Artist Spotlight: Zee Avi
From island paradise to bushfire, or why the best new music puts all of SXSW to shame.
By Maria Popova
At just 23, Malaysian singer-songwriter Zee Avi isn’t simply formidable up-and-coming musical talent — she’s also a poster child for success via social media. Her story goes a little something like this: After months of recording songs on her webcam and uploading them to YouTube, Avi woke up one morning to find a message from a major talent scout in her inbox. Beds were rolled off of in excitement, contacts were exchanged, and the rest was indie music history.
One thing led to another and, next thing I know, I was on a plane to L.A.
With vocals that are part Ingrid Michaelson, part Billie Holiday, and the lyrical sensibility of Feist, Zee Avi is the antidote to the general mediocrity that spewed from SXSW this year — and positively the best performer we’ve come across in 2009.
Her self-titled debut album drops today, under Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label. So go ahead, get in the know before she goes… gasp… mainstream.
Published May 19, 2009