Interview: ZOYA

Nina Ristivojevic

April 4th, 2023

Zoya Zipova is a multi-talented artist, known for her skills as a singer-songwriter, producer, sound engineer and DJ with a significant and influential presence on social media.

With a background in Music Academy, ZOYA has refined her skills and passion for music, producing perfectly crafted sounds that have gained her global recognition. ZOYA’s music effortlessly navigates between genres, from trance euphoria to progressive house melodies and techno beats. Her original sound has earned her a place among the most respected labels in the music industry, such as Black Hole and others. Zoya’s ability to captivate and connect with her audience through her music has earned her a dedicated following and an enviable reputation in the music scene.

In this interview, we caught up with ZOYA to discuss her development as a musician, the challenges she has faced along the way, her unique bond with the Black Hole, and her forthcoming collaboration with Milkwish. Read on for a deeper understanding of ZOYA’s musical journey.

We are curious. What inspired you to pursue music production in the first place?
What inspired me to pursue music production was the fact that I wanted to be able to express what I feel through music. I was already writing songs and singing but I felt like something was missing. I enrolled back at the Music Academy in Bulgaria to study production and sound design.

I remember I went there every day working with 2 mentors and practising all the time. In the music industry women are often underestimated and I couldn’t take the fact that someone would make fun of me and say that my tracks were ghost produced. For me it was very essential to be able to create the music I wanted to play. Later on I passed the DJ course as well and with that I closed the circle. Now I have the full package and can write, sing, produce music and DJ.

You have explored various genres along the way. But it seems that trance music has been the genre you’ve gravitated towards the most and remained loyal to. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
I started with Trance music and played around with it until I found what I really enjoyed. I wouldn’t say that I stick to Trance all the time as I am very open to experimenting and playing different music. For the last few years I focused on Progressive House and Melodic Techno and nowadays I also enjoy exploring Organic and Afro house. So let’s see, maybe in the future I will surprise you with something totally different.

It is clear that you are not limited to one type of music. In your opinion, how crucial is it to have an open-minded and creative approach to music?
I think that is how you create something new and unique. I know some producers are strictly focused on one genre but I am not one of them. For me the magic happens when you leave your comfort zone. That is also a way to challenge yourself and improve.

Besides music production you also sing and write your own lyrics. What was the main driving force behind your desire to learn all those skills.
That wasn’t something I planned from the beginning. It all happened naturally. It was a process of learning and upgrading myself. When I was 17 I was in the last grade of High School and first grade at the Music Academy in my hometown. I studied opera and piano. Later on I got into the electronic music industry as a singer-songwriter but it was extremely difficult to get gigs as a vocalist.

I saw how other DJs were on tour all the time and I wanted to experience that as well. So I just stepped back and studied until I could produce music and play it later on. I love being on stage and I wanted this lifestyle so I worked hard for it till I got it.

I believe that if you work hard in life, stay consistent and never give up, eventually you will achieve your goals. And this applies to every field in life, not just music.
I am proud of all of my projects because they reflect my personality and my feelings at the time. But if I have to measure them and consider how these projects improved my career I would say ‘’ Nostalgia’’ which was played on BBC Radio 1. This was like a bucket list for me. After ‘‘All Night’’, I was signed to Anjunabeats and received an exclusive contract. Of course the first remix request I got was from Black Hole Recordings because I found amazing people to work with there. I can’t thank them enough for their endless support.

Throughout your career, you have collaborated with many artists. In what ways do you determine with whom to work, whether a producer or a vocalist? What do you believe is the most crucial element of a successful collaboration?
The artist’s personal approach is very important to me. I like working with kind, grounded and easy-going people with similar ideas to mine. When I start working on a song I plan everything: not only the sound but also the whole project: music video, marketing ideas, labels, promotion, DJs that could play it… all. It is like a business plan in my head. If I offer the opportunity to collaborate, I will build the whole idea and show it. If the other collaborator likes it we will develop it and make it perfect before sending it to the label. For me music is the most significant element of success but as we all know, nowadays marketing and social media play a huge role in a successful release.

Let’s discuss labels for a moment. You have released music on several well-known labels, but there appears to be one, already mentioned, that holds a special place in your heart. I am certain you know which label I’m referring to. Could you share with us how you became connected to this label?
Actually I never shared this before… On Sept 13th 2021 I lost my mom and this was the day when Arny sent me an email asking me to do a remix for Black Hole. I was completely heartbroken, in pieces because this loss was so unexpected. And even though I was in pain, I picked myself up and began working on the remix on the same day! I came up with 2 versions and wasn’t sure which was better. I sent it to Arny for approval and he liked and signed both. The track was called ‘‘Tastexperience - Agonda (ZOYA Remix)’’ and there was also a Sunshine Remix that I made. That was the start of our working relationship. Since then, I have released several remixes and originals on the label.

Congratulations on your latest release, “Silent Shore”! Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this track?
I wrote ‘‘Silent Shore’’ while I was in Greece. At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move from hour to hour but from mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun. I was inspired there and later developed the idea. I was looking for a more melodic and deep sound and I think I achieved it with this track. I sent the idea to Milkwish. He liked it and added his magic. That is how the final version of the track was born and we are really happy we signed it to Black Hole Recordings. The track also comes with a music video on my YouTube channel. I hope everyone enjoys our creation.

As someone who has been active and a woman in the music industry for 10 years, you have likely experienced many ups and downs. Looking back on your journey, can you recall what was the hardest thing to learn? If you could advise your younger self, what would it be?
That is an excellent question! And yes, there were many ups and downs. I am still facing many obstacles on my way and I am not where I want to be yet. I would advise my younger self like this: Don’t rely on people for your own success. Work hard, be consistent, stay focused and most of all believe in yourself, because if you can dream it, you can do it!

We see you traveling all around the world. Where can we catch you performing live this year? And do you have any upcoming projects to share with our readers?
I am doing the interview three hours before my USA flight. I am traveling on a tour there now. I will play in Sarasota on April 1st, Phoenix (AZ) April 7th, San Francisco April 8th (CA), Sarasota April 16th and Monaco on April 29th. Everyone can stay updated with my tour dates by following me on Instagram and Facebook.

With regards to the new projects, I will never stop working and surprising my community. I have lots of upcoming music, videos and DJ sets. I will also perform in some new countries soon. So stay tuned for more information.