and daring ideas out of me and put the last touches to the song.
6 — What is the deep meaning of a “Slot Machine”?
The title is obviously a play of words, referring to gambling, feeling lucky and free to experience pleasures and deepest desires, even in one night. The concept of the song was originally about exploring sexual fantasies but then it formed into a stronger statement of female sexual confidence, desires, and expression.
7 — Is there any funny anecdote while you were filming the video?
The video shoot was quite ambitious with different scenes involved that all had be done in one night, almost 14 hours of non-stop setting and shooting, so it was very intense and dramatic at times. But the most challenging and funny experience of all was a club dance scene where I had to wear a very heavy costume with chains and belts attached to it, plus the boots! Through sweat and struggle, I was dancing for hours and cursing at myself for creating such crazy wardrobe ideas 🙂
I do support feminism in many ways that are essential for women to function freely without any constrains and additional challenges that men don’t often face. With “Slot Machine”, I express my desire for women to be less oppressed with regard to their sexuality, to always have a choice and power. I’ve always believed that feminism is about embracing female sexuality and celebrating it, as opposed to denigrating sexually aware and empowered women.
9 — What can we expect from Zarita in the next months?
I am currently in the production of my next EP, which has even more focus on my electro-pop influences and a strong emphasis on the visual aspect for my live performance – including choreography, dancers and video elements. I also am planning on a small UK/European tour this coming Spring which might even take me to my native country, Russia!
10 — Finally, how much have you grown up as an artist through the years?
As you always wish to evolve as a human, I certainly hope to grow as an artist as well! Through pain and happiness, disappointments and inspirations, loss and gain, self-criticism and self-praise, you learn more and more about yourself which is essential to artistic growth!