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ZTILO Continues to Surge

Melodies are everything in a ZTILO record; they’re the bread and butter of his songcraft, and essentially one of the most important elements of any performance he gives. It all starts with his voice – from the supple “I Got You” to “Better Than Me,” ZTILO’s music has always been designed to center on his golden pipes, and while I haven’t heard a shred of his new EP No Hard Feelings this fall, I can say as a longtime listener that the hype around its release feels justified. There’s a lot of crossover R&B coming into the top tier of the charts right now, and this is one player who feels poised to make a leap to the next level. 

The buzz around melodic trap in the past couple of years has been insane, but when you look at the movement’s influence over the hook structure in everything from the Latin “Peligrosa” to “Manera” and “Missing You,” it makes sense why players like ZTILO are utilizing it in the manner they are right now. If No Hard Feelings contains any sort of aesthetical experimentation, one has to hope that it continues to borrow from the same model he’s been creating an entire persona around for years now. 


I’d love to hear some more slow jams on this upcoming extended play, as I’ve felt like ZTILO hasn’t gone as far with balladic musicianship in his previous cuts as he could have. There’s a sensitive element to his sound that we can’t escape, no matter the tempo or the tonal setting we’re finding him in, and if it were brought within a context where the romantic undertow in his style could grow and evolve before our very ears, I think it could bring him more mainstream love than anyone would have prepared him for. 

ZTILO is someone who always cares about the mechanics of his music, and if this weren’t the case, I don’t think his smash hit “I Got You” would be as fluid yet sophisticated in presentation and construction as it undeniably is. Whether it’s a bassline or a stutter-step percussive pulse, he’s on top of the intricacies in his sound, which is a lot more than I can say for the majority of his contemporaries both in and outside of the American underground at the moment. From velvet-soft vocals to virtuosic concepts, his is a skillset you just can’t sleep on. 

I’m very excited to hear the tracklist of No Hard Feelings in the future, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from the present discography of ZTILO, it’s that we should expect nothing but real emotion, vulnerability and undisputed passion in everything he sticks his name on. No Hard Feelings is getting an awful lot of attention for a record that hasn’t been leaked in any way, shape or form to the public yet, but as is the case with indie content of this caliber, watersheds tend to come in the quiet rather than the noise, and that’s what I think ZTILO is sitting on here. 

Mindy McCall



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