Zak Abel has a voice of velvet. It literally sounds like honey. As he says, “vocally, I’m a soulful dude.” He isn’t lying at all. Cross my heart. It’s one of the smoothest voices I’ve ever heard, and his recent single, All I Ever Do (Is Say Goodbye), is no different. When Zak played a small snippet it on his Instagram before it dropped, I was already hooked. And that was the acoustic alone. Add in a killer piano, a funky drum line that I could definitely imagine him boogieing to, and an amazing vocal performance, and you have a very happy me.
I found Zak a little while ago, with his song Running From Myself, which was then posted on Soundcloud. Fast forward to me finding him again suddenly on Spotify, and the obsession continues. Signed to Atlantic Records at 17, with five years to grow before the release of his debut album (which he started completely from scratch) he’s doing incredible things, and I pray everyday that this man comes to Australia and I can see him live.
The song itself is musically catchy and fun to listen to. You can dance to the song, you can sing along to it, you can play while you’re on the bus and look out the window, while you’re in the car and it’s raining; it’s an incredibly versatile song. But then you listen to the words, like really listen to the song and it’s like…shit. It’s deep and intricate, and Zak’s lyrics leave little more to ask for. It’s the perfect mixture of emotion and musicality that combine to make this absolute track.
One of my favourite songs by Zak is Unstable. It’s sad. Like, very sad, when you listen to the words and what he’s trying to say…but that never stops me from dancing every time I listen to it.
A lot of Zak’s older stuff have very obvious influences that draw from the 70’s, funk and soul sounds, the feel that initially drew me in. If you listen to Running From Myself, you’ll understand what I mean. It’s that bass, I tell you, it’s all in the bass, which is amazingly replicated in backing vocals. Abel even touches upon this connection in an interview with Urban Soul, noting Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson amongst his biggest influences. He even goes further to speak about musical influences and the position we’re in at the moment, musically, in the world. “Okay, what is this the modern version of?” He’s on it, and I love it. However, if you listen to Unstable, you can’t help but wish you could hear it on the radio. There are definitely still soul and funk aspects within his new songs like Unstable, yet there are new elements of pop, dance, and…Caribbean and dancehall?? And I love it??
I’ve yet to actually completely get over how amazing his voice really is. For a 22 year old, it’s so strong and smooth, with just the right amount of grit it in to make you believe every word he sings, 100%. Add in the factor that he’s ridiculously likeable, as attested to in this Sofar London performance, you can’t resist smiling while watching him encourage the audience to sing along to his smooth as heck dance moves. He’s a cool dude. Here’s some links that you need to get around:
Everybody Needs Love – Zak Abel … the dude is literally playing ping-pong!!!!! PS: he was actually working to become a professional table tennis player before he discovered his love of music…which makes it even more legit!!!!
I’m very much hoping that these links are put to good use, I’d love to know what you think!