We all know the mystery behind ZHU, but few of us understand why. For an artist who was just nominated for a Grammy and received overwhelming praise for his debut set at HARD DOTD, one would expect photo shoots and interviews. Not quite. The ZHU reveal is somewhat underway it seems, but it's this same info that makes us wonder if he just might remain a mystery.
Now uncovered as Steven Zhu thanks to the LA Times - not Skrillex - the artist behind "Faded" appears to slowly be stepping into the light. Believe it or not, there's now an LA Times interview with him, and Thump even dug up some early, old, before-he-was-famous material. Here's the twist - you shouldn't believe it. The LA Times interview is scant at best, and a YouTube clip posted on Thump has already been removed.
Steven Zhu track unearthed by Thump
There has been speculation that ZHU's manager, Jake Udell, has had the slow reveal planned the entire time. This could well be the case. After all, this method has been used with success before. We recently learned that Martin Garrix used this method with "Animals" and that he still produces tracks for other artists. The LA Times compared ZHU's hidden identity to that of Weeknd as well.
But it's what's mentioned in the Thump article that might be most revealing of all. They note that Steve Zhu was "somewhat of an outsider" on USC's frat row, staying in much of the time while his fellow students were out raging. His focus not on the social scene, but his music. ZHU seemingly being more comfortable working on art than working the pick-up game at parties.
This "background" leads to a quote the LA Times was able to draw out of the shadowy figure which revealed something far more significant that a marketing strategy - a state of mind. And a determination to shock electronic culture back from the brink of celebrity insanity.
"Being able to have everyone focus back on music is the first step. But the second is to have influence and have people care." -ZHU via the LA Times
This plan may already be starting to work. After his debut set at HARD Day of the Dead, Destructo noted that "...we need more artists like him." If ZHU's true passion is bringing the culture to a musical focus, and his nature is to stay in the shadows, we may never truly know him. And that just might be exactly what we need.