While Amy’s away, there’s plenty of girls with a gut full of soul grabbing the opportunity in the market to make it their own. London born Zarif is one of them, but instead of heartache after heartache, her beats are more chipper and happily designed to bop along to in the summer sun. Signed to Sony Records, she’s currently living the dream on tour with Beyonce and will be hitting the O2 for two shows next week. Does that sound like the most overwhelming gig for a new singer or what?
Hello lovely lady. Who are you and what are you upto?
I am Zarif! I’m a singer songwriter about to put out my first album, and right now I’m in Dublin with my band in the middle of supporting Beyonce on tour.
Amazing! Whereabouts in London are you based when you’re back home? What’s brilliant and what’s totally horrible about it?
I’m based in Archway, and what’s brilliant about it is it has a fun little bar called the Hideaway which feels like someone’s living room. I love living here cos I share a house with 4 friends including some of my band members and we have lots of fun. I wouldn’t say there’s anything totally horrible about it- it’s not the most happening of areas but it’s so near loads of stuff so it’s easy to get anywhere
Is Archway where you grew up?
I’m from Harrow originally so I’ve always been a London gal, but I love that each part of London has a completely different vibe, so where I live now is totally different to where I grew up. I love being closer to the centre, closer to the hustle and bustle.
What London location has been the most significant in your life?
Ooh that’s a hard one! Can I say more than one? I’d say when I was growing up it had to be Camden, where I would come and hang out a lot, and I also used to love scouring the random bric a brac and record shops in Portabello, Honest Jon’s was my favourite. The other places that I have to include are the Jazz Cafe, where I’ve seen some of my all time favourite gigs, and Survival Studios in Acton, the scummiest dirtiest and cheapest rehearsal studios of all time where I spent a LOT of time!!
What do you reckon you sound like?
I would say I do quirky, summery, eclectic soul. Go and listen on myspace!
Give us your most awesome reason for why we should check you out rather than every other new artist out here?
Ok…. in no particular order…. because there’s no one else that does what I do, I mix old sounds with new, I’m eclectic, I write all my own stuff and I LOVE big choruses! And I have a comic strip blog, and I don’t know anyone else that has one
What’s your favourite London venue and why?
Well it would probably have to be the Jazz Cafe, where you can get so up close and involved in what’s going on on stage, and I’ve seen some of my favourite gigs there, like Lewis Taylor and jazz singer Rachelle Ferrell.
Can you think of an unusual London location that would be amazing to do a gig at?
I reckon it would be hilarious to play on Tower Bridge, with me and the band on one side and the audience on the other. Every time the bridge went up we could do a costume change.
1000 pop points on the costume change idea. What about something more scummy? Ever busked?
I only ever busked once and it wasn’t actually supposed to be busking- I was standing on the pavement outside a venue rehearsing with my guitarist before a gig, and some guy chucked us 2 quid. We gave it back!
You’ve been playing the O2 – that’s pretty wow.
It has been crazily extreme! You look out into the audience and it just seems to go on for miles. It’s been very surreal but amazing fun. Top tip for food would have to be Wasabi, where I got some amazing sushi before the first show.
What’s your favourite clubnight in town?
I love YoYo at Notting Hill Arts club, there’s always good bands and a queue round the block, then it turns into a clubnight with wicked DJs and a total fashion parade, love it.
What other new London bands / artists should we be checking out?
My favourite band of the moment is Death Ray Trebuchay, who do crazy balkan rock at top speed, it’s the most fun gig to watch.
And finally what’s your London secret?
A place I love to go and hide away in is a little French pub called Beaujolais in Soho, it’s tiny and always packed, with cute little tables tucked away in the corners and loads of memorabilia stuck on every surface.
Love her? Tickets are still on sale to catch Zarif supporting Beyonce on Monday and Tuesday at the O2. Next single ‘Over’ is out in August.