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Zuli Jr. Rocks Out on New Single “Sweet Pea”

Today's Music Discovery, Ryan Zuli Jr., returns to his indie-rock roots on his new single.

When Zuli Jr. tunes his amps on his latest single, “Sweet Pea,” New York City’s best-kept secret is ready to blow up. While he fits well in the indie-pop scene next to Steve Lacy, the back-to-basics rock of “Sweet Pea” gives Zuli the needed edge in the over-saturated genre.

The 30-year-old may spend his days near Rockaway Beach, but it is an urban getaway with great musical diversity. Although on the outskirts of Queens, Zuli’s borough is a treasure trove of music legends like punk-rock group Ramones, Tony Bennett, Nicki Minaj and hip-hop duo Mobb Deep.

Whether intentional or not, Zuli’s discography scratches every surface of his stomping ground’s predecessors at varying degrees. On “How to Feel,” he delivers vocal acrobatics and falsettos along a bubbly R&B melody. However, where his sophomore album (Stop it God.) is rampant with a heavy dose of trap, electronica autotune, and downtempo blues, his debut effort (On Human Freakout Mountain) carries an acoustic approach to indie-rock: either dripping guitar and staccato notes for a sweet space sweet doo-wap on “still believe” or dropping a cohort of chaos and harmonies on “neither am i.”

“Sweet Pea” by Zuli Jr.

His new single is a far cry from its indie pop predecessor, “Play Yr Role.” However, Zuli tells The Luna Collective that “Sweet Pea” is “his favorite song from his discography to date.” The self-directed black-and-white video sells the angsty production just as well as his punk-ish attire while brooding on the beach. 

The song builds acoustically while slowly introducing Zuli-centricities like autotune and experimental production. Midway through, the track crashes and burns with drums and electric guitars in the forefront. Like the song, the video turns disorienting, but Zuli takes it to the sand with his guitar having a blast, not minding standing straight. This sonic homecoming was a long time coming and feels right, too.

“At its core, “Sweet Pea” is about acceptance. Acceptance of your work, your relationships, your choices, and regrets. I tend to romanticize my life in a lot of my songs and this one in particular is a perfect example of that. There’s not one particular person or place that defines “Sweet Pea.” Rather, it’s a state of mind. Realizing that things change; you are who you are.”

Zuli Jr via The Luna Collective

What do you think about Zuli Jr.’s new single, “Sweet Pea”? Let us know in the comments!

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