Interview with Binoy Zachariah
(photos via Binoy's instagram)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
Could you please introduce yourself to the world?
"Of course! My name is Binoy and I’m a 24-year-old singer/songwriter based in LA.
I was born and raised in Kenya, and then went to university in London
before moving out to California when I was 21 to pursue music fulltime."
2. What was your first job in the music industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
"I guess you could say my first actual job in the industry was when I worked part time in a studio in London while at university. My job was pretty simple, just playing piano and saxophone in a few different writing and recording sessions. Although it wasn’t the most glamorous or exciting thing in the world, it really did introduce me to studio culture and revealed just how much work goes into making a song behind the scenes. I think that’s really where I got the inspiration to move to LA and learn how to produce, because I realised that I’d have so much more control over my sound if I understood the process from start to finish. As far as what I was doing before that, I had graduated high school and was studying Politics and Economics in university while working internships every summer like most of my friends!"
3. Did you study music before getting into the industry?
"I actually started playing piano when I was around 6-years-old, closely followed by
saxophone and then clarinet. I think that learning classical piano and all the theory that came with it at such a young age has been more useful than I could have ever imagined, because it just means that I understand songwriting and composition from a perspective that I think a lot of producers who might not have the same training do. On the other hand, it also means that I overanalyse every little groove and melody I write, so let’s call my musical upbringing both a blessing and a curse."
4. If you could work with anyone you want,
who would that person be and why?
"Oh wow, that’s a very difficult question. I guess at the top of my list would be Taylor Swift. She really is my biggest inspiration and a huge reason I got into songwriting myself. I think she has a remarkable ability to really connect with listeners through her lyrics, which is what I strive to do with every song I write. I think that just watching her work and being in the room while she writes would be an incredible learning experience, so she really does rest at the top of my list of people to work with. Other than that though, there are a lot of smaller pop artists I love who I think make consistently great music. The names Sabrina Carpenter, Bea Miller, Greyson Chance and Troye Sivan all come to mind when thinking of artists that I would really want to work with."
5. What does a normal day in your life look like?
"I always try to wake up before 8:30, even if I’ve gone to bed late the night before. I usually turn on music almost straight away, make coffee and then go for a run or do some sort of exercise. From there it really depends on what my plans for the day are. There will usually be a bit of time dedicated to reading and responding to emails, some vocal exercises if I’m being good, and almost always at least an hour or two spent at the piano trying to write or at my home studio working on a song’s production."
6. What inspires you the most?
"I like to draw inspiration from my own experiences and thoughts. I usually come up with my best ideas when I’m sitting alone at home just reflecting. Sometimes inspiration hits at very random times though, and I’ve honestly found myself going to the bathroom in the middle of dinner or a movie to record an idea or write down a lyric."
7. If you could, what would be the one piece of advice
you would want to give your younger self?
"Don’t take things too personally. This is something I still struggle with and am trying to work on. I have a tendency to take anything negative very personally, whether it be criticism or even a friend being busy and therefore unable to hang out with me. It’s not a great habit simply because I spend so much time and energy being upset over something that isn’t even worth thinking about. So yes, I’d definitely tell my younger self to start practising being more indifferent towards things that I grew up always taking personally."
8. What is one of the best pieces of advice you got?
Who gave it to you?
"I think a common issue that a lot of people in the entertainment industry face is that we compare ourselves to everyone around us far too often. Whether it be looks, the art we create, how big our following is or how long we’ve been doing this there is so much room for unhealthy comparison that leads to insecurity and self-doubt. One day I was venting to one of my best friends about how I feel like I put in a lot of work it and goes by unnoticed, and she told me that just because I’m not getting recognized for my achievements doesn’t mean I’m not achieving. I think about this a lot, because there’s so much truth in what she said. Moral of the story: We’re on our own paths, and someone else’s success takes nothing away from our own."
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
"Earlier this year I shot a music video for my song ‘Hunger’ that featured a lot of dancing. I had never danced before, so it took lots and lots of practise to get myself ready for the video shoot. I’m really proud of how it turned out and just happy that I pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone to do something that no one was expecting at all."
10. If you could be on any stage anywhere in the world,
where would that be and why?
"I would probably choose a stage here in Los Angeles, probably at a mid-sized venue like
The Wiltern or Hollywood Palladium, simply because this city has been instrumental in my development as a person and artist. I feel such a genuine connection to this place and I think that would translate into a really special performance."
11. Is there anything you can disclose about your new project?
"Well what I can say is that ‘Hunger’ was the lead single for an upcoming project that’s due out later this year. I’ll also say that the rest of the project is pretty different to the lead single, both lyrically and sonically. But that’s really all I’ll say right now!"
12. What is the best part about being a musician?
"I just genuinely love the process of creating music. From writing the song to recording and producing it, there’s something so wonderfully intoxicating about it all. I think Taylor Swift said it best when she said that as musicians who write about our own experiences, we have the unique privilege of being able to turn our lessons into our legacy."
13. In the end, is there anything you’d like to say to the people who support you?
"Thank you. Sincerely, just thank you. There are a lot of people who are pretty trigger happy with hate and criticism, and whenever I make the mistake of reading those negative comments I always find myself looking at the positive ones to gain some perspective and balance. I’m truly committed to always giving it my all in the work I put out, because I think that anyone out there who takes the time to listen to my music deserves 100% of my effort in what I’m creating."
Binoy is a singer & songwriter from LA (born in Kenya). His new song, Hunger, is now out!!! Follow Binoy on instagram: @Binoy_Z :)