Every town that has its own Wikipedia page contains a “notable people,” subsection. That section is not terribly impressive for the town of Covington, Louisiana. It’s composed of a handful of Louisiana celebrities, but few reaching out past the state lines. Recently, one name was added to the list, and it is a name that carries vast potential that reaches all four corners of the country.
Zack Villere, 22, was born and raised in Covington. Before this summer, the name Zack Villere did not hold much significance. If you have ever listened to “froyo ma,“ and questioned why the two sound so similar, that’s probably because Zack went under that alias for about two years before deciding to go by his government documented name. Froyo ma had a pretty significant following, building a fan base of more than 30k followers on SoundCloud, consistently racking up six figures worth of plays on the streaming site. Villere quickly began to gain traction and popularity in the music world after he released the song “Spent Missing” featuring the amazing Charlotte Day Wilson, with 500k plays on SoundCloud, it was his most popular song at the time.
Three months later, things changed. According to the bio on SoundCloud, “froyo ma moved to cuba and zack villere inherited all of its music equipment thanks for keeping up.”
Then, the singles started coming. On Twitter, he began to talk about a new project, the one we had all been waiting for. He released an EP as froyo ma, but the thought of a Villere LP was titillating. First came “Next,” a fast-paced synth beat engulfing lyrics about questioning his future with a love interest. Shortly after, he released “Cool,” — my choice for song of the summer. Cool is a funky tune backed with loads of synth, perfect for listening to at literally any time. The lighthearted lyrics are a serious insight into Zack’s life.
“It’s lighthearted but I am talking about how I really feel. It’s legit just a reflection of me as a person I think. I don’t really know why I make music, I think it just makes me feel good. If people like it, that’s sick. I do want to have a positive impact, though.
I want to be cool to myself. Just being a better version of myself. I don’t like who I was when I was younger, and I don’t like a lot about who I am now. I just want to continue to be a better me, and I know that sounds dumb and fake deep but that’s what I mean by that.” -via Pigeons & Planes
On June 16, Little World, a 12-track playlist just shy of 31 minutes, was released on Spotify and Apple Music. Villere practically did everything on the album — he mastered, mixed, and wrote every lyric (aside from J’Von’s verse in Minivan).
Little World is a futuristic R&B storm of quirky synth and bass, with an injection of lo-fi hip hop in almost every song. Every now and then, Villere slips a hint of pitch changes to his voice, creating a juxtaposition of the high pitched tone in “Sand People,” and his almost-speaking-tone in “Cool.”
As the album progresses, Villere transitions from a fun and quirky vibe, into a more intimate and mellow vibe, gradually becoming more inner-reflective. The penultimate songs on the track list, “You Don’t Care,” tells of a failing love story, created by the lack of caring, by way of the girl. As the song fades out, “I am Not my Thoughts, or Yours,” rolls in. The final piece of Little World is a glum, heart-aching piece of music revolving around simply not knowing what to think, do, or feel.
Despite having just released an album less than three months ago, Villere did not slow down, immediately getting back in the studio to make more for his fans. On Aug. 16, his 22nd birthday, Villere released the song “Fear of Intimacy,” another deep look into the heart of a soul once known as froyo ma. Despite the serious and emotional tones of his latest release, as well as the second half of his LP, he still finds a way to make it fun, and make us smile.