“unabashed pop joy”
– Complex UK
“Zachary Knowles has dug himself a soft spot in our hearts, and it is only a matter of time until he finds his way into yours.”
-Ones To Watch
Knowles offers up honeyed vocals while he straddles the sonic outlines of introspective bedroom-pop and pacific R&B inflections. Propelled by the subtleness of a minimal production and an eloquent falsetto… toward the direction of a sonic haven where one can find equanimity in a time of difficulty.”
Photo credit: Stefan Kohli / Download hi-res
Rising artist and tender pop creator, Zachary Knowles, recently announced his debut album, tendency to be a loner, due out August 6, 2021 via FADER Label. Today, he shares the official video for his single “stranger to me,” which he previously shared with a lyric video. The new video was directed by TJ Hoover and Jonah George (Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler, Alexander23), who also directed Knowles’ “johnny & june” video.
Describing the official “stranger to me” video, Knowles says, “Building up to this album I knew that I really wanted to shoot something with a crazy landscape. I was also in love with TJ and Jonah’s overall direction for the video. I grew up going on vacations to the mountains, so to be able to shoot a music video in them, for a song of mine, was and still is really special for me. Fun fact… it was like 40 something degrees when we were filming, so if I look cold it’s because I was indeed cold, haha.”
The new single explores the experience of a best friend or someone who’s deeply loved, turning into a complete stranger after a breakup or a burn that turned the relationship to ash. It evokes that feeling of awkwardness when someone who was once so close is suddenly totally distant, and how life has to go on without that bond but with the inner-knowing that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Describing the new track, Zachary Knowles says, “It’s weird how you can spend every day with someone, get super close, feel like the relationship will last forever, and then drift apart and become strangers to each other like nothing ever happened. I think sometimes relationships aren’t meant to be forever, which is totally fine in my opinion. It just seems like sometimes people are put in your life for a season and then they’re gone. We should enjoy them while they’re here.”
This proclivity to introspective and introverted thinking was introduced in the upcoming album’s title track “tendency to be a loner,” which recently arrived with a lyric video. Ashe co-wrote the track with Knowles, and Alexander 23 helped produce it. An introvert anthem, Knowles sings “I’ve got you / That’s all I need / I got a tendency to be a loner / let’s go be alone together.”
On the LP as a whole, he says, “This album is about my introverted nature. I wanted to capture what my day-to-day looks like as far as emotions go. Most days, I just wanna be by myself. I’ll say no to things I know I’d have fun doing, just because that’s what feels normal to me. Other days though, I’ll go out, hang with people, etc, and I’ll have fun. I wanted the flow of this album to feel like the flow of my emotions. Some days I wanna be alone and some days I wanna get out. This album represents the highs and lows of that struggle, and hopefully, it connects with people who feel the same way.”
Previously released single, “dancing in the kitchen,” now has an acoustic version streaming everywhere now, as well as a live performance video. The song is all about being lazy and wasting the day away with someone you love and adore spending time with. It marks the moment when you know you’re with the right person because it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s together. Trips and pre-planned adventures just seem like extra effort to get to the same feeling of bliss that can be created at home, dancing in the kitchen. It creates the mood for “tendency to be a loner” and that vision of being alone together really gets rooted in warm, loving energy.
The official music video for “dancing in the kitchen” is just as cozy as the cotton socks that Zachary Knowles wears as he spins around on the hardwood floor and plays guitar on the kitchen counter. A soft smile sits between his cheeks and his eyes sparkle through the holes of the Connect Four board game that he’s playing with his lover, who must be holding the camera. He cooks up a bacon and egg breakfast, picks lemons from the tree in the yard, and hangs out in his comfy sweater as he sings, “Let’s put the stress to the side / You and I, we can have a good time.” No phones in sight; just Knowles’ warm energy and chill vibes.
The atmosphere in “dancing in the kitchen” feels like such a relief and a change of pace, compared to the last single from Knowles, “carpool,” which was all about yearning for his love to be next to him and the pain of distance that turns to a need for escape and daydreaming. The “carpool” music video opens with Knowles sitting in front of his car underneath a street light, looking lonely, as lyrics flash across the screen that hit extra hard, like “only so many songs I can sing by myself,” as the sorrow in his heart is written all over his face.
Knowles’ single, “johnny & june,” arrived in February, just before Valentine’s Day, along with a music video steeped in mystery, nostalgia and most importantly: love. The Texas-based singer, songwriter and performer calls back to one of the most famous love stories in music, that of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. The accompanying music video by TJ Hoover and Jonah George takes the song to an innocent setting that many can trace first love moments back to: high school. The viewer never sees the face of this could-be June, and yet they see so deeply into the soulful eyes of this potential Johnny. A live performance of “johnny & june” is also streaming now.
The selflessness of Zachary Knowles isn’t just in the music’s sweet lyrics of love, but also how it was made. Ashe, Alexander23, X Lovers, and more have been collaborators of his and they have all shared in a collective vision of expression to really serve listeners in the most impactful way possible. Spotify highlighted Knowles’ recent singles on their New Music Friday playlist, where Knowles is a mainstay with his new releases. With over 50 million global streams, nearly one million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 53k followers on Tiktok, it’s clear it’s working.
The fresh up-and-comer, who opened for Alec Benjamin on tour in 2019, has been turning heads in the pop and indie-R&B realms with two EPs, Feelings (2018) and Magnolia (2020), with songs such as “city” and “slow summer” that show off his gifted, yet ever-improving songwriting skills that caught the attention of Ones to Watch, Uproxx, Earmilk, Happy Mag, and more.
The newest singles — “stranger to me,” “tendency to be a loner,” “dancing in the kitchen,” “carpool,” and “johnny & june” — that are all out now via FADER Label are follow-ups to his powerful stand-alone single “super sad songs” and his Magnolia EP, offering proof that pop can be personal and that Knowles is one of its most intriguing and capable emerging song crafters to date.
Photo credit: Stefan Kohli
Zachary Knowles has spent his entire life leading up to this moment. Hailing from Magnolia, Texas, Knowles was bit by the musical bug at an early age, when his parents gifted him a light-up keyboard in first grade. “I started teaching myself songs on there, but I always kept it to myself,” he explains. It didn’t take long for Knowles to run with his newfound talents; Eventually, Knowles transitioned into writing his own material, and he was pleasantly surprised at the online reaction to his own work as it racked up tens of thousands of streams on SoundCloud almost immediately: “I fell in love with making music. I’d come home from school and write as much stuff as I could.”
In his freshman year of college, he set a goal to release something properly and ended up with a series of well-received singles that led to a full EP of music touching on influences ranging from John Mayer to Post Malone and, most predominantly, Justin Bieber. Most recently, he released his Magnolia EP, a collection of songs that take direct inspiration from his small-town upbringing, young love, and the lessons that come with growing up. Knowles’ music has a strong ethos – To forge deeper connections with those around him by reaching deep inside to expose the commonalities that bond everyone in this universe. “I just wanna reach people,” he explains. “My whole dream at the start of this was to build relationships, whether it’s with one person or a hundred people. Personal connections to others are so important. Music is a really cool way to express yourself in a real way and talk about real-life things, rather than what others want to hear.” It’s an admirable aim, and you’ll definitely want to hear what Knowles has coming next.
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