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If there was ever a moment that truly encapsulates the title of Lolo Zouai’s 2019 debut album, High Highs to Low Lows, it’s the one we’re living in right now. Like many of us, Zouai’s year started off on a high: The French-Algerian singer was slated to join the European leg of Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia tour as the opening act from April to June. But a global pandemic reared its head in February and postponed the tour indefinitely. That could be considered one of the “low lows” on Zouai’s list, depending on what day you ask her, but today, she’s optimistic. “At first, I was just staying at home [in Los Angeles] and playing a lot of Scrabble,” she tells me over the phone. Then she decided to move back to Brooklyn and turn her apartment into a makeshift studio, where she wrote, produced, and recorded her own songs during quarantine.
Now, the highs keep rolling in. The current period of stillness brought Zouai back to her early days of making music in her bedroom and forced her to find new ways to channel her creativity: “I started doing things I said I would always do [but] never had the time,” she says, referencing therapy sessions, guitar lessons, and a newfound painting hobby. “I was always focused on something else.” However, she’s still adjusting to performing at-home for virtual concerts, including a set at New York Phillips Gallery earlier in September. “It’s not as fun because you don’t get the energy back from the audience, but there’s nothing we can do right now but wait and be safe,” she says. “Being an artist is about being able to adjust to the times, and get creative and figure out ways to make it work.” Read on for Zouai’s thoughts on the artistic process, personal style, and her post-COVID plans.How does the title of your debut album, High Highs to Low Lows, speak to where you’re at right now? I definitely was low for a very long time. It’s really hard to accept what’s going on with everything. I’ve been making a lot of music and trying to separate myself from social media and remember who I am at the core. It’s so easy to get caught up in the music industry if you don’t have a good head on your shoulders. I try to stay grounded. I’ve been more focused on my mental health and myself as a human versus myself as an artist. I’m trying to remember that I’m a person and I need take care of myself so I can be the best artist I can be. Whenever I’m in a better…