Interview: Ezi Is Done With Manipulators Who “Play God” 

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EZI, the thrilling LGBTQ+ artist and songwriter, has carved out a niche in the music scene with her emotive melodies and introspective lyrics touching on themes of mental health and self-identity. Originating from the vibrant energy of Long Island, New York, Esther Zyskind initially made her mark in the entertainment world through acting, notably in the Nickelodeon series “The Other Kingdom.” A chance encounter with fashion icon Steve Madden at his flagship store in Manhattan led to a pivotal moment in her career, as she transitioned from the silver screen to the music industry under the moniker EZI.

With her debut EP “AFRAID OF THE DARK,” EZI proved her prowess as a musical force to be reckoned with, amassing an impressive 25 million streams without the traditional support of mainstream platforms. The year 2022 saw EZI‘s cover of “Take My Breath Away” skyrocket to viral fame, dominating Instagram reels in the US and making waves on the viral charts in Brazil. Looking ahead to 2024, EZI is set to release her highly anticipated debut album “Into Your Power, Into The Light,” a project that symbolizes a new era of artistic independence and creative exploration. The sultry allure of her single ‘She’s Back’ serves as a tantalizing glimpse into the sonic landscape that EZI is poised to unveil, promising listeners a captivating journey of self-discovery and empowerment through her music.

EZI’s newest release is the ominously-titled “Play God”, which reflects on a past relationship where control was likened to a sinister form of puppetry, where the controlling partner ‘gets off’ on the power that they wield. The song delves into the fear-driven desire for control, portraying vulnerability in its absence. It explores individuals’ struggles to maintain power over their lives and the subsequent journey towards authenticity post-ego dissolution.


What inspired you to create “Play God” and how does it fit into the themes of power and control in your upcoming album?

The inspiration for this song came very unexpectedly. Long story short I was dating someone who had a pretty unhealthy relationship with control. I found myself seeing them kind of act as a puppeteer in the rooms they were in. The night before I wrote Play God I went to an event with them and then to a party with my friends later that evening. That night specifically I remember viscerally feeling how even though it was fun the energy just felt pretty off and dark. 

I was watching people flex with drugs and sex and money and control. It was a power trip and just remember having the thought that they were doing all of that not because they genuinely enjoyed it but more so to escape their own mortality. And that got me thinking about my own relationship to control and power. I think power and control can be vices we use to escape our mortality and accepting what we cannot control and lack of power is embracing our humanity. Play God is the song that really sets the tone for exploring those themes in the first half of the album. 

How has being an independent LGBTQ+ artist shaped your songwriting? Does it play a key role or is it something more incidental, where it only really comes up when it’s relevant for the song you’re writing?

Most of my music is about the relationship I have with myself. I’m always writing about where I’m at and coming from that place. My queerness is such a major part of my identity so naturally, it infuses itself into my music and storytelling. It’s never something that I preemptively plan to do but more so a theme that comes up naturally. 

Do you feel as though the feelings and themes that went into creating  “Play God” have evolved over time?

Absolutely. I wrote the song 4 years ago. I was in a much darker place when I made the song. I’m way more at peace with myself now.  

How do you handle the vulnerability that comes with letting go of ‘power’ and ‘control’, as mentioned in the lyrics of “Play God”?

It’s a work in progress every day. I try to stay in tune with my own energy. I know I always have the most life-changing experiences when I check my ego and surrender to an experience, that’s when I feel the most alive. I try to remind myself of that when I’m hung up on feeling like I need to control or have power over a situation. 

You keep your acting separate from your music, but as a creative -as artist- the two are bound to intertwine somewhere, even if it’s behind the scenes. Do you think the two sides benefit each other?

More than anything I’m very drawn to storytelling. That’s my favorite part of writing and performing. I think having an acting background also taught me to channel my life and experience into my music in the most raw and truthful way. It taught me how to really tap in and go there when trying to convey an emotion. 

Have you ever been inspired to put something in a song that is derived from an acting experience? 

No, most of my acting experiences were a pretty long time ago. However, I get very inspired by movies and scripts when making my songs and conceptualizing my visuals. 

What does the title “Into Your Power, Into The Light” mean to you personally, and how does it reflect the overall theme of your debut album?

To me, it means stepping into your power and really confronting yourself and the light that you find once you’re on the other side of that experience. It’s very much a theme in my life right now. The first half of the album is dark and brooding and discusses themes of power, control, and ego and the second half is more hopeful and bright and explores themes of love, loss of innocence, and freedom. 

Following the viral success of your cover of “Take My Breath Away,” how has that experience impacted your approach to creating original music like “Play God”?

It hasn’t really changed my approach at all. That was such a such a special moment. I hope all my music can get that kind of platform, that’s the goal. But in terms of when I’m making the music I never really write or create something specifically to go viral, I wouldn’t even know where to start with that. 

Looking ahead, what’s up next for you?

I’m dropping strings versions of some of the songs from my project which I’m SO excited for. New music, more shows, I have a feature film I acted in that will be coming out this year, new merch… I want to do it all 🙂



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