The rise and rise of Zaeden
The Rise and Rise of Zaeden

The popular musician’s recent track 5 AM lives up to the hype.

He’s one of the hottest musicians around; not just for his undeniable good looks but his supersonic voice that saw his debut song ‘Tera Bina’ earn 70 million streams on Spotify, besides amassing a dedicated fanbase of 2.4 million monthly listeners on the mega music platform. But for Zaeden, who started his musical journey at 14, the party really starts now as he celebrates the success of his track ‘5 AM’—one that he calls out as being doubly special, not just for the music but the video in which you'll see the hitmaker exercise his dancing chops. Forget that, in less than a month, he’s already got 1.2 million people grooving to his new track. We talk to the musician on what it means to be at the top of his game. 


Zaeden means 'out of the box thinking' in Latin. Does this philosophy translate into your music and personal style? 
Zaeden: I was 15 when I came up with the name ‘Zaeden’, so I could be wrong about the fact that it means out-of-the-box thinking in Latin. But, talking about whether it translates into my music and personal style, I would say I don't really force the idea of being out-of-the-box or being too unconventional with things. That's not something that I impose on anything. However, I feel that the more connected you are to yourself, that's when you start having those aha moments. I think God has made us in such a unique and special way that when one is truly connected to their thoughts or emotions, they can achieve impossible things. Right now, I'm working on this album and sometimes I feel stuck on some songs. So, I think the real idea is just to connect to your own thoughts and dig deeper into what you wish to achieve through the song and the core emotion you want to touch. I believe that's when the beautiful things start happening, and then it's for the people to judge if that's out of the box or not.

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Many musicians are known for their iconic on-stage looks. Who are some of your style icons, and how have they influenced your fashion journey? 
Z: Whenever fashion and music are discussed, Prince always tops that list for me. I think he effortlessly blended elements and created a style that was uniquely his own. Specifically during the Purple Rain era and throughout his career, I think Prince's fashion sense just kept evolving, and he was always ahead of trends, pushing the boundaries when it comes to fashion. So that's one example and one artist I could think of right now.


You launched your fragrance brand, SOL, in 2023. Tell us about that. 
Z: I've always been obsessed with fragrances. I've never been crazy about cars or sneakers or anything like that. Fragrances have always been my thing, and I really wanted to create different fragrances for myself. Eventually, my manager and dear friend, Aayushman, saw that passion, and we decided to create our own brand with, of course, our partner Amal as well, who is the master perfumer. The concept is really simple. We're just trying to express different stories through fragrances. For me, music and fragrances are very similar. It always takes me back to a memory, and we look forward to collaborating with different artists, people who inspire us, and expressing their stories using fragrances as a medium.

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What are you working on presently? 
Z: So, currently, I'm working on my new album. I'm not going to make the same mistake as last time and give a release date before the project is done, haha. But I've just been experimenting with different sounds, going back to my roots, experimenting with Indian rhythms and elements, and just being free in the entire process without having any agenda or anything specific in mind as such. So, I’m just working on the album, and also with SOL, we're working on our leather series of variants, really excited about that as well. Just working on the final changes on that and trying to hit the right notes with music and fragrances both.


What's Zaeden like outside of music? 
Z: Well, outside of music, I think I'm a very boring person. But I'm always looking for different kinds of mediums to express myself, which could be very competitive sometimes too when it comes to sports. With my recent song, "5 am," I started taking up a lot of dancing lessons, and that's been one particular thing that I found very exciting. Even after the music video, I still continue to take those lessons in order to make myself comfortable in a very uncomfortable environment because for me to come out of my shell and do that was very challenging. But I've seen myself change on a human level once I was able to achieve that. Other than that, I think I'd like to believe that I'm someone who’s there for his friends and family, and I love to spend time with them and just help them out in my little ways, and learn from them as well. So, I think that’s pretty much me outside music.

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Tell us about the process behind ‘5 AM’. 
Z: Some songs just have that magic in them. I think "5 am" for me is definitely one of those songs that I can never get bored of listening to, even 10,000 times. I finally teamed up with Universal again. I made my debut with ‘tere bina’ with the Universal family, and I’m just really happy to work with them again on "5 am." The music video of the song is something that I'm really proud of, of just putting myself out there in a very different environment, picking up a different form of art, and basically mastering the art of pretending to know what I'm doing. I’m proud of how the song has shaped up aesthetically and sonically as well, and now I finally can't wait to test out the song live. I've been waiting to do a bunch of shows before, obviously, I go on my album tour. So I'm really excited to see how the song sounds at these shows and how people react. And hopefully, I hear people sing the song word-to-word with me at the shows.


What's 2024 looking like for you? 
Z: So, 2024 has been quite a year for me already. I'm genuinely happy and proud of the projects I've released, and even just the basics of maintaining my schedule, waking up on time, and eating regularly. Balancing my tour dates with the time dedicated to my album has been incredible. God willing, this album will perform well. That's one major goal I'm eagerly anticipating and actively working towards. So far, I'm enjoying the vibe of 2024. 

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