Pinetop isn’t exactly known for being one of Arizona’s musical hotbeds, but it made a perfectly good launching point for young songbird Zella Day.
The 20-year-old has a homecoming of sorts on Thursday, when she’ll be stopping by the Rebel Lounge to spread her brand of folky alternative pop across the Valley.
“Pop is such a general term,” Day says. “For me, it’s playing guitar and singing the songs. I’ve heard it described as psychedelic western, but people also usually say it’s more of a rock concert than they expected.”
Regardless of how you want to categorize her music, you can’t question Day’s commitment to her craft. While others her age were focused on school and socializing, Day was busy honing her musical skills all throughout her childhood.
“I started playing at my grandma’s coffee shop when I was 9,” Day says. “I began writing my own music at 12, and I released an independent record [2009’s Powered By Love] on my own at 14.”
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Fast-forward just over half of a decade and two EPs to this summer, and Day’s second release, Kicker, displayed her talents to a far bigger audience — an audience big enough for the album to crack the top 10 on Billboard’s Alternative chart and top 65 overall. Not bad for someone who initially got her first break with a cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” just a few years ago.
“I’m proud of [Kicker], I think it’s a good representation of where I am in my life,” Day says. “I think people can see into my imagination through every song on it.”
Of course, with the new album came Day’s first major headlining tour, which brings us back to her return to Arizona on Thursday. It’s pretty much all the singer is thinking about at this point.
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“This headlining tour is taking up my whole life right now,” Day says. “I live my life in the present, so this tour is as far as I’ve thought. It’s just about playing for the crowd every night.”
Day says she’ll be playing her entire album at the Rebel Lounge, so everyone will go home happy regardless of what their favorite song is.
“If you’re a fan of my music, you should definitely want to see it performed live,” Day says. “It’s very interactive, and I think it’s a good time.”
Tickets cost $15 are available through the Rebel Lounge.