Meet Zoe Ferguson, a young, up and coming artist who started writing music when she was just fifteen. Amongst dealing with relationship drama, Zoe took to her piano and found solace in transposing her life into relatable, down to earth music. Thanks to SoundCloud, she quickly became a writing sensation around her school in Portland, Oregon, before catching the ears of producers like Kyle Devine and Ramsey Embick. Barely a year later, at sixteen, Zoe hopes to soon release her own professional EP.
We talked with Zoe to learn more about the start of her career – what it’s like to go from a heartbroken freshman to a songstress who can make music anywhere, as long as she has a notebook.
What was the inspiration behind recording your first song?
I have been singing since I was really little, but I was fifteen when I wrote my first song, “48″ about my first ex-boyfriend. I wrote the chorus in my room one day and sang it for a few girls in my band class, who loved it. They suggested I should finish it and put it on SoundCloud, so I did. I didn’t mean for everyone to hear it. It was just supposed to be a little secret “thing” but the next day after I uploaded it, I came to school and everyone was listening to it. My teachers were playing it in my classes and my classmates were singing it to me wherever I went. At first, I was a little embarrassed, but when my song had over 600 plays in two days I got a little excited. I began to write more songs about my experiences and became the “girl who wrote a song about you if you messed with her” or “the girl who sings.”
Where did that take you next?
I started singing my songs at open mics and fell in love with writing music. I taught myself the piano, which started with the four chords I made up for ‘48.’ I use the old, slightly out of tune piano that my family has had for years and my keyboard, which I keep in my room. When something has happened that I want to write a song about, I like to sit in my room all alone and write down how I feel.
What’s your process like when you write?
When an idea or quote pops up in my head I write it down in my phone or I record a tune that comes to me and I start from there. I can write a song pretty much anywhere that has a notebook.
Could you tell us about going into the recording studio?
Recording, in my opinion, is so fun. I usually work with Kyle Devin, who made the track on my song ‘Last Mistake” or Ramsey and Jess Embick.
Kyle is insanely talented with creating tracks and really knows how to work with sound and music. I met him through my mom’s work friend who showed him a video of me singing my song ‘48.’ He asked if I would come in to write a song.
A few weeks later and it was out on iTunes. It was the most exciting thing that has happened to me.
When I went into his home studio for the first time, I loved it. I wrote a song to his track in forty five minutes and we recorded it on the spot. Kyle produced and mixed it and a couple months later I went back into the studio and we finished it. A few weeks later and it was out on iTunes. It was the most exciting thing that has happened to me.
Jess is my mentor. She helps me with connections and helps me get my name out there. Her Dad, Ramsey, is also a producer and he has helped me with a few tracks as well. I met him through my dad because my dad is also a musician. He has an album called “Salvation Road.”
What artists are inspiring you?
The top artists that inspire me are Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift. I love their music because it is always about something that has happened to them or how they feel, which is how I like to write. My favorite song right now is ‘COPYCAT’ by Billie Eilish.
Favorite things to do?
Most of my favorite things to do revolve around music. Music is my way to escape high school and everything else that goes on in my life. I love songs that I can relate to and I try to write songs that people can relate to.
I do what I do because writing music helps me through everything and I want my music to help people who are going through rough times, like I normally am. I want people to relate to the lyrics I write.
Best advice you’ve received?
One piece of advice that I got from one of my freshman year teachers, was right when ‘48’ came out. I walked into his class and after talking about the song for a little bit he said, “He did you wrong? You write your feelings! Don’t let anyone stop you.” I live by that now.
Any advice for someone who wants to start recording music?
Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there or what other people are going to say. You’re only cheating yourself if you don’t do what you want to do just because of what others will think of you.
What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
I hope to come out with an EP and I want people to hear my music. My goal isn’t to become famous; it’s for people to hear what I have to say and for people to enjoy what I come up with.
Their staff is so great and so is their food. They have open mic nights on Sundays and I love to play there.
My other passion rather than music is horseback riding. I love spending my days at the barn with the horses and amazing people.
10 miles north of Portland, Oregon is one of the largest river islands in the U.S. Also well known as a great place for kayaking, bicycling and family farms.
I love all of their clothes. I also love jean jackets!
Natural makeup line with good for you ingredients that’s paraben and phthalate free.
If I had any superpower I would want to be able to read people’s minds. If I knew what other people were thinking, my life would be way easier.
Stay in touch with Zoe on SoundCloud and Instagram.
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