about ... Zoë
Raised in London, Zoë developed her singing talents at an early age thanks to the influence of her father, an East End boxer who drove a black cab and sang with a rich, dulcet voice reminiscent of Tony Bennett. At 23 she had a major hit with the first song she’d ever written: the anthemic “Sunshine On A Rainy Day”, which charted at No. 4 in September 1991, staying in the Top 10 for six weeks and selling over a quarter of a million copies. The same year saw her performing on Top Of The Pops multiple times and being nominated for a Brit award for Best Female Singer alongside Annie Lennox.
Even after Zoë made the decision to back out of the spotlight and move to a smallholding in Sussex following the release of her 1996 album Hammer, the song continued to be a favourite across the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia, covered by numerous artists as well as being featured in many television programmes, films and a Water Aid ad.
Meanwhile, Zoë took time out to travel, living in India (where she went to Kerala to learn classical Kathakali dance, singing and yoga), Sicily, Ibiza and Brazil. She became a painter and potter and studied herbal medicine and yoga — all the while continuing to write and collaborate with other artists including Queen’s John Deacon, beat poet John Sinclair, legendary producer Youth, Morcheeba, System 7 and many more.
Under the alias Hephzibah Broom, she recorded an EP for the Manchester underground label Red Deer Records. She also recorded an EP, Yoga Farm Blues, with blues musician Tom Dale, and in 2009 she and songwriter Sarah McQuaid released Crow Coyote Buffalo. Featuring songs co-written by the pair under the band name Mama, the album was described by MOJO as “a maverick mix that recalls both the eccentricity of The Incredible String Band and the pastoral narratives of Lal Waterson.”
Another period of travel and study followed, with Zoë journeying through Costa Rica and South America, experiencing the shamanic healing practices of Peru and Mexico as well as studying Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Tao tantric arts, Kundalini cultivation and sacred singing.
In Sedona, Arizona, she studied Lo Ban Pai, the philosophy of Spiral Energetics, with its founder, shaman Lujan Matus. She undertook Bio Acoustics training in France with world-renowned recording artist, composer, author and sound therapist Ani Williams, and breathwork teacher training with Ben Wolff in London, where she also studied painting at London Fine Art Studios. She studied classical yoga for four years with Sri Swami Indanandra Ji, and has most recently been focusing on forest gardening and rewilding in addition to Naked Voice classes with singer/philosopher Chloë Goodchild, working with the voice and sound to release emotional and physical trauma from the body.
Now Zoë is back with her new album Lago Ausente, a beautiful collection of original songs that celebrate her great love of nature and plant medicine. Produced by Liam Fletcher, the album features guest performances by guitarists Fabiano do Nascimento and Sebastian Juliussen, percussionist Ricardo ‘Tiki’ Pasillas, shakuhachi player Adrian Freedman, violinist Bridget O’Donnell, cellist Julia Morneweg and double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, plus Fletcher himself on harmonium and synthesiser. Always to the fore, though, is Zoë’s earthy, expressive voice, equally convincing in English and Spanish.
The album is set for release in March 2021 and is now available for pre-order via Bandcamp, with 50% of pre-order proceeds going to Rainforest Trust UK. The first single, “Planta Curandera”, is also available via Bandcamp as a pay-what-you-want download as well as on streaming services.
A devotee of Ram Dass, Zoë enjoys playing at ceremonial gatherings, medicine ceremonies and intimate festivals. She and her family are in the process of renovating a farmhouse on 40 acres in West Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, where she plans to host retreats and workshops on singing, yoga, breath work and plant spirit medicine amongst other topics — see the Retreats page for more information.