Zane Cotton: 18-Year-Old Rising Star, Breaks and Heals Hearts with his Soul-Pop

The fate of an 18-year-old in Singapore is usually that of going to school, working against time to meet deadlines or cram for examinations, and figuring out the next stage of life. Therefore, when you hear about an 18-year-old who’s already decided about his career – an unconventional path at that – and has already sown the seeds to grow it: you do a double-take. You want to know more about this brave soul. And so today I present to you, Zane Cotton

Zane is a singer-songwriter and a composer who made his debut independently on 6 August 2021 with ‘anything 4 your love’. Since then, he’s also released ‘hold u close’ and, most recently, ‘easy 4 u’. 

Clearly, his music is about matters of the heart. When we talked to Zane, he shared that he writes his music from his own experiences (and a little bit of the magic of imagination), which makes all his music so much more authentic and organic, since it’s from his heart to ours.

A little behind-the-scenes secret: We tried telling Zane cheesy pick-up lines to make him laugh, and this face was his reaction to my terrible delivery

His songs do put you in your feels, and are perfect for your midnight jam sessions with your lights off in your bedroom, or even during a late-night drive. His deep, melodic voice works its way into your ears, and when the lyrics hit you, you truly feel like the main character, and the music in the background becomes your theme song

His journey started way back when he was just 12 years old. He had discovered a joy in performing on stage at school during events. To continue to be connected with music, Zane found another hobby that has grown into a burning passion – songwriting. It became a form of self-expression and an outlet to relieve himself of the heavy emotions surrounding the relationships that plagued him.

When I asked Zane what made him want to do this now while he’s just 18, rather than later, his answer was so simple, but it made sense: “I realised that many teenagers, or people in general, have gone through, or are going through situations similar to what I’ve gone through. And I thought that my music would be able to speak to them in a way that’s relatable.” That just shows that he makes music not just for himself, but for the people out there that are just like him. He hopes his music heals all the broken souls listening. 

But what are the songs about individually? Which one of them will become your new theme song? I gotchu! Read on to find out!

anything 4 your love

This debut song really set the tone for who Zane Cotton is and what his music stands for. It highlights the desperation that the persona is dwelling in; how they would do anything to have their love reciprocated. The classic tale of a hopeless love story is told in a new, refreshing light. But it’s not just the story that’s impressive. It’s the way Zane carries that emotion in his voice, to make you feel that desperation yourself. That girl may not have felt his misery, but I think we all did. 

hold u close

You’ve heard desperation and heartbreak. Now you hear excitement and eagerness, with a hint of anxiousness. Zane brings to life the story of newfound love. The persona is excited for their tale to begin, excited for this new relationship to soar. But they want to hold their love close, to prevent history from repeating itself. It’s poetic, and I love that it explores something different from the previous song. Whether in a relationship or not, I’m sure we’ve all felt this undeniable connection with someone who you’ve wanted to hold very, very close. Here’s to that feeling.

easy 4 u

This is Zane’s newest single hot out of the studio, ‘easy 4 u’. It is hands-down my favourite song, and it’s Zane’s too! Listening to this on a rainy day is the perfect way to bring this song justice. In this song, Zane explores reminiscence. It’s a story of the persona recalling the times when love was simpler – when it didn’t hurt this much, and it didn’t feel this lonely.

Now the persona has fallen apart. They’re broken. And the one thing that could put them back together is their lover, who is now sending them all these mixed signals, sending the persona into this endless downward spiral. It tears you apart as you listen to it. Zane’s versatile voice moulds itself to the song’s story and shows you the heart-wrenching emotions the persona is feeling. My absolute favourite part of this song is the orchestra solo in the middle of it. Zane crafted this all on his own with a synthesiser. I feel he shone the brightest in this song.

Yes, he indeed does have a rubber chicken in his hand

Three songs in less than two months from his debut? That’s crazy! He loves what he does, and it shows. And I adore how it’s not just heartbreak song after heartbreak song. Thus far, Zane’s discography pays tribute to the different stages and moments of a relationship, and we’re all for it.

Speaking of, Zane gave us a sneaky spoiler about some new music coming up soon, possibly in November! Although the title is unknown, he calls it the wedding song! He wrote it imagining seeing his own bride walking down the aisle to him on his big, magical day. It’s undoubtedly an emotional piece that once again delves into another part of a relationship. 

Songs with so much depth, such meaningful lyrics – you would think he takes at least weeks to write a song. Nope! It takes him just an hour! I know, mic drop, jaw dropped, everything drop! He gets into his element, imagines the situation in his head, and expresses them in words. Just think how much he must have in his mind to be able to write a song in just an hour! 

His studio is just as colourful as this picture! (And yes, there’s two rubber chickens now)

And he does all this magical writing in his very own studio too! He built his studio ahead of beginning his music career, and he equipped it with the best vibes and technology to make that room his very own creative space. It’s where he writes, records, composes – everything!

When it comes to a young debutante, while it’s important that they perform what they love, it’s also vital to explore until they find what truly is their sound and style. While Zane’s music has primarily been soul-pop, since it’s what he himself loves listening to, he did share that he hopes to explore more genres in the future, such as punk-pop and EDM! Additionally, while his songwriting is very relationship-focused, he wants to explore other stories, such as family or any hardships that aren’t love-related.

He started his journey singing covers, but today he has released music that he can call his. That is a journey of growth, and Zane stands testament to breaking out of the moulds that have been set for us, as Singaporean students. It’s not about being the smartest or having the highest-paying job; it’s about doing what you love, no matter how difficult or unconventional it may seem.

Zane is an enjoyable and chill person to be around, and we even did an exciting interview with him in a quick-fire round of ‘40 Questions with DANAMIC’, where we made Zane do some wild things. (No further comments.)

Do give Zane all your support and follow his Instagram, where you can get regular updates on what he’s up to, and also on TikTok, where he often posts covers that I’m sure will bless your ‘For You Page’! And of course, check out his music on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music!

Are you pumped for what’s coming next? Well so am I, because rising star Zane Cotton is here!

Photos by Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC Team.

Baani Kaur

Aspiring to achieve great heights like every human in the world, but till then, enjoy the most dramatic and sarcastic person you will ever read from.

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