Independent Artist of the Week: Zhuli

March 6th 2023

  • Zhuli :: Interview with Lill Scott

Zhuli’s new release, ‘Bleach’ is fervent and infectious. Buoyed by bright, electric melodies and synth-based, hyperpop production,  clever and earnest lyrics lean into the intensity of love. She caught up with Lill Scott on Up For It! to delve into their spirited new release, ‘Bleach’, and their musical life of past, present and future. 

Zhuli played piano for most of their early life, but it wasn’t until they missed out on a position as a pianist in the school band that she took to singing.

I wasn’t good enough for piano but I was really extroverted, so I was like, ‘I can sing.’ And I could.”

Over time, Zhuli’s musical expression gathered depth and it became apparent that songwriting was an important tool for self expression,

“I find music really expressive and a good way to help me deal with my emotions and the world around me. I’ve been songwriting since I was 12.”

Always a fan of pop, Zhuli cites Charli XCX, Broods, Kylie Minogue and Abba, and fellow Sydney-based hyperpop artists such as Carla Wehbe as sources of inspiration. It wasn’t until she studied music at university that Zhuli started to explore and experiment with the hyperpop genre. 

“I have always really loved pop. I love the connection it has and how simple it is. I am big into little moments in real life and showing that through music, I have always loved the feeling and hooks of pop.”

Written from the heart, Zhuli’s latest release, ‘Bleach’ is a love song from the perspective of someone blindsided by obsession with a crush. Although the feelings it describes are heavy, the song’s pop production make it catchy and energetic.

“When I fall in love with people, I tend to get quite ‘world-ending’ in my view, which you can psychoanalyse if you like, but that’s where this song came from.”

‘Bleach’ explores the complex and all-consuming feeling of a crush through lyrics such as ‘on my mind you got it rent-free,’ which is a timely reference to a familiar piece of TikTok-vocabulary: ‘you’re living in my head rent-free’ 

The song’s lyrics reflect the high level of vulnerability and openness with which Zhuli writes music, and the result is a song  that is clever and novel yet accessible and full of life,

“The best songs for me, the ones that I connect to are ones that reflect who I am as a person, so I have to write from the heart.”

In this spirit of vulnerability, Zhuli’s advice to emerging artists is to let go of perfection and control.

“Just put your music out there. You never know what opportunities could come your way and you’re not doing to get those opportunities by not showing anyone your music. Release it and then move onto the next one and see what comes. It’s fluid.”

Check out the music video for ‘Bleach’, the unplanned product of some videos taken spontaneously during a photoshoot, which comes out next week. If it is anything like the song, the video is sure to be mesmerising. 

In the meantime, you can stream ‘Bleach’ below or listen back to Zhuli’s full interview with Lil Scott on Up For It! up top.  


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