INsiders Guide : Exclusive Interview With Zach Callison On His EP “A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak”

Music artist Zach Callison released his brand new EP this week entitled “A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak”. Mostly known for being the voice of “Steven” on Cartoon Networks hit show Steven Universe, Zach spent most of the past year creating a alternative rock record based on real life experiences and personal struggles. The 9 track EP contains a few surprising guests including Callison’s co-star from Steven Universe, Grace Rolek, as well as singers Merges and Jesaiah. This record will certainly put Callison on the map as a creative rock powerhouse. I spoke to Zach on all things life, music and more;

Tell me about yourself?
I came up as a child actor in Hollywood, went off the rails like so many of us here do, and eventually brought myself back from the brink using work as an artist as my purpose. Everything else about me stems from that story arc.

How did you get into songwriting?
I’ve been studying music since I was very young, but I didn’t start writing music until the dominoes started to fall in my life at seventeen; a breakup with the mentioned “Juanita” on the album set
me down a path where I seemingly couldn’t catch a break; my platform as an artist was rising and people were trying to take advantage of me. Friends, collaborators and business partners alike
showed their true colors all around me, and I collapsed under the weight many, many times. All the songs on this upcoming record (the first ones I completed, ever) were written during that period.

Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
As a kid it was my parents. My mom always encouraged wellroundedness and education, and my dad was a beacon of influence for performance, musicality and social savviness. I have them to
thank for everything; most notably their sacrifice of moving to LA on what started as a crap shoot chance at a career I was desperate to have. It’s an insane story that a select group of us who grew up out here share, and it’s impossible to take for granted.

How did the single “she don’t know” come about?
“She Don’t Know” is such a time capsule for me…it’s only the second song I ever wrote to completion, and it was the first time I was willing to write candidly about the brutality of the things I was doing to myself at the time. It brings back so many strong, specific memories…like the time I played the newly-written chorus on a cheap keyboard in my friend’s tiny box apartment in Silver Lake at 2:30 in the morning, or the time I recorded the very first demo vocal for the song in my apartment closet, by myself, while more tweaked out than I had any business being. This song, along with Nightmare, came from the absolute eye of the hurricane for me.

Tell me about the EP “a picture perfect Hollywood heartbreak”, what’s the story behind it, and what can your listeners expect?
The project is an attempt to encapsulate an era of my life into one soundtrack, from the destructive times at rock bottom to the highest points of unstable, revenge-fueled mania. In total, the narrative of the album (which I wanted to tell a complete story from start to finish) begins near the bottom and climbs back towards the top…but I’m unsure if that top point is really a true end point to the story. This chapter wasn’t meant to have a fully happy ending…I’m not really there yet I don’t think. In any case, expect a saga that’s epic, theatrical, and unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

What song means the most to you on this EP and why?
That’s a tough ask, just because I often treated this record as if it was one long, 28-minute track serving a purpose. They’re all true to my life, and they all reveal something to the people that I haven’t been able to express before. On that note, though, I’ll go ahead and say “She Don’t Know” for the moment…I genuinely didn’t know how my fans, my family and my employers would react to the lyrical content, and it was a daunting leap. However, so far the message seems to have been received the way I intended it to be…as a conversation of mental health.

If you could work with any artist, writer or producer in the industry who would it be and why?
Kanye, 100%. I have a lot of musical heroes, but as far as innovation and relevancy goes, there’s nobody else I could wish for to produce and collaborate with.

What’s next for Zach Callison?
Everything. This is the beginning of a revolution for me. There’s already new music being produced, new content for both my music and my acting being made, and I’m drawing battle plans on how to put this stuff out to the whole world. We’re locked in right now.

Zach Callison’s debut EP “A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak” is out now.

Written By: Neill Frazer

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