I HAVE TO GIVE MOST OF THE CREDIT OF BECOMING AND BEING THE MUSICIAN/ARTIST I AM TODAY TO MY FATHER
ZACHARY WATKINS / AZP
Zachary Watkins Lincoln, NE.
AZP throws you through a range of emotions, inspiring you in your core and possessing you on the dance floor. They also just signed their first record deal with The Record Machine. Catch them performing at the 2017 Lincoln Calling music festival.
Beside my Dad’s eclectic record collection, music was first presented to me in church. Memories of those initial unexplainable feelings and sensations from melodic tone and lyrical poetry hit me hard since the age of 9. I remember having to go to the church building with my dad as he conducted the choir for rehearsals on Thursday nights. At the time I was “too young to play in the church band”, but the drummer at the time noticed my passionate stares as I sat in the pews every Thursday evening, and gave me the opportunity to play some percussion along with him, as well as sit in on the trap on a few songs. Say what you wish about the church, but there’s nothing more moving as a musician than to see your music moving the listener through a fury of emotions. That’s when I realized I wanted to live life playing and writing music. Not the “money”, not the hype, but that beautiful natural connection between the artist and the musicophile.
I have to give most of the credit of becoming and being the musician/artist I am today to my father. Since I was a kid, the moment he noticed I took a strong interest in music he provided me with all the tools I needed to not only play but to write and create music. From piano lessons, performing in church, and my first professional production keyboard, to helping me get into Berklee College of Music. Berklee changed my life. Most all of us musicians have odd thoughts of those past times when being the “artsty-music person” made you an outsider, a weirdo in ways. Berklee was one of my first instances where I fully fit in with my peers. Where I noticed it was “cool” to be a musician, an artistic thinker. Berklee is where I took full recognition of my style and sound as a musician, accepted it, planted the seed, and watched it grow into what it is today.
That curated sound, style, and vibe is what created AZP. From starting in the church as a gospel performer, to my junior high and high school years being infused into hip-hop culture, to studying jazz percussion at Berklee College of Music, to loving the true grit and realness of classic soul and rock my dad introduced me to, all those musical life moments are infused into the writing and artistry of AZP. We sing songs of non-fictional life situations and experiences, as well as speak on social, cultural, and political issues. We are still fighting our fathers and grandfathers battles, all the while, working to become better men for our future children. Song writing, both instrumentally and lyrically, has allowed me to un-bottle some deep fears, issues, and doubts that I was too afraid to talk about outside of songs. Without being able to express myself through the art of music, I honestly don’t know where I’d be.
FAVORITE RECORD STORE
Wax Trax Records – Denver, CO
Love Garden Sounds – Lawrence, KS
Homers – Omaha, NE
FAVORITE CONCERT VENUE
Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
Empire Control Room – Austin, TX
Zoo Bar – Lincoln, NE
Waiting Room – Omaha, NE