This is an awesome, multi-dimensional piece where Malik shares his history with and the background on San Diego-based hip-hop artist Zaiv Douleur and then cuts to his interview with the rising star. Zaiv has so much charisma, passion, and wonderful energy to share and in this terrific conversation, he talks about balancing music with his career in the Navy, bouncing between Bastrop, LA, Hawaii, and San Diego, the importance of realness and consistency for career growth, and his transformation from Young Zayy to Zaiv Douleur–the latter of which means “pain” and the struggle he’s endured to achieve success.
Have you ever wanted something bad enough? What was the biggest sacrifice you’ve ever made to achieve something you wanted? Some people sacrifice money, time, and even family at times. Well, Zaiv has done just that.
Zaiv Douleur formerly known as “Young Zayy” Is an artist out of Bastrop, Louisiana, a small town with a population of just under 11,000 people. His upbringing consisted mostly of working to help his family, participating in local youth sports, and finding his creative niche as he began making music with friends at an early age.
When most people are young and trying to make music it’s most likely just for fun and they have no real desire to expand. But Zaiv kept at it, and before you knew it he was more polished than the average young artist.
I met Zaiv in college in 2014 at Xavier University in New Orleans. We were on the track team together and became fast friends. He always stood out to me because of his fun personality, his hustler mentality, and his confidence with no need to try to fit in. At the time, we were still trying out what to major in, much less what to do with our lives.
At this time creativity/entertainment had started to be a well-paid market. You had people getting popular off of social media apps: Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and also YouTube, which was the biggest breakthrough. So to us, some people had already figured out the blueprint of the game and that’s what our eyes were on.
The sacrifice was the biggest thing but I learned, sometimes putting homework to the side for two and three hours just to come up with a catchy hook or finish of verse that you have been stuck on for a couple of days is not something everyone is willing to do. Knowing a new pair of shoes is coming out next week, but you have a couple of tracks that you want to get recorded, you may have to sacrifice that kick money to put towards a studio session. Zaiv was never afraid to sacrifice anything or ever bet on himself.
The thing I would say most people have to sacrifice the most when it comes to opportunity is family. Zaiv grew up in Bastrop, moved to New Orleans to go to college, and two years after college joined the Navy, which would station him in Honolulu, Hawaii. Being from a small town in Louisiana, it’s not every day that you get to be placed in Hawaii.
But the job got done and that didn’t stop the creativity on Zaiv’s end, he still kept in contact with the family, but he knew there was a mission that had to be completed. Now living in San Diego, California, he said it’s been an eye-opener for him because the market is so big down there and everyone has their own creative sound in style.
Zaiv says he has a new project coming out later this year for all of his listeners that we’re sure to love, but until then, his latest project One Way Ticket – EP is available on all streaming platforms. Let’s keep showing love to our local artists, who knows with a little support what could happen next.
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Zaiv Douleur: