What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is London based hip hop artist, Zuko Hardy. Zuko started making music in 2018 and released his first single in 2021 titled ‘X-GAMES’. Since then, Zuko's been working on his first visual + studio album “paradise lost”, set to release in the last quarter of 2022. It was our pleasure to interview such a talented artist. But enough from us, we recently linked up with Zuko to discuss his life and musical roots. Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up Zuko? Your sound is dope. When did you start making music?
Zuko Hardy: In 2018, since then I have been designing and cultivating a sound that I'm happy with. Although I'm not exactly there yet, I know at this rate it wont be too long.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope. It's easy to see that you've put a lot of work into your sound. What city do you represent?
Zuko Hardy: I am from a small town in London called Harrow. and I rep H Town til the end.
Westleaf Staff: London stand up! I respect that. How did you create your stage name?
Zuko Hardy: Zuko is a nickname one of my close friends gave me, I guess I reminded him of the anime character, and it just stuck. The last part of my name comes from one of my childhood heroes, Jeff Hardy. I really liked how he would just do the wildest shit so I figured I'd take that name to embody that essence.
Westleaf Staff: Ha! Jeff was wild! So how did your early life shape your interest in music?
Zuko Hardy: Growing up my dad really peaked my interest in it. He would always have music on, whether it was during car journeys or at home. He'd also have his friends 'round where they would sing and play instruments together. So I've always been around music.
Westleaf Staff: Who is your biggest Musical influence?
Zuko Hardy: Travis Scott for sure. I think Travis is the best at creating a vibe within his music and it's something I really try and do.
Westleaf Staff: I feel that. We bump Travis in our office. I can see the vibe you're creating with your music too! That's cool! So what's been the defining moment in your career thus far?
Zuko Hardy: I think picking up the mic and actually starting was that moment. I dwelled on making music for a long time, so taking that first step really stands out to me.
Westleaf Staff: Facts! You're actually making moves. Salute! What makes you a unique artist?
Zuko Hardy: The way I approach music. I really see it from a design aspect. Can my music solve an issue or can it provide something to someone? These are the questions I kind of ask myself as my process.
Westleaf Staff: What does art mean to you?
Zuko Hardy: Art is anything that creates a reaction.
Westleaf Staff: Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?
Zuko Hardy: Well i'm in my rookie season right now, so i'm not looking too far ahead. I'm gonna keep honing in on my sound and creating more art. If I told them where I see myself going, they'd say I'm crazy. Guess we'll have to wait and see!
Westleaf Staff: Respect! Describe music in three words.
Zuko Hardy: A R T.
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More About Zuko
Zuko's been cultivating his style over the years with his producer and lifelong friend DR NICK. Drawing inspiration from the production of artists; TRAVIS SCOTT, KANYE WEST + MIKE DEAN. ZUKO HARDY released his debut music video ‘COLD’ directed by ‘HMEUSEONLY’, a London production studio run by another lifelong friend. Working with people close to ZUKO is a collaborative practice which he adheres to. Minimalist melodies and energetic kicks are carefully Minimalist melodies and energetic kicks are carefully navigated by Zuko’s delicate cadence on his recent drop “COLD”.