With so many new songs from mainstream artists flooding our feeds, it seemed like a no-brainer to simply review one of them for my next Tuned Up article. I had already decided on Miley Cyrus’ new hit single, Flowers. That’s until I stumbled upon an Instagram post that interrupted my perfect pop puff piece agenda. It was a music video clip with stunning yet simple visuals, soul-stirring lyrics, and soaring vocals. Here was an artist with music more inspiring than anything on recent Billboard charts. I knew from the chorus alone that the story behind this song was the one I wanted to know and share. The singer, songwriter, and producer graciously agreed to do an interview. Ladies and gentlemen of the Tuned Up audience, meet Zach Paradis (pronounced like paradise). His last name means heaven and his new song, Open Hands, will usher you there.
The world could use a bit of heaven right now more than ever. With the deluge of loss and global unrest that have seized hearts in the last few years, stepping into the unknown territory of 2023 may feel daunting to many. In general, life is not easy. Plans fall apart. Hearts break. Dreams disappoint us. Our response is often to avoid further pain by any means necessary, resigning ourselves to a life of little to no risk in an unfulfilled existence as we hold on to an illusion of control with tightly closed fists. These lyrics appropriately capture the vulnerable position we find ourselves in after being knocked down by life, “Life has knocked me down a notch. I don’t know what’s next, don’t know what’s best. God has knocked me down a notch till I’m forced to trust.” The chorus is an anthem of brave surrender that fills each chamber of the broken heart with hope. At least, that’s what I felt when I finally listened to the entire song – a literal waterfall refreshing my exhausted soul, daring me to step again towards my dreams with trembling yet open hands. This song is a result of Paradis’ own journey. “I see God’s hand on my life,” he shared, “I’m so grateful He pushed me in the direction He has.” Music is one way he processes life, but not all of his songs have a super deep message. Some of them are just fun! A lot of them are love songs. All of them are a vibe. His discography is a diverse range of styles and topics that feature some pretty impressive collabs, like Tedashii and Social Club Misfits. So what’s this man’s story?
Like so many incredibly talented artists, Paradis was born in Ohio, but his quest to become a master of his craft has taken him far beyond the Buckeye State. Raised in a musically gifted family, the desire to compose was there from childhood. As he grew older, he decided that if he was going to make music it needed to be excellent. He joined an audio engineering program at his local community college and applied for internships around the country in hopes to earn the credits he needed to graduate. Out of all the studios he applied to, Reach Records was the only one to respond. That’s right, the home of Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and Wande took a young dreamer from Ohio under its wing – the opportunity of a lifetime! He packed up his life and moved to Georgia on his own dime to work in an unpaid internship. “My bank account graph was a hill declining,” he joked about watching his funds plummet during those months. “People don’t want to sacrifice,” he said, reflecting on the reality of musicians struggling forward not knowing where things will lead. But fortunately for him, it led to being hired officially when the internship ended. This experience increased his skills to industry-level quality and connected him to people who have played a major role in his career.
He stayed in the Peach State for several years before moving to LA. “I am really doing what I hoped I would be doing and I’m so grateful for that,” Paradis explained what it’s like to work full-time in music – recording and producing for other artists. “I can set my own hours. But also, if something needs to be done nobody else is going to do it. I struggle with work/life balance. They say you leave your 9-5 to work 24-7, and that’s true! But it’s a struggle you choose.” And this year he is choosing to lean into his dream even more with an insanely ambitious goal to put out one new song every three weeks! His next song drops on February 3rd. He does the majority of everything himself and invites others to add to songs when he sees fit. For Open Hands, he played piano, electric and acoustic guitar, and programmed the drums. His brother-in-law, Craig Tumino aka Curiocide, added a layer of electric guitar giving it a fuller sound.
Artists and entrepreneurs, take notes! Let the passion and work ethic of this young man fuel the fire inside you. Follow his Instagram and you’ll see simple yet engaging good-quality content. “I think as artists we’re always looking for a magic switch,” he said, “we’re all thinking, without doing anything different – can I just blow up? There really is no shortcut, but it’s also not that complicated! It’s consistency. It’s constantly putting yourself out there on social media.” And he is definitely seeing the fruits of his faithfulness. Paradis has accumulated a fan base of loyal listeners who’ve been impacted by his music. The singer also spoke about the success that often arouses insecurities. Like every other human on the planet, he feels them, but addresses them and keeps going. “A lot of times I’ll put music out to feel validated, and that’s an anxiety-inducing route to go. I changed my mindset from being about getting something from others to this is something I want to give to others. Then when I get good feedback it’s a bonus and I’m just so grateful that telling my story can really help someone else.” He focuses on creating and letting God do the rest. That’s the entire message of Open Hands. It’s the perfect song to lead us into this year. After listening to an entire library of versatile Zach Paradis songs, one can only imagine what his next song will be about. Follow his journey on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter, and Spotify!
Author: Gabrielle Solange