This video was made in partnership with Nō Studios. Milwaukee Magazine is partnering with the video production company to showcase the stories of local artists and musicians. Watch for more content like this here.
Ernie Zazueta’s musical career kicked off by chance. He was headed to a studio session with a friend, who ended up calling in sick. The studio hour was still booked so Zazueta, who goes by Ernie Z, recorded a few tracks he’d been working on.
“I’ve always been interested in music ever since I was a little kid,” he says. “Always playing the piano, saxophone, different instruments, violin. But as far as getting into singing and writing, I was always shy about it.”
Shortly after that studio session, Zazueta released his first single, “Take It Slow” in October of 2020. In the two years since, he’s released a string of singles that have made him one of the hottest upcoming artists in the city, with a devoted and growing fanbase.
His music blends styles, moving between hip-hop, R&B and pop. “There’s no set genre,” he says. You can hear the influence of the artists Zazueta cites as some of his inspirations: Drake, JuiceWRLD, Big Sean, XXXTentacion and Lil Wayne.
“Consistency is key,” Zazueta says. “You’ll never know if you’re good if you don’t put stuff out.”
Zazueta is planning to release an EP in the upcoming months. Hear more from him in the interview above or see him perform live at Nō Studios on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information are available here.