Born in Westbury New York and raised in Lebanon PA – Zen Gnarly – discovered the art of rap at a very young age around 5 and didn’t start pursuing it until 16 when he dropped his first single “Wassup.” Now at the age of 21, Zen has matured as a person and artist; taking a whole new direction with his music in the form of a new album titled “333Dimension.” He gets personal, discussing love, depression and all he has had to deal with due to his mental illness, “schizoaffective.” Zen also breaks down how he believe’s he’s before his time, dreams with robots and how he wants to alter the timeline of human history. The 11-track offering includes production by Shenny, Hurtboii, TGDJ,
Be sure to check it out below, as well as an exclusive Q&A we did with Zen.
How do you find balance as an artist and your daily life?
“I try my best to write in my journal and internalize whatever conflicts I have. Another thing I’ve been practicing is not trying to confide in comfort of whatever discomforts I’m experiencing but instead, just naturally feel ride the waves of emotions. Other times I just try to walk barefoot in nature and talk to earth as a really good friend.”
What is your mission with your music?
“My mission with my music is to only open portals and allow my listeners to tune into the frequencies I’m sending. Speak for the voiceless. I want to be the future of music I want to trailblaze what it means to be an futurist because I feel like the label of being an artist has died out. There are too many musicians who more than just what they pursue they are gatekeepers of this great universal language that is felt which is music.”
What’s the story or the meaning behind the number 333?
“If you add up the number “333” you get the number 9 which is the universal number of Love. It’s suppose to represent spiritual awakening and facing challenges. I started to see this number during times I felt suicidal and lost hope. It’s been following and reminding me to keep faith. I feel as that 333 is a portal to etheric beings that watch over you and protect you through life.”
There’s no features on this album was that intentional?
“This was a very personal album. I thought about having certain features on it but I felt like the stories I was conveying others wouldn’t be able to connect to at least to my likeness. I definitely would like to have some features in my future projects if possible.”
What was it like being in a psych ward for your diagnosis?
“I was admitted into Eagleville which is a mental psych unit, being in a psych ward was like walking into a mixture of hell and heaven almost. You deal with a lot of your demons, whether if that’s your self doubting thoughts or just seeing people who are even in more f***ed up shape as you. Doctors are constantly drugging you with whatever they prescribe to you, so depending on how the drug alters your emotions and behavior; everything starts to feel like one big blob; which can be hard for you to use discernment when it comes to internal reflection. I got diagnosed with schizoaffective, so being told that I had that broke my character and reality completely down at that time. I’ve had people who believed in my gifts and the ideology that I wasn’t from here then there were others who try to define you by your illness. I was only 20 when I was admitted into the psych ward. I was stuck trying to explore myself and trying not to self destruct. Being in a psych ward can be a painful but beautiful process but only if you’re willing to take the steps.”
July 22nd is the anniversary of your very first psychosis. Preparing this album release and reflecting back, how does everything feel now?
“Honestly, these last weeks leading to this final date been real tough man. Dealing with back to back suicidal thoughts, to trying to fight depression, a lot of what I’ve experiencing has been overwhelming. All in all, I’m proud to allow myself to be vulnerable and share my very dark moments with the world; and even though I’m still going through a dark time, trying to find comfort with what happened around this time. I’ve accepted to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.The fact I got something to play and relate to, when I’m thinking back to this time brings me to a balance like never before. I reached an great milestone completing my dream album and having it be connected to something impactful.”