Profile: Uzoma Adichie
By: Jailyn Duong
Boston native Uzoma Adichie, otherwise known as “Planet Zuz,” is a 16-year-old aspiring artist. Her dreams of becoming a singer at a young age led her to experiment with music when she got her hands on a Macbook last year. Looking to small singer-songwriters for inspiration, Adichie took to GarageBand to try her hand at songwriting and explore what she could do with sound.
Adichie’s interest in music sparked at a young age. She says, “It’s always been something I wanted to do. I did chorus in Catholic school and musical theater camp in the summer so I was introduced to different genres of music.” Though she describes her sound as “the chiller side of riot girl type music,” we get to see how her many early experiences with music really did show her the beauty in various genres as she cites Lana Del Rey, Kali Uchis, Classic Rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, and Frank Ocean as inspirations. Adichie spoke about admiring the orchestral strings in some of Del Rey’s work and the jazzy vibes of Uchis’.
With all this creative energy building inside her, it was one songwriting session that crept until the late hours of 2 AM where she finally found the words necessary to articulate the feelings she describes in her song Boys / No Fool. She says, “The song isn’t about any boy I like right now but it’s something I could relate to because of past experiences. I just had to write about it.” When describing her music-making process she says, “I start with lyrics and usually have a beat in mind but sometimes it comes out completely different than what’s in my head.” And in the case of Boys / No Fool, that is exactly what happened.
Adichie described her frustrations when first trying to devise a beat to accompany the lyrics she already had in mind. She explained coming to some kind of block, then taking to fellow SoundCloud artist, “Slayyyter,” for some musical motivation. When playing with a bass loop, she realized that the sound that fit the song she wanted was reminiscent of that of 90s rock, alt 90s, and grunge. She also stated these genres as inspiration.
Apart from her aspirations in music, Adichie is a high school student looking to pursue a major in STEM. She says of her future prospects, “I’m planning to go to college as a STEM major but still work in the arts.” Her passion in two dramatically different fields may seem miles apart, but even in her stage name it’s evident that she views the world as a cross section of the arts and sciences.
Her stage name came about when she worked at GRLZ radio station and had to come up with a DJ name. Growing up, Adichie says “Many people can’t pronounce my name. So I started calling myself Zuzu. And some people call me Zuz.” Naturally, this had to somehow be incorporated into her stage name. But to extend that even further, Adichie spoke on her interest in astronomy having an influence in what she wanted that extension to be. When she finally realized that that key interest was what was missing, she decided on “Planet Zuz,” a stage name that perfectly combines her interests in both STEM and music.