Mentors: Welcome to the Magazine! ‘So Fine’ is such a great single, congratulations. But before we get to the song, let’s have you introduce yourself!
Zaeny: Thank you deeply. My artist name is ZAENY, but my real name is Zain Malik and I was born on June 22nd, 1998, which makes me 22 years old. I was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Growing up I’ve always wanted to sing and play the guitar. When I was 10, my dad bought me my first guitar. But it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I learned to play the guitar properly and joined a band. I attended High School at Stephen Lewis Secondary School which was a 5 minute walk from where I live. We played lots of shows and had a lot of fun together while I was a part of the band. During these days, I picked up singing and began recording vocal covers. I ended up leaving the band 4 years later to go to University. In 2016, I attended the Interactive Multimedia and Design program at Carleton University in Ottawa; which is the capital of Canada. I still continued to make vocal covers and sing in my time at university but I always dreamed of writing my own song and releasing. After years of thinking about releasing my own music, and after years of thinking that it’s too late to become an artist—that I’ve given up on a dream, here I am. 2022 mark’s the year I release my very first song, and this is just the start of it. I have so much that I want to express through my music.
Mentors: What made you get into music?
Zaeny: I used to listen to a lot of Linkin Park as a kid and I just thought they were so cool. It was because of them that I begged my dad to buy me a guitar. I actually didn’t play the guitar for years because I thought it was very hard. In my junior year of high school, my friend asked if I wanted to join his band, to which I said yes. It wasn’t until that point in my life, that I was super serious about music and very motivated. He personally taught me how to play the drums, bass, and the guitar. He inspired me in many ways to pursue music.
Mentors: What kind of artist do you classify yourself to be?
Zaeny: I would classify myself as a singer/songwriter.
Mentors: If you could tour with any 2 artist in the world, who would it be and why?
Zaeny: Alessia Cara and Alec Benjamin. Alessia Cara has always been a huge inspiration to be. She lives 15 minutes from me, grew up in the same type of neighborhood as me, and started off with covers as well. Alec Benjamin because I love his music and feel like we would really click as friends. Both Alessia Cara and Alec Benjamin’s styles are so creative and fun.
Mentors: ‘So Fine’ is really taking the eyes of Tik Tok, what are your thoughts about you becoming a Tik Tok sensation?
Zaeny: It honestly feels surreal sometimes. I always knew I would become big one day but watching the process and watching my audience increase is an amazing feeling. This is still barely the beginning.
Mentors: If you could change one thing in your song, what would it be?
Zaeny: I feel like there’s always some things you would change about a song or a part where you think to yourself “oh, I could have done this better”. But there has to be that point where you’re like, okay this song is done and is good. I don’t think I would change anything about the song, I’m happy with how it turned out.
Mentors: Good answer, we feel the exact same way. In the song you say “I Got You On My Mind, Everytime I’m with you I feel fine” – is there someone you’re trying to express this song to or are you just expressing emotions generally?
Zaeny: There is a special someone I met a couple weeks after I wrote the song about a year ago. It was so weird, I feel like I manifested her through this song because everything I say in the song happens with her. Now everytime I listen to my song, all I think about is her, and that is what I want others to feel as well.
Mentors: What can we see ZAENY doing for the rest of 2022? Merch, tour, albums? What should fans expect next?
Zaeny: First off, I’m planning on making a lyric video for my single “So Fine” which I released on February 1st. I am also in the midst of producing a few songs (singles), hopefully releasing the next one in the next couple months, so everyone should stay tuned for that. I’m going to come out with a new music video for the next song too, along with a lyric video. I want to grow and interact with my audience as much as possible so I’ll be thinking of ways to do that, such as live streaming. The final project I have in store for 2022 is starting to design my own clothing/merch. It’s been another passion of mine and I hope to promote my music through it as well. It’s definitely going to be one of the busiest years I’ll have so far.
Mentors: Yes! We’re excited to hear that and wish you the best on your journey through 2022! So tell us. You did some covers with Adil C prior to releasing ‘So Fine’. Could you explain to us how you and Adil C work together in the studio?
Zaeny: Adil C and I actually hang out quite often. One day I went into the studio with him, and we heard Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes had just released “Monster” the night before. We both knew that this would be a great opportunity for us to showcase our voices. So, Adil called me back over to his studio and asked if I wanted to collaborate on covering the song. I said yes. I was super down for that. For the next 8-9 hours we worked on the cover, from the instrumentals to the vocals to mixing and mastering. It became a pretty big cover the first day we released it. Since we had so much fun covering ‘Monster’, a couple weeks later we did another one for Shawn Mendes’ “Look Up At The Stars”.
Mentors: Amazing. What a great beginning to your musical story. What’s it like going from cover songs to releasing your own official songs?
Zaeny: It feels amazing. I’ve always thought to myself “Man, I want to stop making so many covers and start making my own songs”. Now that I’ve actually made my first song, I am so motivated to continue making more songs and content. I’m beyond excited to show everyone what’s coming next.
Mentors: What is something you want the world to know?
Zaeny: Don’t compare yourself to others. Keep your spirits high, and stay positive. The power of positivity is so immense. Always be kind to others because you never know what they could be going through. Things may seem hard, but it does get easier. Lastly, do what makes you happy and follow your dreams. Don’t doubt yourself because you never know where it could take you.
We’re so stoked to have him here with us today! There’s definitely something special about Zaeny. Be sure to stay connected with him!