Then there’s Zain Lodhia.While the artist has no doubt fought hard to hone his skills, his early days recall a gentler, simpler time in college playing the now classic video game, Rock Band, with his roommates. Tasked with taking the mic and delivering vocals, Lodhia took a different path, discovering “his own musicality and embraced a new era of creative self-expression.” And most importantly, he found his voice.
That voice, as well as an uncanny understanding of what makes a great pop song, is a large part of what makes Lodhia’s latest effort, The Leap, so successful. Following the success of his 2011 EP, Memories, the artist enlisted the help of producers, Tim Brennan and Mark Sutor, formerly of the pop punk band, June. The result is a warm, creative, and polished record full of acoustic tones tempered with layered electronic elements and percussion with a purpose.Lodhia’s sound has been likened to artists such as Maroon 5, The Script, One Republic, The Fray, and more but, through and through, Lodhia manages to craft a sound that, while revealing some of his influences, ultimately carves out his own comfortable niche within the music world. Perhaps the best example of that comes on “Send Me Away.” Compelling programmed percussion sets the tone while Lodhia’s smooth vocals press the track forward before bursting into the energetic chorus, featuring vocal assistance from Katie Foster. It’s as radio-friendly as you can get, the arrangement stunning and the delivery shows that this is an artist who’s ready to make an impact.
And the rest of the album manages to declare the same.Songs like “Lost for Words,” which also receives the acoustic treatment, showcase a keen ear for pop sensibilities and production while “Beautiful Devotion” brings a slightly hip-hop element to the vocal, offering interesting sonic textures. Keyboards play a prominent role in “I Wonder,” giving the song that wistful, thoughtful edge as the title track carries across a plethora of percussive tones that hit all the right spots. It’s layered with notes that don’t just fill the voids but that contribute to the overall emphasis of the song and that blend solidly with Lodhia’s skillful acoustic guitar work.
“Long Run” showcases the artist’s ability to write a strong, ballad-based hook and deliver it which he does with passion and poise, maintaining a similar flow on the lyrically upbeat, “Close.” Acoustic guitar and skillful keyboards blend into a solid tapestry on “Keep Breathing” while “Shadow of Your Light” maintains a mid-tempo pace, accented with creative composition elements. Add in warm, heartfelt tracks like “Dreams Out Loud,” “Make It Through,” and hidden track, “Perfect World,” and you’re left with a smile on your face.But perhaps no song captures the real essence of this record like the single, “Lifetime.” Upward bound with a lyric that focuses on second chances and the reward for hard work and sweat, blood, and tears, “Lifetime” hints at the heart of the artist behind it. And that artist is a grateful one.
“It’s a milestone being able to hold this album in my hands,” Lodhia shares. “Music has always been a passion of mine, but it wasn’t until later in my life that I discovered how powerfully songs can move us,” he says, pausing reflectively. “I’m so glad I didn’t let my fears hold me back.”Don’t let anything hold you back from picking this one up either. Lodhia may be taking The Leap but if the musical gods are just, this is a job he’ll do doing for a “Lifetime.”