Creatives are always struggling with inspiration. Whether it’s generated within or externally sourced, the nuance of how to apply their revelations is a constant wrestling match only won when the effort ceases. “You’re holding up something, living up to nothing.” It’s a TZAR lyric, but one that conveys the creative experience.
And, who is TZAR, anyway? For an artist so new, she seems to have a learned understanding of the creative process. TZAR competes in a genre always struggling for improvements but never for an audience, the regal status of pop provides a deep source of ambition but few who can command from its throne.
With the opening salvo of her inaugural release “What Ur Looking For,” Tzar is looking for a crowning effort in the alt-pop genre, one that adds immediate weight and may prove to be an evocative adaptation in her image.
That image is a huge part of both Tzar’s sound and visuals, a nostalgia for the overwrought styling of John Hughes movies, a master of the 1980s individualistic confusion narrative, a form of anxiety that builds into hope, a “dreamy, shimmering world felt like a journey into the distant past but familiar fantasy space.”
In “What Ur Looking For” that emotional transition was very much the point, “I wanted to capture the first glimmer of hope you feel after being shattered.” With her visuals set, the sound buttressed it even further, pulling the best from the 1980s staples she credits as her influences: Whitney Houston, Prince, Kate Bush and Chaka Chan.
Those references are as iconic as it gets and yet Tzar’s sounds remain a fresh take, a more earnest voice of confident vulnerability that can provide even more emotional arcs as Tzar’s inevitable varied inspirations change. Too early to coronate a new queen of pop, most likely, but if you want a songstress unafraid of arty ambition imbued in her pop sound Tzar might be what you are looking for.