Just two weeks ago, I was given the chance to talk to rising young actress and songstress Zendaya! Already known as the star of Disney series Shake It Up and for coming in second place on Dancing With The Stars this year, the 16-year-old entertainer has been spending the last couple of months preparing the release of her eponymous self-titled debut album, which hits stores this week via Hollywood Records. Zendaya chatted with me about her lead single “Replay,” wanting her record to stand out, her plans for the future, who she would like to collaborate with, and much more. Read it all below!
BUY Zendaya’s self-titled debut album on iTunes NOW!
Jon: Hey Zendaya! How are you doing?
Zendaya: I’m great, thank you.
Jon: Wonderful! I wanted to first congratulate you on all the great feedback and success for your debut single “Replay.” Did you except to have such a great response?
Zendaya: Thank you. I believe in “Replay” a lot. When I first heard it, I knew it was special. I expected it to do good things. I always go into anything that I do with a positive mindset. I’m very proud of what its done so far and I can’t wait for it to continue.
Jon: Exactly! Will you be performing the song live anytime soon?
Zendaya: Yes, I will and have. I’ll be performing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, which I’m excited about. We’ve also already performed the song in Saratoga, we’ve gone to Toronto. All over the place. I think its really important to not only promote my album but to connect with my fans and actually see them and perform for them. I see my LA fans a lot more than I see any others so I definitely want to get out there and perform more.
Jon: Good, I know your fans will be happy to hear that. Your album hits stores very soon. You must be super excited!
Zendaya: I am. I’m freaking out a little bit.
Jon: (Laughs) Aww no. No need to freak out.
Zendaya: It’s a good freak out. I’m just super excited.
Jon: Ok good, just making sure. Was there an overall concept or something you wanted to accomplish making this record?
Zendaya: Of course! When I got into the recording process, I knew exactly what I wanted everything to sound like overall. It’s rhythmic pop, not just regular pop music. I wanted the music to have an urban edge to it with some old school influences thrown into the mix. Something to make it standout and make it sound different from everything you’re used to hearing.
Jon: That’s great to hear and I love that you want to sound different. There’s eleven songs on the record. Do you have any favorites?
Zendaya: I don’t know if I can pick just one, I love all the songs, they all mean a lot to me. “Replay” is one of my big favorites and I’m so happy it got to be the first single. Another favorite is “Fireflies,” it’s my jam on the album that mixes all the right sounds together. There’s also a song called “Heaven Lost An Angel” that has a super cool old school vibe, like something Michael Jackson could have done, which I love. Then there’s “Bottle You Up,” which is one of the more emotional songs on the album. When I recorded it, I got to experiment more with my vocals and have more fun with it. It’s a beautiful and sweet song that gives you that warm and cozy feeling. I love it. There’s a lot that I love.
Jon: That all sounds great. I can’t wait to hear it! I’ve noticed you bring up Michael Jackson a lot as one of your big influences. Other than Michael.. is there anyone else you really look up to?
Zendaya: Yes! I love Beyoncé, I think she is one of the best performers out there. She works her butt off and always delivers with everything that she does. It’s a beautiful thing. I also really love Aaliyah. Stylistically she had her own thing going on and I always loved that. Those two are definitely big influences for me.
Jon: That’s great to hear. Aaliyah has always been one of my favorite artists and I can definitely see how she influences you.
Zendaya: For sure. She’s amazing.
Jon: Agreed! Okay so now lets take it to Twitter. I tweeted earlier that I’d be interviewing you and your fans sent in a whole bunch of questions. So lets do some of those!
Zendaya: Okay! Sounds good.
Jon: First up… Have you already decided what you want your second single to be? Video ideas?
Zendaya: Yes, and I’ve actually been cooking up some ideas on my own. With “Replay,” I was able to come up with the treatment for it and how I wanted everything to look. I think its important for me to be really hands on with everything. So there’s some ideas I have for the next video but we are not there yet. Soon!
Jon: Next fan question.. What was your favorite part of recording the album? How long did you spend working on it?
Zendaya: I spent about a year working on this album and I think my favorite part was discovering who I am as an artist. I took the time to figure myself out and what I like. What I’ve learned is that I’m always trying to raise the bar and get better at what I do so I can continue to grow. I want to be able to do something different that no one has seen before, especially from someone like me. I’m always looking to break the rules but in a good way.
Jon: Yes, and that’s exactly how you should go about it. You’re on the right track!
Zendaya: (Laughs) Thank You!
Jon: Of course. Next question… Will you be doing any album signings?
Zendaya: Yes, I should be. Not totally sure when but the plan is to get out there and do that.
Jon: Perfect. Another fan wants to know.. If you could choose someone to be featured on the album, who would it be?
Zendaya: I would love to get a rap artist on one of my songs. Like maybe Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, or Drake. Anyone of those guys would be amazing.
Jon: Agreed actually! I think your voice would blend great with those guys.
Zendaya: Exactly! I would love it.
Jon: Alright cool.. Well I think that’s enough fan questions for now. I’m super excited for everything that you’re about to do. Can you tell us anything else we can look forward to.
Zendaya: There’s a lot. I have a lot of plans. The album is definitely my #1 priority right now. I’m going to promote it as much as I can. I really want to get that out there so everyone can hear it.
Jon: They will! Well I didn’t want to take up too much of your time but I’m excited about what’s happening and what’s to come. This is just the beginning.
Zendaya: Thank you, I appreciate that so much.
Jon: No problem! Thanks again Zendaya.
Zendaya: Have a good one!
BUY Zendaya’s self-titled debut album on iTunes NOW!