Zo! Interview on NewsObserver.com (July 22, 2013)

Indie-R&B musician Zo! to return to Triangle

Even though he lives in Silver Springs, Md., Lorenzo Ferguson never stays away from the Triangle for very long.

The Detroit-born, indie-R&B musician and producer certainly didn’t stay away when he was composing his latest album, “ManMade,” which he will be playing (with Raleigh experimental jazz trio The Hot at Nights backing him up) at Casbah in Durham on Thursday night. While Zo! – that’s his performing name – worked on music for the album, he usually hollered at friend and collaborator Phonte Coleman in Raleigh about lyrics and about which vocalists would be perfect for which songs. Of course, the acclaimed rapper/singer provides vocals of his own on the album, doing lead and/or background vocals on many tracks, as well as the odd rap verse.

“He (Coleman) had a huge hand in ‘ManMade,’ ” Ferguson, 34, said on the phone from Silver Springs.

For nearly a decade, Ferguson and Coleman have had a continually fruitful working relationship. It started when they worked on an EP of ’80s covers, “Zo! and Tigallo Love the ’80s.” Ferguson also did production on “Leave It All Behind,” the second album from the Foreign Exchange, the R&B group Coleman fronts with producer Nicolay Rook. Ferguson would also go on the road with the Exchange whenever they toured.

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