18-year-old singer-songwriter Zola releases her new single “Not Like Other Girls” today, March 12. Building her fanbase in the New England area, the young artist blends indie, pop, and R&B. Zola integrates her raw and honest lyrics within her work also.
Zola’s music is oriented around her vulnerability. The way in which she can unapologetically be herself is what resonates with many fans. Although, at such a young age, Zola has had to face hardships within the music industry. Zola shares with NYS Music:
I think, especially being a woman in the industry, there’s a completely different set of expectations placed on us than on our male counterparts. Women in music constantly have to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant and, in general, face way more judgment on whether or not we’re ‘basic.’ If you’re basic, that has a sort of negative connotation, but if you’re ‘alternative’ you’re trying too hard. It’s an impossible battle to win.Zola
This “frustration and relationship between judgment and identity” had a major influence on how she wrote the new song. Being a young woman in this industry places a microscope on one’s work. Zola takes this scrutiny, though with an enlightening and mature perspective. She aims to fit no one’s narrative but rather create her own.
Calling Out Misogyny
“Not Like Other Girls” sets a haunting tone with penetrating piano keys, moody guitar chords, and a synthesizer. Layered over this is Zola’s riveting vocals that effortlessly glide with the beat. When constructing this single, Zola shared that she first began with the lyrics and then built the additional instrumental sounds around that. As this single is very personal to Zola, she wanted the song’s tone to be reflective of the meaning.
The song deals with “finding the courage to stand up for one’s self.” This phrase ‘not like other girls’ is inherently misogynistic because it instinctively devalues other girls. Zola purposefully utilizes this phrase in order to bring attention to this popularized but damaging mindset.
The ‘Not Like Other Girls’ trope is very interesting and complicated, and there is definitely a growing discussion about how the whole concept is rooted in misogyny. The whole thing started out as women trying to remove themselves from femininity, in order to set themselves apart and prove superior to other women. Oftentimes it’s even just a ploy for male attention. I think in order to break down this harmful trope and mindset we need to educate people on what it actually means, and have conversations with other women about it. Being into popular things isn’t bad, and being into unpopular things doesn’t make you better. Everyone should be able to like what they like, but if I see a girl with a superiority complex, I’m not going to think twice about calling her out.Zola
Breaking Down Barriers and Building Connections
Zola values the importance of her individuality and has expressed that freely in her work. Being personal with her fans has built a relatability that is hard to find. Her new single is one of many that encapsulates her artistry and vulnerability.
I’m just a very vulnerable person, so my music and what I write directly represents who I am. I’m driven by everything; life experiences, relationships, hardships. Life’s too short to not be vulnerable, because what’s the point if you don’t let yourself feel, isn’t that what music is all about? I like to think so.Zola
Check out “Not Like Other Girls” out now on major platforms.