Many would be familiar with Mumbai-based musician and artist Zachary Ray’s peppy sound. However, for his latest release called ‘Vicious Cycle’, which is his 24th original song, he has gone a soulful route. Having collaborated with Shreya Bhattacharya yet again after two successful collaborations in the past, in this song he touches on the subject of trauma and mental illness.
“This song was inspired by a high school friend of mine who lost her battle to a cycle of addiction despite being full of life and having great musical talent. So, I wanted to shine a light on how trauma can put one in a negative and ‘vicious cycle’ which people cannot get out of without help. I also wanted to encourage those that may refrain from seeking help, to do so for their own good,” shares Ray.
He was eager to have his friend, singer Shreya Bhattacharya on the track with him and had it mixed at Island City Studios by Hersh Desai. On the occasion of the song’s release on February 3, Ray joins us for a candid chat. Excerpts from an edited interview:

Q: Where did the idea for this song come from?
A: The idea for the song came from a line I’d memorized growing up. This line is, ‘I’m made perfect in my weakness’. I have also used this as the opening lyric to ‘Vicious Cycle’ which is “I’m perfected in my weakness.”
Q. Tell us about your collaboration with Shreya Bhattacharya.
A: I love working with friends and Shreya is one of my favourite singers and a good friend from our Kolkata days. When I was writing this song and listening to the track I knew Shreya’s vocals would be perfect for this song and would bring a special edge to ‘Vicious Cycle’. We went into Island City Studios and worked with Hersh Desai one evening to record our vocals. Hersh mixed and mastered this track for us and we are so proud of it.
Q. What was your thought process while making the song? 
A: While writing the song, I was thinking about the struggles of anxiety, depression and addiction and how sometimes we feel stuck in a cycle we can’t get out of. On Christmas morning in 2020, I lost one of my best friends suddenly and she had struggled with addiction. There’s one lyric in the song that says, “I won’t let the wave take me down no more, I’m out the door.”
Q. Tell us about the sound and how you arrived at it? 
A: For this song I knew the sound needed to feel gritty and moody. It’s not a happy song but it definitely has this really cool edgy vibe to it. Usually when I’m writing a song, the lyrics come first and then the melody. So the melody can fit around the words.
Q. You have produced quite a few singles in the recent past. What makes each one different? 
A: I feel like every song I’ve produced and released has had a different feeling to it. I usually write songs out of an experience or something I’ve felt or read about and each of these come from different emotions. Out of those feelings and emotions each song comes with a different melody or sound; depending on what the lyrics are about.
Q. Any plans of making an album?
A: Yes I have an album coming out at the end of the month on February 27. It is called ‘Unafraid’ and I’m very excited about it!
Q. What are you working on next?
A: There are a few more collaborations I’ve been working on. One that I’m pretty excited about is a song with the DJ duo FRNTFLW. Follow me on my socials to stay updated with all the action.
‘Vicious Cycle’ by Zachary Ray and Shreya Bhattacharya is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com.