ZUVA’s debut single, Safe to Say, began as a songwriting exercise and a bit of a joke.
It was only when the Zimbabwean-Australian artist began fleshing it out on Garageband in her uni dorm that she realised she was onto something.
“The idea was to try and mirror that experience of being scared to say the word ‘love’ through the lyrics. I made a list of words I could think of that started with a ‘luh’ sound, and tried to weave them into what became the chorus,” says the singer, songwriter and producer.
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The clever lyrical trick shows a dedication to songwriting that goes far beyond ZUVA’s 19 years of age. The word is on the tip of her tongue, yet it’s almost like she changes her mind halfway through saying it, opting instead for terms like “luck”, “luxury” and “lullabies”.
Tackling the cultural casualness of modern dating, the track blends elements of indie pop and neo soul to take listeners on a delicate journey through the anxieties of feelings for someone for the first time.
The song kicks off with a dainty synthesizer riff before ZUVA’s sugary vocals enter the scene. Vocal harmonies introduce an additional emotional layer, creating an ethereal soundscape that seamlessly blends with the music.
The musical layering in Safe to Say coincides with the multiple emotional layers experienced when falling in love. Ending the track on the same riff that it starts with beautifully brings ZUVA’s story full circle.
“To be honest, I’ve never really understood the whole thing of ‘waiting for the right time’ to say I love you. If you love someone, then it is the right time!” ZUVA explains.
“In that same breath though, I completely get how scary and overwhelming that kind of vulnerability can be. I think the song strikes a good balance between being genuinely relatable and a little bit tongue-in-cheek.”
ZUVA has honed her musical abilities over the years through mentorship, collaboration, experience and YouTube tutorials. With Safe To Say, the young artist is stepping out into the world with confidence and staking her claim as an exciting new talent that we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on.
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This article was made in partnership with ZUVA.