Candid, powerful, and refreshingly honest, Zay Avenue (Born Willie James Parker) is a breath of fresh air; true poetry to escape a noisy world. The word “escape” embodies much of the meaning behind the artist’s work. Raised amidst the struggles of a difficult upbringing in the streets of Indianapolis, music was “an escape from reality.” While the artist and performer has triumphed through his struggles, his upbringing remains a significant part of who he is as a musician and man. So much so, that the “Avenue” in his stage name “Zay Avenue” is an homage to Drexel Avenue, the street where Zay Avenue was raised. Zay’s love for music, sparked by being the youngest son of old school singers, is deeply rooted in its complexity, it’s ability to unify and give hope through freedom of expression.
Zay Avenue’s most recent single (which released on April 10th), “Pharaoh’s in America,” comes at a perfect time for a hurting world. While news headlines show signs of struggle, politics, racial disparity, and hardships as a country, “Pharaohs in America” is a much-needed glimmer of hope. “It’s mostly about unity,” says the musician, “and it’s about giving a voice to those without one.”
Zay’s music, much like the man himself, is original in more ways than one. The artist stands out from the crowd by writing more than just rap. His music is artwork, each word seeped in metaphor and inspiration.
Looking forward to the future, the artist’s most prominent goal is to spread his message and story far and wide. “The goal is to be heard,” admits Zay Avenue, and while he mostly means that in terms of his music, his real motivation is to truly be heard – to reach people at their core and inspire change.
Listen to Zay Avenue on SoundCloud.