Newcomer Rapper, BIG ZO, Talks about Breaking Into The Music Biz, Starting His Own Label and More!
Posted On 30 Jun 2017
Big ZO enters the music scene at very unique time in his life. Recently being involved in a high profile discrimination case in Lexington, KY, Big ZO was left on the outside of loop of the management ranks at his former job.
Being the owner of Fyre Entertainment LLC, Big ZO decided he would take his frustrations and pain out on his microphone. Releasing his first video and single on iTunes on his 36th birthday, he became the University of Louisville’s first minority graduate of their Music Industry program. Years being behind the scenes has lead this artist into having a unique perspective on the way he approaches music.
Big Zo’s audio single ‘Let This Go‘ came out this week and is available for free download for the next month via: https://soundcloud.com/thebig-zo/let-this-go-zo
Big ZO Online
Learn more about Big Zo in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you today?
I’m in my music studio… Fyre Entertainment LLC…
Is there music playing in the background?
Yes, I’m recording with a client by the name of Young Foxx… We were actually listening to a track we did called “Can Get It.” It’s actually a diss record to Tee Grizzley for claiming he was the King of Lexington. It has about 25,000 views on YouTube.
How is 2017 treating you so far?
It’s treating me extremely well. It’s amazing how things can seem so dark and then you just hit a point and the light is on you.
Did you approach the start of this year any differently then you did last year?
Of course I did. I mean, last year I was working a 9am to 5pm and had the security of knowing that every Friday my salary pay was going to be there. Now, I’m making it happen for myself. It actually feels good to say that I’m doing that. But boy…was I nervous. I had a good job. I wasn’t expecting to have to exit stage left. But I wasn’t going to lie when those folks put me on the stand. Lying is like the worst thing you can do in my family. My mother kept a bible verse over our beds stating “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” So those folks had me twisted thinking I was about to lie.
What have been some of the highlights for you this year?
No doubt my video “Simple?” approaching 10K views on Youtube and 70K on Facebook.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician?
I was an actor first and foremost but I did start rapping in elementary school. In one of my old yearbooks this kid wrote “you are a good raper”. Now, obviously I wasn’t committing hard core crime as a 1st grader but they meant I was a good rapper. LOL.
Can you recall your first musical memory?
I can recall the first hip hop group I heard and it was the FAT BOYS. OMG! I was hooked. Rap was like crack to me after that. I mean…I had to have it.
Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
I mean, I was good at my job in the corporate world. I’m a jack of all trades. But it does feel good to say that I do music for a living.
Where does your artist name come from?
My government name is Alonzo so everyone calls me ZO. If you met me in person, I am not to tall but I’m stocky. I have that good old country strength.You know Farmville, VA and Georgetown, KY strength put together. So my arms and chest are BIG. Hence, BIG ZO.
How do you think that you as an artist and your music has been influenced by being from Kentucky?
Lexington, KY is a unique place. It’s not a big city but it’s not country like most folks may think. A lot of out of town folk are moving to Lexington from everywhere. Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, etc, folks recording in my studio. So Lexington, KY has a broad sound when it comes to rap. There’s a lot of exchange of word play here. However, I feel pressure to be extremely unique because I am the owner of the flagship hip hop studio in town. So you know I have to bring it.
Can you talk about how you came to be the owner of Fyre Entertainment LLC?
I knew I wanted to have a studio when I was cast in a TV show in the state of VA called “Class Action”. I was cast and I got paid to write a “Say No to Drugs” rap. I say that and I just hit a blunt. lol. Anyway, when I was brought in to record the song and experienced a professional studio for the first time I couldn’t believe that people actually got paid to do that. Then I was really sold on when they told me how much they made.
How has it grown this year?
I’m just going to say that I am blessed. I was I nervous wreck leaving my security blanket of a 14 year career in corporate America. I had a salary and benefits for me and my daughter. I am a single dad…I needed that. But God is making a way for me. My studio is more successful than it has ever been. My booth stays with someone spitting a verse in it. Funny thing is, I’m answering these questions with an artist in the booth.
What was it like releasing your first video and first single on your 36th birthday?
It is pretty weird but cool at the same time. Like, who starts their career on their 36th birthday? Titty Boi? But for my daughter…I will do anything. I do music for a living now. So I am going to approach this game at all angles. I even DJ at weddings. LOL…Seriously…I do.
What was the inspiration for your 8-part video album project called “My Life Is A Movie”?
Once again, all I have left is music. I was forced out of the rest. Imagine being a black man on a courtroom stand and being asked if he thought the company he worked for was wrong for hanging an effigy by the neck with rope. I took that job because I made a promise to my daughter that I would always provide for her. I raise my kid on my own. It is all or nothing for me. Right now, my life is a movie. I pray that this work I am putting in pans out. But I will be damned if I don’t try.
How are the two parts, “Simple” and “Let This Go” different and similar from each other?
“Simple?” is the introduction. It catches you up to who I am and gives you some insight to my life. Now of course some parts are embellished for entertainment purposes. I had a guy on the internet really think that that was really my life. LOL. That was kind of weird. Anyway, “Let This Go” picks right up where “Simple?” left off and continues to show my life spiraling out of control.
What artists have continued to inspire you and your music?
Mystikal, DMX, James Brown, and Cee-Lo. I also like Kendrick Lamar, Logic, Big Sean, Nipsey Hussle and J. Cole.
Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Missy Elliott. She is super creative and I love that. I am entertained by her.
What advice would you give to a young person who is considering getting into this music career path?
The sooner you start doing things the right way the better. I see a lot of cats coming into the studio rocking on free Youtube beats etc. They are limited on the platforms they can present their music. Why create with restraint? You can buy beats off of Youtube…that is different. But a lot of artists want to take the cheap way out. Put in overtime at your job or get another one and make things happen for yourself.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope I open eyes so people can see that you don’t have to talk about drugs, sex, and violence all the time to be creative. You don’t have to be gangster to be cool. Basically an artist should paint on their canvas in their own creative way. What do you hope is the message of your songs? At the end of the day I want people to see the positive I bring to the table. I may embrace some very edgy or negative subjects at times because I’m not some super ‘save-the-world’ good guy. But just because I may “roll up” my white owls doesn’t make me some type of thug. I’m just a regular guy out here trying to make it in this crazy world we live in.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
This movie will take you on a ride. Part 3 “Worry about YoSelf” will be out next month. I need everyone to type in BIG ZO on Youtube and subscribe. Don’t catch onto this heat I am putting out all late. LOL. Let me stop and be humble. But I am doing something unique and I hope you take some time to rock with what I’m bringing to the game. Me and my little girl would appreciate if you did rock with us. She plays a role in my movie as well. 1 time for the single dads out there. Salute to you all. Salute to all the single parents period. I know your struggle and pain. Keep your head up and stay focused. My daughter did make straight As this semester so I am a proud dad.
Now totally off topic…Isn’t it cool that I held Steph and Seth Curry when they were kids? Cool huh?