A few months later, and the L.A-based singer-songwriter is back with a brand new offering that serves as his very first collaboration: “Better Off” featuring Atrel, a song Zee says he initially wrote to pitch to other artists, but ultimately decided to keep for himself.
“We had been sitting on the song for almost a year and our friend and co-writer Dean Woodson would occasionally pitch it, but duets can be kind of hard to get placements with artists. Every time I listened to it, I fell in love with it more and it kind of made me feel like a superstar. It got to the point where I had listened to it so many times that it felt like a part of me and I couldn’t just let it sit there and collect dust so I was just like… fuck it, I want it,” Zee told Jon Ali in a statement. “The vocal chemistry with Atrel makes me queef and the production felt absolutely magical. We had to get this out there. I had never had so many people involved in a song released under my name but I wouldn’t have wanted it to have been any other song or any other group of people.”
The song is a buoyant slice of synth-pop filled with major earworm melodies. “Whenever you’re with somebody else, somebody else/ I can finally feel like myself, feel like myself/ Don’t talk but I can already tell, already tell/ We’re better off with somebody else, somebody else…,” Zee and Atrel assure along the ear-worm of a chorus.
One hit of that chorus and it’s pretty easy to understand why these two decided to keep this one for themselves. Their voices effortlessly blend together throughout, making this a no-brainer of a match.
“‘Better Off‘ was the first song I co-wrote just a few months after I moved to L.A. two years ago and the second song I ever co-wrote (and finished). Atrel and I had been friends since college back in Boston but we had never actually worked or written together. Our original vision was to try to write something with the energy of a Rihanna-Drake collaboration where we each sang a verse and were thinking we could maybe pitch to other artists, but had no expectations other than to create something we were happy with,” Zee continued in his statement. “Over the course of a few sessions it turned into a bittersweet bop about amicable separation over just a piano and a kick drum, but we didn’t know where to take the production next. Our friend and my go-to producer Moises Zulaica took our top line and… honestly, I don’t know what the hell kinda musical witchcraft he summoned to transform it the way he did, but he brought our humble little bop to life and turned it into something that was both ethereal yet aggressively danceable and full of joyous energy. I can’t wait for y’all to dance and cry and sing along.”
Zee is proving himself to be quite the pop-making machine. Is there no end to this? Let’s hope not!