Zo! Brings His ManMade Soul Music Back To His Hometown of Detroit This Saturday
The music of the Detroit born and raised multi-instrumentalist/producer Lorenzo Ferguson, known to all us as Zo!, brings back the deep soul music from generations past. Currently residing in Maryland, Zo! has been releasing his own projects for over a decade now and is currently a member of The Foreign Exchange collective started by Phonte Coleman (formerly of the hip-hop group Little Brother) and Dutch hip-hop/soul producer Nicolay. Recently, Zo! released the newest chapter in his vast discography with ManMade, a voyage into depths of real soul music, and he’s coming back to his hometown this Saturday, June 29th at the Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Detroit to present the album live in concert. I asked Zo! about the new album and his feelings about living a life in music.
How would you describe the progression of your projects from the early works to ManMade?
I think there’s a greater quality of musicianship from album to album because of the time that I get to put in on my instruments. Experience has played a huge part in being able to develop a sound that I feel is my own as well as just being able to apply music making in the studio to more of a live experience because I’ve been on the road more often lately and it’s been easier to pick up on what a crowd responds to. To me, live presentation and interaction with your listeners is just as important as your studio release. If you’re able to make the two work hand-in-hand, you have a much better shot at connecting with your people musically.
Why did you name your album ManMade? What’s the principle theme behind it?
ManMade describes the work ethic needed as a completely independent musician/artist. We’re booking our own shows, building relationships with our listeners, making the music, etc. — it is very much blue-collar work and you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty in order to accomplish long-term goals. Even the cover art is a depiction of me walking to work, where “work” is in this dilapidated building that represents our music industry. I’m basically representing the “last of a dying breed” group of artists who has no management, plays 95 percent of the instruments on the album, helps to distribute the music while touring… and I’m walking into this broken down building/industry to shine my light on it as much as I possibly can.