Premiere: ZEKIEL continues to strive with new single, 9 Days Straight
After introducing himself to the world with a single last year, the Sydney-via-Mackay rapper is here to cement his status in the next generation.
At the tail-end of last year we were introduced to ZEKIEL, a rising name from Queensland's far north - Mackay, to be exact - who had since relocated to Sydney to further a bustling career in hip-hop, which at the time, was just beginning to take off thanks to a break-out debut single titled Writing Away. With a second single soon under his belt - last year's Skipping School - things seemingly started to fall into place; the musician's solo project signing to Island Records, while behind-the-scenes, his status as a go-to songwriter had him working with the likes of Thelma Plum, Jack Gray and Cosmo's Midnight.
In the time since Skipping School, things have been pretty quiet release-wise for young ZEKIEL. Instead, he's been honing in on his craft and continually elevating himself, promising to return after everything that's gone on so far this year with a sound that's a touch more refined and slick, something that we're beginning to see with his first single of the year premiering today, titled 9 Days Straight.
9 Days Straight is a welcome return from ZEKIEL that seems him go a bit deeper into his craft, with a hazy, almost lo-fi-esque hip-hop production forming somewhat of a subtle underlay that elevates his vocals, which again, moves with this kind-of alt-rap flow that you'd expect from someone like Post Malone and J. Cole, albeit in his own distinct way. It's a natural progression from the sounds that he gave us on Skipping School, not moving too far away from where he grew an audience, but still showing signs of growth and evolution with everything he's putting out.
Go deeper into the track, however, and you'll see this depth come to life. Beyond its spiralling vocals and dark production, the single is a story of the battles and resilience that together, have defined ZEKIEL's path to where he is today, exploring the duality that's often talked about musicians when it comes to the balance of their lives. "Everybody has their own personal battles and 9 Days Straight is the story of mine," he says on the track. "A constant cycle of self-reflection, addiction and disregard for my own well being.
"I had a bout of stress-related insomnia at the end of 2019 when I wrote this song. At the time I would have only slept about 12-15 hours over 9 days (nightshift work hours, struggling with addiction, poor diet)... I was physically exhausted, physiologically vulnerable and on the verge of a major breakdown. The chapter in my life I call; one step forward - two steps back," he continues. "I wanted to highlight the contrast between the highs and the lows that I couldn’t seem to escape. So facing the reality that I have been consistently inconsistent throughout my life and it's always held me back was a lightbulb moment for me... so I decided to write about it."
It's a track that gives us more of ZEKIEL than we've ever seen before, so take a dive into it below, as it premieres on Pilerats ahead of its official release tomorrow:
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