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WPGM Commentary: Zoë Vera Explores Heartbreak And Shame On ‘Don’t Make It My Fault’

My name is Zoë Vera. I am a 25-year-old singer and songwriter from Auckland, New Zealand. I recently released my debut single “Don’t Make It My Fault“, which is a deeply personal song about a relationship turned sour.

The song, produced in collaboration with Chris Bates, recognised for his own impressive music releases, production and work alongside artists like Edward Liu (aka Edy on the beat) and Samuel Verlinden, presents a uniquely poignant and vulnerable narrative about heartbreak.

I am a Registered Emergency Nurse, returning to the music world after working full-time during the pandemic. Creating music is something I have always wanted to do from a young age, but as it goes, my parents told me to get a backup plan, so I went to university to study nursing.

Being an empath, I have always had this great pull to help people and advocate for inequity. Nursing made sense in achieving those values and aspirations. However, when the pandemic hit, the job didn’t allow for much work-life balance and that made creating music difficult. Ironically, my back up plan of ‘nursing’ became the plan. That’s why getting back to music now is so exciting.

Similarly to nursing, music has the power to heal, empower and strengthen others. I do hope my music achieves that. Prior to my debut single, I had 150,000 streams on previous music releases. I have worked with Wildrun Records, releasing the remix “Strong”, alongside the artist DoubleV in 2019, and released the single “Eastvale” alongside the artist Leander in 2017.

I find music very comforting. It creates a safe place to be cathartic and I believe that to be invaluable. Although I am young, I have experienced a lot of adversity in my life. This and being an Emergency Nurse, has made me very aware of ‘the human condition’ so to speak.

My music is almost always written with much vulnerability, as it is how I process and express feelings, in the same way others write in a journal. My mum often asks why I don’t create happier songs, but I guess you don’t journal when you’re happy and it’s the same with me when I create music.

Born and raised in the Netherlands, until 8 years old, when we made the move to New Zealand, my musical journey started as a young child. From keenly part taking in musicals in Holland, to learning the violin, guitar and piano (not very well, I must add), joining the choir and then finding my voice through vocal training, I found solace in writing songs as a teenager in New Zealand.

I quickly learned of my love for performing on stage, recalling a core memory of ‘there is no greater feeling’. When creating music, I think it is important that all who are involved in helping create the magic, are aware of the situation that sparked the song. In a way, it means that song-writing and production always ends up being a sort of therapy space.

I think in order to create emotionally charged music; you need everyone to be on the same page. You need everyone in some respect, to experience what you experienced. This means that after I have written a song, production can come in and make much more useful and sounder advice and suggestions. “Don’t Make It My Fault” is a song I wrote about a long-term relationship that ended horribly.

The song explores themes of shame, mental health struggles and at its core, heartbreak. My lyricism tends to be, if not always, very personal, honest and direct. I wrote the first drafted lyrics for this song right after my ex-partner and I finally went our separate ways, while on a beach in central America. The song is about my first serious relationship, so I guess you could say, my ‘first love’.

When you’re with someone for a long time, they are your first love and you always imagined you would marry that person, it’s not surprising that it felt like my whole world had combusted when I found out they cheated on me. I was going through a lot already, so finding out they had been unfaithful, spiralled my mental health further into despair.

Through song-writing and production sessions, I came to realise, that our relationship had been slow burning for a while, where we grew further apart, about a year before. Slowly, this person I loved so much, became somebody I ceased to recognise. This was dramatically expedited when their secret became exposed and they had to face the ramifications of their actions.

This debut single was many months in the making. I’ve had moments of feeling insecure, unsure and vulnerable about its release, but mostly, I have felt proud and excited to be sharing something that I hope resonates and comforts others.

I like music to be cinematic and mysterious, yet simple and emotionally charged, to engage the listener in both the lyricism and sound. I want people to be able to insert their own stories and emotions. When I’m sad, music never fails to provide a shoulder to lean on and I hope my song provides just that.

Listen to my debut single “Don’t Make It My Fault” below and stream it everywhere else here. My second single is currently in the works and will be released later this year!

Word by Zoë Vera // Follow her on Instagram + TikTok

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