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Daily Inspiration: Meet Zava

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zava.

Zava, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My name is Taylor Avazpour (I go by the artist name of ZAVA) and I am an independent performing artist from and based out of Kansas City. I grew up performing, receiving my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory. After living and performing in New York City, I relocated back to my hometown of KC, having the privilege to perform at many of the legendary houses in our arts community including Starlight, Kansas City Repertory, Kauffman Center, and Lyric Opera. Along with musical theatre, I have always had a passion for writing and performing my own music. I began my journey as an independent recording artist in 2014. My music is based in the pop genre with influences from other genres, as I was fortunate enough to grow up listening to an eclectic range of music from Whitney Houston to the Spice Girls. Because of these incredible artists, I grew up admiring, I made the decision to write music that spreads positivity and light. This has been my mission ever since I began writing.

In 2019, I decided to change my artist name from my own name to ZAVA (the first four letters of my Persian last name, AVAZpour, which means “voice” or “song” in Persian. I released my debut single “Style” in 2019 – all about loving yourself because it “never goes out of style.” I had the honor of performing “Style” at Kansas City Pride Fest, Kansas City Strips, Missie B’s, and at The Gay Softball World Series last year. Since then, I have released five more singles – “Beyond” “Lightyears” “Altitude” “I Could Get Used To This” and “Electric.” In June of this year, I played the biggest gig of my career headlining the Bottoms Up festival to kick off Pride month here in KC with a 90 minute set, two dancers, costume changes, my music and covers of popular songs from the 70s to now. I will be releasing my next single, “Wrong” later this summer and continue to perform around town.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It hasn’t! Theatre has its own set of challenges, but there is at least some kind of road map. You go to college, have a showcase, hopefully get an agent, and then they send you out on auditions. In the music industry, the path is a little less clear. Because of that, it can be challenging knowing what the next step should be. As an independent artist, you are your own publicist and marketer. You have to decide how you want to express yourself, what kind of content you want to put out there, and how consistent you want to be.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I go by the name of ZAVA. I write what I like to call “Empowerment Pop.” I love writing music that deals with not only the relationships we have with others but especially the relationship we have with ourselves. Through my work in therapy, there are so many parts of myself I have discovered and explored. Being able to express and share those experiences through my music is a special feeling. I believe that is what sets me apart – my experiences. Singing songs about the complexity of self-love. It isn’t always rainbows and flowers. It takes real work, real reflection, and real commitment. I didn’t hear a lot of songs that dive into this growing up and I think that is one of the reasons I have made it part of my mission to do that. I think that is what I am most known for – learning about myself, loving myself, and writing songs about all of that. Through my “Empowerment Pop,” I like to write songs that celebrate the good in life. There is a lot of darkness and tragedy in the world and a whole lot of songs that discuss that. I feel like we also need art that reflects the beauty, resilience, and strength of humans. I am most proud of owning my story and being able to express and share it with the world. If that resonates with someone, then I’ve done my job!

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I genuinely love all kinds of music! If you were to look at my Spotify and skim through my playlists, you would genuinely have no idea who the person was that is listening to it all. There is pop, R&B, jazz, country, dance, bebop, etc. I really do love all kinds of music and love getting inspiration from everywhere.

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Image Credits
Elise Poehling, Vivian Nazzaro, Caro Thomas

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