Zak Abel is one of the new to you artists explored in the most recent British Soul review from 2016, featured on Durham Cool. So many new artists on the London scene deserve our attention, especially the standouts like Zak. Why Zak? One might easily dismiss Mr. Abel on his cute-boy good looks. Resembles the love child of Vic Damone, Elvis Pressley, Dean Martin, and Miles Teller, eh? Yet, if you listen to his beautifully rich crooner tone and watch his performance instincts, confidence and style he is a genuine sensation. Is he the next Van Morrison? Hell no. Get real.
Zak Abel is definitely one to watch and easy to listen to. While researching and writing recent articles on British Soul my ear kept going back to Zak. Now that I have almost listened to his entire discography my initial instinct has been confirmed, the kid has something undeniably good to offer us. I trust you agree and may one day thank Uncle Pablo for leading you to Zak before he made it to Spotify.
I think he warrants a download at the very minimum. This child has considerable chops.
Zak Abel is a British singer/songwriter who rose to fame after supplying guest vocals on Gorgon City’s U.K. Top 20 hit Unmissable. Born in March 1995, Abel had originally set his sights on becoming a table tennis champion — he had already won the Cadet Boys’ singles title in 2009 — but after moving to France to go semi-pro, he realized that the repetitive nature of training wasn’t for him. Abel already had a love for music and had been writing and playing piano from a young age; he decided to upload videos of himself performing, and in 2012 he signed a deal with Atlantic. After singing on Gorgon City’s 2014 single Unmissable, he teamed up with Bristol-based producer Joker to deliver his first full EP, Joker Presents, a year later. Abel followed the release with the EPs Don’t Belong and One Hand on the Future. Blending soulful vocals with R&B and pop, Abel returned in 2016 with the singles “Everybody Needs Love” and “Unstable,” while also spending the year recording his debut album. The resulting Only When We’re Naked appeared in July 2017. Abel’s next single, “Love Song,” appeared in early 2018. ~ Rich Wilson
Careful readers will notice a video at the bottom of this post featuring another up and coming standout by the name of Isaac Waddington. This one has the bette noire, lyricism to either be the sound track star of your favorite evening soap dramedy or someone truly above and beyond.
Remember you heard them first on Durham Cool. What does Durham have that raises it above and beyond the competition? You and of course, Durham Cool!
- Zak is a Self-Taught Pianist and Guitarist
Zak told Vice that the instruments were “just lying around the house.” It took practice, but once he began to figure it out he didn’t stop. “Stuff sounds good, stuff sounds bad,” said Zak. Zak taught himself passed “good” and soon entered incredible. Take a look at him playing the acoustic version of his hit “Unstable.”
- He’s a Huge Michael Jackson Fan
Zak’s first and biggest icon in music is Michael Jackson. In an interview with Gay Time, Zak brought up Michael Jackson to answer several questions, such as the first album he ever owned which was Jackson’s “Off The Wall.” When asked which artist who is no longer living he would collaborate with if he could, he called the question a “no brainer,” and chose Michael Jackson.
- He Almost Went Pro for Table-Tennis
Zak was number one in the country for table tennis players in his age group! He was close to going pro when he realized he wanted to pursue music. Abel jokes that the best part of his body is his “table-tennis muscle.”
- Zak Wants People To Relate To His Music
Zak said it would be amazing if people all around the world could feel connected to his next album. Zak also tweeted on February 20th: “Currently writing a song about mental health and how important it is [to] speak openly about the emotions/difficulties/vulnerabilities that we all face along the way. Especially as a man.” He really wants people to feel something from the songs that he writes, and knowing that makes us love him even more!
- Zak’s Sound
Zak describes his sound as “soul, funk, pop, R&B,” so…pretty much everything we love. He said his last album was more Afro-Caribbean influence, but the next one will be a bit more soulful. Zak has been writing songs since he was 14, so no matter what sound he chooses to bring out, we trust that it will sound great.
Now that you’re officially a Zak Abel expert you can show off your knowledge to all your friends- who probably have no idea this pop artist was almost a professional table tennis player!
If you have not yet heard Abel’s new track “Love Song,” make sure to give it a listen here on Spotify.
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