Who you are, where you’re from and what you do?
Im Lolo Zouaï, and I’m from San Francisco but I live in New York, and I’m a singer-songwriter, producer, crazy lady.
I know you’ve moved around a lot as a kid, can you elaborate on that for us?
So I was born in Paris, France, my mum is from the countryside in France, and my dad is from Algeria. They applied for the visa lottery, which is an online application which I think is free, where you can sign up to become an American citizen. Anyone can do it. I feel like a lot of people don’t know about it but I’ve met a lot of people who have won it. My dad won it and we moved to San Francisco when I was 3 months old, with my older sister and my parents and I just grew up there. I was so lucky to grow up there in the 90’s and 2000’s cos it had a lot of energy, now it’s kinda changed but it was amazing. After high school my mom got relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville is a good music city, so I went to college for one semester. It was this crazy change of culture, such a culture shock. I went to this Christian school, and my dad is Muslim but I grew up in a secular household cos of my mom so I was definitely shook. I didn’t really enjoy it, so I dropped out and moved back to San Francisco on my own at 18 and started working in American Apparel. I was there for about 6 months, but then I just felt like I need to go somewhere so I left and moved to Paris, France. I lived with some family at first, and worked at American Apparel in Paris. I was in this tiny room only about 9 square metres.
Not many people have even travelled that much in their lifetime, especially not in their formative years. How has that changed your identity and character as an artist?
I’m not afraid of moving or travelling. Travelling is the greatest gift that we have, and not everyone can do it because it costs so much to take a plane, but what I was doing was just spending my money on a flight and just working a lot to be able to experience it. After that I moved to New York which is where my life really started. It’s had the biggest impact on my career and that’s when I decided I needed to start taking myself seriously and recording and making music.
What are your childhood memories of travel?
I think one of the most memorable trips was going to Algeria when I was 15 or 16 because first of all, I had a shaved head on the side with a dollar sign (I was obsessed with Too Short) so as you can imagine I had to cover that. I remember going and it was such a big culture shock because women were supposed to stay in the house, and I wanted to explore and see everything. I realised there were no driving rules in that place as well, everyone drives crazy. It was also amazing to see my Grandma, even though we don’t speak the same language she taught me how to wash clothes in a bath tub!