Former Hanze student ZOZY at ESNS

  • News

ZOZY is the stage name of Zola Bikouta Nkaoulou. The 25-year-old former student of the Academy of Popular Culture will be at 'Noord X ESNS' in the Social Hub on Friday at 7.30 pm. Absolutely free of charge!

Photos: Anna Louisa

Who is ZOZY?
'When I first came out with my music, I doubted whether I would do it under my own name. During my graduation, I contemplated using an alter ego, but in the end I thought no, I want to say the things I have written. There's another connection: my brother calls me Zozy. I use that name for a lot of different things I do, now mainly in Dutch. I have just finished a project at Up North which gave me the opportunity to set up and run a production myself last year.'

Will you also be present at ESNS with that performance?
'I created three songs and put together a small, eight-member choir with friends. Not necessarily professionally, but very personal. My brother sings along, my friend from primary school and my best friend Jelle Mulder, also from the Academy of Pop Culture. As a result, everything I sing feels very much supported by people who understand why I sing it. Friday at ESNS we will do the act acoustically in the Social Hub, the former Student Hotel on the Boterdiep. Normally we do it with backing tracks, but now we've given it an acoustic twist.'

How would you describe your music?
‘My music has had many different forms, what I make now I would describe as Dutch indie-electropop. When we do play it with backing tracks, there are thick beats in it so that you get the feeling that you’re in a club. It's a little experimental, but also just pop. It's about the now,  and pop is pop culture, popular contemporary culture.'

What is the performance about?
'It's about a period in my life when I was running away from my problems. I was going out and in the city a lot and then you think you won't encounter what you don't want to encounter. But that's not how it works. You'll fall into an even bigger hole if you try to escape your problems. In that darkness I found space to experience and see other things. I discovered that there is also a certain kind of beauty in fear.  Sometimes you experience things that are so much bigger than your existence that they make you feel insignificant. Insignificant in a comforting way. Sometimes an existential crisis also gives peace, perspective and connection. It's also in my roots, my father is from Congo and they call it 'Nzambi,' all-encompassing energy. I made a song about that. It’s the ultimate closing of the showcase, which we will also do on Friday. Tunnel Vision x Ultrazoom is a journey through the night in which we face our fears and distort them into a new understanding of the world. Dancing, folding inwards, falling out and waking up.'

What do you want to focus on this year?
'I don't have a lot of music online yet. The first thing on my schedule is sharing and release. I'm recording right now and the first release is coming soon. I want to give even more shape to my ideas. As a musician nowadays, you also have to be a marketer and social media expert, which I find very difficult. I'm not a very polished person. I want to discover how I want to present myself in the market. Starting now with my own music, with my own act at ESNS.'

NOORD X ESNS is a collaboration to stimulate the professional development of northern creators and acts in hip-hop and pop culture. Every evening from January 17 to 19, The Social Hub in Groningen will host a number of acts from UpNorth, Hit the North.

More Hanze at ESNS 2024

Students of the Academy of Popular Culture performing during ESNS.

  • Traditional D
  • Esther de Jong
  • Dylamic
  • The Koots
  • Laura Eisenga
  • Redson
  • ZOZY
  • Jelle Mulder
  • Ylvalie
  • SSTO
  • Naduah

Prince Claus Conservatoire

On Friday, January 19, the annual ESNS Songwriting Speed Date Sessions will  take place during Eurosonic Noorderslag. Successful songwriters work with students to write songs in a single day.

Fields of interest

  • Arts and Culture