The DC Voice

She is Zhariah

While D.C. may be famous for its historical landmarks, there have been a number of other notable aspects that have given D.C. it’s culture— music being one. D.C is home to some of the most prominent entertainers in the music industry today! Shy Glizzy, Ari Lennox, Jonny Gill, Ginuwine, Tank, Wale, and more. With the diversity of genres in music, there are music artists in the District that are taking a more…..Alternative approach.

I got the opportunity to sit down and interview upcoming female Alternative artist and model Zhariah. I was curious about how her art came about, her inspirations, and where she sees her musical passions taking her in the future.

“Before I became Zhariah I was “Iah Queen” at first. I Started a new Twitter and changed the aesthetic on my Instagram. I started doing music like, I was rapping and I was freestyling. I started writing and recording songs and started doing small performances, and then one day I was like this is not me.” Although she loved the flow of Rap music, she realized that her style was more so Alternative. In 2018, she performed her very first single Starss (Black Twitter), not expecting the response she received from the audience. “The crowd went crazy, started moshing around me and everything. And at that point I was like I’m changing my name because I remember listening to an interview and the person saying queens have one name. That’s why you have Beyoncé, Cher, Madonna, and Sade.

Also, I thought it was funny because when I was graduating high school my school had to email my mom to make sure I spelled my middle name right and I definitely spelled it wrong at age 18. So then I thought it was just funny to be like here’s a part of me I never paid attention to, so let’s bring it to light.”

After her first single Starss (2018), she decided to take a more assertive approach to her music; leading her fully into the alternative music genre producing her next three singles: Yass Siss (2018), Metal Whips and Chains ft. Breezy Supreme (2018), and Creepy Cuntz (2019).

“I just wanted to do alternative music because it came naturally, but also as female artists, especially black women, we are supposed to be one way. I love Cardi, Megan [Thee Stallion], and my guilty pleasure is City Girls; but for that image to be put out all the time, it’s annoying to me. So, for me I decided to be who I am authentically and I’m going to shove in everyone’s face.”

She went on to express that Alternative music is her main genre focus, but that she loves other genres such as rock, pop, hip-hop, and indie. “I just love different sounds. I love creative videos. I love artist who go outside of the norm. I love SZA, Gus Dapperton, Santigold, The 1975. I like BTS.”

As an alternative artist, she’s inspired most by Lady Gaga, Tyler the Creator, Beyoncé, Doja Cat, FKA Twigs, and Missy Elliot. “I love Lady Gaga because our stories are so similar and the 2009 VMA’s when she did Paparazzi was the day, I decided I wanted to be a performing artist. I told my mom that’s what I want to do. So, when I do crazy things on stage, I just remember Lady Gaga did that.”

I was curious to know more about her  on stage performance style and her process of writing and recording in the studio.“One, I love performing the most. I feel the most like myself onstage, I come alive. It just came from me being young and dancing in my room for hours. Studying other artists choreography and incorporating it with a bit of my own. My writing process is different every time. I can hear a beat and make a song, or I can have words or emotions and want to do it but then I would get writers block. After Metal, Whips, and Chains was released I had writers block for six months. That song practically took over my life to the point where I couldn’t produce anything else until that project was completely finished.”

Her writers block is now long gone, but the music she finds herself producing is more pop than alt. “The next song and video I do now will be like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) or something. It’s going to be a drastic change and it’s ok because Doja Cat did something similar with her music. I love Doja Cat! I found myself moving towards music like that because people around me knew that being alternative wasn’t all of me. They know I love Pop, they know I’m theatrical yet I wasn’t letting people see that from the start but it’s what I’m letting people see now.”

As far as her future, year from now she sees herself already having made her name known. “I see myself going viral in a music video. I see myself working with artists like Ashnikko, CupcakKe, and Doja Cat. I see myself hosting my own shows, like doing alternative girl meet-ups. As an artist, if you meet with those people they become your biggest supporters. All of this is fun! Even though I’m still in the beginning stages, I want to be doing something in relations to my art every week. I just want to fall into it deeply and be able to live off of it. It has to work.”

Follow her on Instagram: @_zhariah and Twitter: @QueenZhariah

Natalie Davis

Natalie Davis

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September 2020

The walls and alleys in DC are adorned with colorful and interesting displays of the artistic, historic, and often colorful richness of the nation's capital. We feature these works of art as backgrounds for The DC Voice web site. Hopefully, it brings further recognition to those artists!

This month's image is one of my favorites and one of three that adorns North Capitol & Florida Avenues NW.

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