You may have seen our next featured artist on the Stuck in the Middle Podcast where he freestyled on their 3 on 3 segment! Inspired by legendary acts such as Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Etta James, along with newer artists like Foggieraw and O-Slice. DMV AUX presents to you, the talented creative himself, rapper/lyricist, Zay Ade!
Zay Ade was born in Nigeria but relocated to the DMV at the age of two, residing in Prince George's County, Maryland. Influenced by his father, a former choir director for a mass church in Nigeria, Zay, and his siblings were introduced to different instruments at a young age. While living in D.C., Zay describes the neighborhood as being rough, so his father figured that the best distraction was music.
Over the years, Zay Ade has learned to play several instruments such as the bass, drums, piano, and is currently learning how to play the guitar. The rapper values being self-efficient and stated, it gives him the ability to capture the exact sound he wants, depending on the song.
In the early stages of his career, he wrote nothing but love songs. Zay describes his younger self as being a loverboy. Back in the 7th grade, he wrote a song for his crush, recorded it, and played it for her. At the age of 19, Zay decided to seriously pursue music as a career, upon releasing his first song “Let it Go” featuring ft. Ally Al to Soundcloud, he did not expect to receive any hype or feedback, but he did. The intention was to put the song out in hopes his future kids would stumble across and hear it. However, he ended up attracting listeners who began requesting new music, this initial support led him to follow his passion.
Apart from being inspired by his peers, Zay also pulls inspiration from several gospel artists such as Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, and Marvin Sapp. Although he incorporates gospel into his music, he’s not fond of the label, “Christian Rapper”. He stated, “I’m just a rapper, rapping about my life, and God is a huge part of my life.”
Stylistically to differentiate from other artists, he stays unique to himself and listens to older music across genres to curate a different sound. He stated, “If I'm able to take my story/life and put it into my music, then it’s automatically unique.”
In light of the DMV music scene, it’s small, but it’s filled with inspiration and possibilities. “The person sitting next to you could be average one day, then famous the next.” he stated. He also believes the majority of artists here, no matter the caliber, are extremely talented such as Foggieraw, Mannywellz, and O-Slice. Just by being friends with other artists and seeing their growth inspires him. “If we work together, everyone can make it.” he concluded.
Aside from music, Zay loves sports and played both basketball and football growing up. He laughed and stated, “As a guy in the DMV, you have to know how to hoop!” In his free time, he spends time with friends playing the two sports. As for his favorite teams, Zay has great loyalty for our hometown team, The Washington Redskins, and he’s a dedicated fan of the Boston Celtics.
He also possesses a degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and is currently applying to pursue a degree in physical therapy. Two years from now, Zay plans on releasing his first album and shares that his ultimate goal isn’t to be famous. He wants listeners to genuinely receive his message and that is to be yourself, spread love, and positivity.
Zay advises other up and coming artists to be themselves. “There’s no one with your experience or have walked in your shoes. Use your situation/story to your advantage, and turn those negatives into positives because it can give someone else hope. Don’t let anyone degrade or negatively affect you, keep doing you.” he stated.
Read more about Zay Ade with a closer look below
What song do you currently have on replay?
All of his songs hit, but “You Can’t Be My Baby” by Foggieraw
What movie can you watch over and over Again?
Without even thinking, “Paid in Full”! Any film with Tupac, aka the best actor, I can repeatedly watch!
What’s one thing you wish you didn’t have to pay for?
Food! I spend so much money on food, and wish I didn’t.
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I would play 2K, write music, and learn how to play a random instrument that would surprise others.
If you can hang out with any celebrity for a full day, who would it be and why?
Shawn Taylor, he was a different type of athlete with a killer mentality. As for someone who’s still living, Lebron James, it’s cliche, but look at his life, he’s unproblematic and is a great example for others!
What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
Bad odor, I hate it, especially on a human being! Even in sports, there’s always a person who’s smelling regardless if he’s on or off the field.
Would you rather Win $50,000 or let your best friend win $500,000?
I would let my best friend win $500,000, it’s more money and I’m sure he’ll give me 250,000. I would probably buy a new Toyota, I love my car, but a new one would be nice.
Magnified topic of the week: Walk Down by Zay Ade.
The inspiration behind his single was Zay being bored at his home. He decided to head to the studio and record it, this then led to Zay releasing an official music video for the single.
The entire idea behind the video displays an actual representation of how he spends his days home while in quarantine. Zay has a big family including his parents and siblings, he describes the environment as hectic. The video was to show that there are creativity and inspiration all around you. When it comes to visuals he took a simple approach by choosing one location and shooting only took about 30 minutes!
Watch the music video for “Walk Down” below and stream on all platforms!
Written by Asha Cole & Dejah Moné