Zsela Talks Prescient EP “Ache of Victory”

On Ache of Victory, the striking nu-soul star continues her steady rise.

With her debut track, “Noise,” singer-songwriter Zsela arrived as a stabilizing force last fall: The sound—slow and syncopated with touches of avant-garde—was an antidote to the otherwise chaotic pace of pop. Now, with her just-dropped EP Ache of Victory, Zsela delivers a melodic care package for our addled times.

Though song titles like “Drinking,” “Earlier Days,” and “For Now” may read like a self-quarantine playbook, the timing was kismet: Prior to entering the musical spotlight, Zsela spent the better part of two years on Victory, co-helmed by Inc. No World producer Daniel Aged (Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs). “I’ve been working on these songs for a minute,” she says from her temporary L.A. basecamp. “With everything going on right now, finally sharing this has given me a sense of security.”

Photo: Rob Kulisek

Her high bar for artistic integrity means she’s avoided productivity peer-pressure—that common quarantine symptom among creatives. “I’m not really being too hard on myself [in] that [regard],” she says. “I am with my family and helping them take care of things.” She has made time to keep up with her visual collaborators: “I talked to Daniel today, actually!” she says of photographer and “Noise” video director Daniel Arnold. Just don’t expect guerilla-style Zoom visuals: “It’s a bummer to not do [what I had originally planned], but I want to stay faithful to [these songs],” she explains.

When it comes to celebrating Victory, Zsela is content to forego the party: “It might be just another dinner with the fam,” she says—adding that “dinner” has lately taken on a new form: “My brother MacGyver-ed a net out of drumsticks, so we have been really into [playing] ping-pong on our dining room table.” Given her novel, nu-soul sound, it’s no surprise Zsela’s self-quar has a flavor all its own. Listen to Zsela’s independently released EP here.

Photo: Rob Kulisek
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