Annie Zhou gains new light in “Out of the Blind”

LA Music Review | Art, stories and advice

Upbeat and truly empowering!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Photo by Nick Hughes

Hi Annie, welcome to LA Music Review! Tell us a little bit about you and your music.

I’m Annie Zhou, a performer-composer based in Los Angeles, and my primary instrument is Guzheng, the 21-string traditional Chinese instrument. Originating more than 2000 years ago in ancient China, the history of this instrument could be traced back to the Spring Autumn War period. It has a beautiful timbre and is among the most popular and most-played instruments in Chinese and Asian countries.

I’m very excited to share my newest original song “Out of the Blind” with you here, it’ll be out January 11th, 2023 on music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, etc. It’s an upbeat song I wrote for my instrument Guzheng and accompanied by drums, piano, guitar, and other instruments.

This song is about my own journey,
as the title says, the power in the music that wants to break through the lows, come out of the daze and gain the new light.

Start streaming “Out of the Blind” here:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Photo by Nick Hughes

Congrats on the release! What was your inspiration when you were writing this project?

I’ve always been working on making the fusion of Guzheng with other Western instruments and adapting the music into different styles. I had the outline of this song in my mind when I was going through a down point in my life, my friend Leo gave me a lot of inspiration and encouragement.

When I first wrote the main melody, immediately I felt it would be a great piece of work, but for many reasons, it was put on hold for a long time. After almost a year, I came back to this song and it sounds even surprisingly amazing, so I recorded it and wanted to put it out.

What is your vision for this song? What lessons would you like to impart with your audience?

I have performed in many cities across the United States, and often people reached out to me after the performance, they said that my sound is simply wonderful, and they hope me to perform more often to bring my beautiful Guzheng music to more audiences.

By making a song like Out of the Blind, using a traditional Chinese instrument with Western instruments in a new and pop style of music, I hope it will raise wider recognition among the western audience.

Also, with the hope that through this song,
I could bring encouragement to those people who are in a period of confusion, I want to tell them that everything will be fine and the light will come eventually, as long as they keep trying and never give up.

What is your favorite part of the song?

There are some improvised notes playing in the beginning and the middle of Out of the Blind, and I think these tones are very well embellished and aptly punctuated. Those downward pitch bends on the bass notes show the typical characteristic of Guzheng and highlight the ancient charm of this instrument.

In the improvised section around the middle of this song, I did a series of rapid and accelerating notes before the start of the second verse. It’s followed by a long bending tremolo and this tremolo note is only accompanied by simple piano and drum beats, but its penetrating power pushes the atmosphere to a climax.

I’ve also used some very cool Guzheng techniques throughout the piece. For example, I was using the left hand to hit and sweep the strings in some phrases while playing the melody on the right hand to enhance the dynamics and power of the music. You can see how my hands play and how I use those techniques to accent the music in my Out of the Blind official music video.

Anything else we should know about it? Future releases? 

2023 is going to be another productive year for me, I’ll definitely spend more time writing and recording new original songs this year! I’d like to take this chance to thank all my fans, listeners, and followers, I want to let them know that their support is very important to me!

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