Meet Zeph, the Composer of Your Coming-of-Age Soundtrack
Photo: Amy Madden
Zephani Jong, better known simply as Zeph, is a singer-songwriter, producer, and shitposter (be sure to check out zephcore for all your meme needs) who knew music was her destiny. Hailing from Ellicott City, Maryland, the 22-year-old started taking piano lessons when she was three-years-old and became interested in making her own songs and music production after a trip to the Apple store for a kid’s tutorial on GarageBand.
Armed with an iPad, the then 10-year old began her songwriting career. “I didn’t start writing lyrics to my music until two or three years ago, she confesses in an interview with Alt Press. "I started posting little snippets of what I made onto Instagram. I was really nervous because I had never done that before, but people really liked it, so I kept doing it.” Wanting to create movie soundtracks and inspired by composers like Hans Zimmer and artists like Owl City and Jeremy Zucker, Zeph took the first steps towards creating music that expressed her innermost thoughts and uncertain emotions.
In December of 2018, Zeph released her first full-length song, “Forever & Always,” after teasing a demo of the chorus on Instagram. The single has now amassed more than 13 million streams on Spotify and was just a taste of what was to come for the new artist. Following that initial bout of success, in 2020, she dropped two more singles, “Lucky” and “Ways to Go,” before releasing her first EP that November, goodnight moon, an intimate six-track compilation of demos.
2021 would prove to be Zeph’s busiest year to date. In April, she featured on Thomston’s song “Magnolia.” Zeph, according to Thomston, brought an “unfiltered angst” to a track that explores romanticizing summer while navigating feelings of isolation and loneliness. Soon after, Zeph was swiftly signed to indie label Neon Gold Records. She dropped her singles “are you?” and “friends or not” that summer, both with accompanying colorful music videos featuring odd and unexpected plot points.
Her highly-anticipated EP, scared of everything, finally arrived October 15, 2021. The self-produced six-track record is short and sweet and mixes endearing bedroom pop with beautiful strings arrangements, demonstrating her endless potential as an artist. The singer then ended her year on a high note, opening on select dates for Waterpark’s headlining tour with Arrested Youth and phem.
Although no announcements for what’s to come have been made yet, Zeph has made it clear that she's focused on growing and becoming the artist she ultimately wants to be. “My goal is to just keep making music,” she shares with Alt Press. “I don’t really care about blowing up and all that because that’s a lot of pressure. I just like that I can do this as a job, and people relate to it.”