“I didn’t want to need a label I just wanted to find people I trusted with my career.”
From a very millennial beginning being scooped up via her SoundCloud & social media presence, Lolo Zouaï fast went on to be signed by RCA and produce hits such as her breakout “High Highs to Low Lows” while, admirably, maintaining creative control throughout. From her album release to touring, thrifting and letting others take the wheel, PAUSE caught up with the rising talent.
When I first heard you it was through Kid Super, can you explain who that is and your relationship with them?
Kid Super was in the beginning a clothing brand, this guy Colm he started a clothing brand out of his college dorm room and then he started renting some floors in a building in Brooklyn and made it into a creative space and he made a recording studio in the basement where other artists can record and Russ was one of the first people to record there and then Doug my manager found me on Soundcloud and Instagram and brought me over to Kid Super and I ended up moving in and just working and recording High Highs to Low Lows in the basement.
I know you’re very hands on with your music videos, what’s the process behind them?
I come up with a mood board, I come up with an idea usually. I have two sides to my videos sometimes they’re high quality and sometimes they’re pretty lo-fi because that’s kind of my sound, the way I dress, kind of everything in my life has a mix of the high and the low hence the album title. Sometimes we just go out and shoot on a VHS and sometimes I’m like okay I want to… Like for ride I had the idea for a motorcycle and all of that then I collaborate with the director and we make it work all together. I’m definitely going to be making more videos for the album throughout the year.
Could you give someone else all the creative powers for a video?
Right now I’m in the process of doing that, I think sometimes its important to do that. I try to do everything but then I realise it stresses me out and I can’t always do everything and I’m not going to be able to. So its finding people who really understand their vision, who can accomplish it.
Does being French and Algerian inform your music?
I think it gives it that extra flair, Arabic melodies are so beautiful and there’s a big influence of Arabic melodies in rap and early 2000s pop and I just wanted to do that as well because I listened to some rai music, which I the traditional music of Algeria that when it first started, Khaled was one of the first people to put out that kind of music and when it first started it was controversial and so in a sense I feel like its so great to embrace that because its part of my culture and blood. For the French I think just adding in a bit of French because I am bilingual is important to just show who I am I think its just a reflection of me.
Do you get to visit often?
Now I’ve been going back to France a lot because my music, they’re loving it there so I go to France a lot. I have only been to Algeria twice but hope to go back.
What would you say is an everyday outfit for you?
I would wear probably some Dickies, some baggy pants like men’s pants and a big oversized sports jacket like a Nascar jacket and some Dr Matins or Nike’s.
A lot of your styles vintage, how do you find those pieces?
I’m really good at thrifting, I have my select spots in New York that I go to. I find these jackets for like $10 and I actually found the jacket for my album cover on eBay! I bid and I won and it was $10. I really love thrifting and I don’t like going to curated thrift stores that are expensive because I feel that takes from the fun and the meaning of thrift. I also love it because it’s better for the environment to use older clothes instead of buying and consuming.
Are there any pieces you really want to find at a thrift?
I think there was. It was a black M&M’s NASCAR jacket that I really like and some Harley Davidson shirts that are rare but other than that its just about the fun. Sometimes I’ve gone out and looked for something and I’ve found it and I was like I’m too good at this! I don’t like going with anyone because they’ll find the stuff before me.
Has anyone in particular influenced your style?
I would say its more a city – San Francisco. Everyone there was so stylish there growing up and I would just watch people on the street.