I first met Zoë Fromer when she performed with her quartet at the Miami Flea in 2016. Then, I took a photo of her and her band, much like I do now, documenting the style of individuals I come across while out and about. I thought the music was fresh as was as the band’s style.
Fast forward six years and I’m in Bushwick and I spot Fromer again. I don’t recognize her, but photograph her anyway. A few weeks later I get the film developed, post it online, tag her and noticed the name looked familiar. Later that day, I connected the dots and realized we’d met five years prior.
I photographed her for a third time and realized that this was a person on a mission. She had a lot to say with her music, which she was using to reflect on her time now living in Bushwick. She played me a few tracks off her upcoming debut EP, which she’s self-releasing, and, I have to say, it feels like Sky Ferreira or The Kills’ Alison Mosshart – it’s dreamy, it’s sexy, it’s dark. “You’ll want to cry and dance at the same time,” Fromer tells me.
So, what about Bushwick inspires you?
Finding my queer creative community here has been an absolute game-changer. I always knew I was pansexual, but being surrounded by a kind, loving queer creative community here has helped me to become a fuller version of myself, a feeling I reflect in my songs “Can’t Run Away” and “Permission.”
Has the dating scene in Bushwick impacted your work?
Most of the songs on my upcoming album were forged in the anger of a breakup. The songs trace the cycle of healing, oscillating between blame, acceptance, rage, and calm. Actively dating, on the other hand, has influenced my work in subtle ways, maybe not entirely consciously.
My songs take on more meaning as I live with them – they tend to be a bit premonitory. I’ll write something that comes to me in a flash that may have a vague or unclear meaning only to have a “eureka” moment about it months later. My song “Part Time Lover” was originally written about someone I fantasized over, for ages, but has evolved to be about self-empowerment and how hookup culture hasn’t really left me with anything but notches on my belt. No value judgement here – be a slut, do whatever you want, stay safe, have fun – this is just my experience.
So who are you working with?
My dear friend and producer John Young. We met when I was on a trip here in 2016. He came to my show at Rockwood, he dug my voice, so I provided background vocals for a few of his projects, but bringing songs to life with him has gotten us close. As a trained jazz musician, working in a studio setting instead of with a band was a new experience and challenged a lot of my preconceived notions about writing, patience, and trust – especially since he’s one of the first people I’ve shown my songs to.
What makes this project special?
This is my first project of original music I’m releasing into the world, at a time when I feel like I’m finally “becoming” the person I “am.” Read: “a badass bitch.” All of the songs were written and recorded in Bushwick [too].
Any fave spots you go to here to get inspired?
You didn’t hear it from me – but I’m pretty sure the quickest way to meet god is to have the birria tacos from Nene’s. I [also] love to run and do pilates at Maria Hernandez Park – the people watching in the spring and summer is voyeuristically inspiring. There are families and couples everywhere. What are their stories? Did they get the dog to save the relationship? Who’s gonna win volleyball? I’ve ran into quite a few characters while reading books in the grass.
What’s next for Zoe?
The work never ends. First, visuals and graphics for this. Next, another round of demos to draw from for my next project. This is all part of my plot for world domination.
When does the project drop?
We’re finishing up mixing and mastering and I’m working on music videos. I’m going to have a few music video release parties around the city before the EP release show in the late summer or early fall. Stay tuned to my website and instagram.
All photos by Corey Jermaine for Bushwick Daily.
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