ZOLA's "Don't Eat" Speaks to the Fear of Signing a Major Label Deal
Self-described as "dark folk with a modern twist," "Don't Eat" is the latest track from bilingual singer-songwriter ZOLA. Marking a departure from her previous singles "Téléphone" and "Crystal Floors," "Don't Eat" is the final song to be released ahead of her debut album. Compared to the dance and Bossa Nova leanings of "Téléphone" and "Crystal Floors," ZOLA's "Don't Eat" feels more akin to folk revivalists like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine. In addition, this is the first track from her upcoming project to be written entirely in English.
Growing up in San Francisco, ZOLA attended a French immersion school until the sixth grade. While it is featured prominently across her recent releases, writing in French is somewhat new for the 22-year-old. After attending the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, the songwriter returned to her hometown and began to embrace her bilingualism through music for the first time. Feeling that she had "forgotten [her] background and where [she] came from," ZOLA began writing in French and English as a way to "connect with [her]self again."
Defined most succinctly by her Spotify bio: "don't put me in a box," ZOLA's writing is both genre and language agnostic yet remains cohesive, thinly held together with her soulful voice and penchant for storytelling. Her latest single, "Don't Eat," is proof that the young artist can write outside of boxes but still sound like ZOLA.
Written after her recent signing to KidInAKorner Records, an imprint of Interscope Records and Universal Music Group, "Don't Eat" expresses the anxiety of signing a major record deal and the fear that her autonomy and vision would be undermined in the process. Accented by refrains like, "I hope I come back," and the titular, "Don't eat me whole," ZOLA speaks plainly about the vulnerability she feels as a new signee.
The single's release was complemented by a music video, directed by Polly Pierce. Wanting the video, "to feel chilling and magical at the same time," Pierce captured "Don't Eat" with the lyrics in mind, using straightforward close-ups and using shots that were "constantly moving and flowing" to capture ZOLA's vulnerability.
The upcoming debut album from ZOLA is set to release this year. Until then, you can listen to "Don't Eat" below: