Interview: Zoe Wees Discusses Insecurity, Acceptance, & Her Second Single “Girls Like Us”

Zoe Wees © Philipp Gladsome
Zoe Wees © Philipp Gladsome
Pop star in-the-making Zoe Wees talks to Atwood Magazine about her sweeping second single “Girls Like Us,” an assertive anthem of self-love and personal reckoning, vulnerability, insecurity and acceptance.
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Stream: “Girls Like Us” – Zoe Wees




“Girls Like Us” is special for me, because with this song I’ve learned to love myself even more and to accept all my scars.

Eighteen-year-old Zoe Wees is the kind of artist this writer wants to be a pop star: An unapologetically authentic, willing and able role model for others who speaks for herself while representing numerous communities through songs that are as intimate as they are deeply universal. A self-described “fighter,” the young, budding singer/songwriter from Hamburg, Germany made waves with her debut single “Control,” and soars even higher on her inspiring sophomore song. A raw, visceral outpouring of vulnerability, insecurity, and acceptance, Wees’ sweeping “Girls Like Us” is an assertive anthem of self-love and personal reckoning.

Girls Like Us - Zoe Wees
Girls Like Us – Zoe Wees
Stuck here
Stuck here in these waters
So sick to my stomach
Is anybody there?
Red lights
Red lights in the darkness
Everyone’s so heartless
Does anybody care?
It’s so hard to explain
With your heart in a cage
Only whisper but you wanna shout
‘Cause the second you wake
Too much pressure to take
Every part of you wants to cry out

So often, we are too shy or ashamed, full of self-doubt or uncertainty to be transparent with ourselves and others; to be true to who we are, deep down inside. Released January 12 via Capitol Records, Zoe Wees’ second single “Girls Like Us” is a resounding declaration – as much an uninhibited expression of self, as it is a reclamation of one’s narrative. Arriving just shy of a year after Wees debuted with the stunning “Control” (which has amassed 119 million global streams on Spotify, to date), “Girls Like Us” is a confident and empowering pop song.

It’s also just the assurance we need to know that Zoe Wees is here to stay: An artist to watch with phenomenal vocal talent and the songwriting skills to match, Wees injects tremendous energy and emotion into her art. We feel this firsthand on the “Girls Like Us” chorus, which rises to dramatic heights as Wees captures her experience growing up in the aughts and ’10s, inundated with the immediate and ever-present façade of social media. Emerging out of intimate depths, Wees sings full of aching feeling:

It’s hard for girls likе us
We don’t know who we trust
Not evеn the ones we love
‘Cause they don’t know
Try to numb this pain
‘Cause we don’t wanna get hurt again
Left alone out in the rain
They don’t know

“‘Girls Like Us’ helped me to see myself with the eyes on my beloved ones,” Wees tells Atwood Magazine. “I get stronger because I accept the opinions of my friends. I realized that I’m not alone is this world. I no longer hide tears, but show myself exactly as I am – in my music video for example. Without make-up, sad, and on the other hand self-confident and strong. The song also taught me to talk more about my feelings.”

Zoe Wees recently spoke with Atwood Magazine about the music, emotion, and meaning behind her songs “Control” and “Girls Like Us.” Get to know this pop star in-the-making through our interview below, and stay tuned for more to come from Zoe Wees as she makes 2021 a year of hope and confidence, beauty and self-love.

Stream: “Girls Like Us” – Zoe Wees



MEET ZOE WEES

Girls Like Us - Zoe Wees

Atwood Magazine: Thanks for your time Zoe! First off to start, I suppose I’d like to quickly look back at “Control.” Why did you opt to debut with this song, and how has your relationship to it changed over the past year?

Zoe Wees: “Control” became my debut single because it’s a very personal song. It was important to me that I face my past and defeat the biggest demon in my life – my Rolandic childhood epilepsy and the fear of recurring seizures. For me, music is something very intimate and personal. That’s why it was important to me to let the people participate in my story. My relationship with this song has changed over the last year. I’ve learned to sing about my fears and to talk about the darkest hours of my life. This song was like therapy for me. Now I’m very happy and proud to have made this step with “Control.fo” Many more personal songs will follow.


“Girls Like Us” feels like a statement. Why is this song special for you?

Wees: This song is special for me because I do actually want to make a statement with it. “Girls Like Us” is about a small, insecure girl who is overwhelmed by the beauty ideals of society. She wants to break out of this social media illusion that everyone has to be perfect. “Girls Like Us” is a shoutout to everyone who is on the way to love themselves. You are beautiful the way you are. “Girls Like Us” is special for me, because with this song I’ve learned to love myself even more and to accept all my scars. Even though this song is not only dedicated to girls, I can only talk about it from this perspective. In the end, this song should reach everyone. That’s very important to me and makes this song special for me.

You explore themes of acceptance and insecurity in this track, which I really appreciate and relate to. Where did those themes come from, and why did they resonate for you?

Wees: Social media is an important part in my life. I can’t remember the time without a cell phone. This is absolutely crazy. My generation grows up in a huge parallel world. Many people can cover up their insecurities on social media – most of the time it’s a fake world. That’s exactly where the subject of this song comes from. I would like to draw attention to how difficult it is for young people in this world to grow up. There are certainly many good sides to the social media world, but you only see them if you love yourself and do not compare to others.

For me, this is the kind of track that encourages us to wear our insides on the outside, if that makes sense? I’m wondering for you, are there any specific feelings or parts of your identity that you now wear on the outside, that you used to keep inside?

Wees: It’s one of the most intimate questions I’ve ever been asked. My song “Girls Like Us” helped me to see myself with the eyes on my beloved ones. I get stronger because I accept the opinions of my friends. I realized that I’m not alone is this world. I no longer hide tears but show myself exactly as I am – in my music video for example. Without make-up, sad and on the other hand self-confident and strong. The song also taught me to talk more about my feelings.

When it comes constructing a song, how did “Girls Like Us” come about – did you know what you wanted to cover, or did the words come to fill in the melody?

Wees: When I have a songwriting session I always know exactly what I wanna write about. I carefully prepare myself a couple of days in advance. I’m very happy to write with professional songwriters. They help me finding the right words for the topics I wanna write about. First comes the melody and with it the syllables and words. That’s how I work.

Mirror
Mirror on the wall
I don’t see beautiful
Staring back at me
Watching
Watching my heart bleed out
Trying not to freak out
It’s hard for girls like us
We don’t know who we trust
Not even the ones we love
‘Cause they don’t know
Try to numb this pain
‘Cause we don’t wanna get hurt again
Left alone out in the rain
They don’t know
Zoe Wees © Philipp Gladsome
Zoe Wees © Philipp Gladsome



I love how your voice expands to fill the room in this song. Did you consciously build up that kind of crescendo, and how do you feel moments like that capture who you are as an artist?

Wees: Being an artist means more than just being able to sing. Singing is a lot of technique and being an artist means finding the right expression for it. That is the difference. I’m still very young and I’m also still in the process of finding myself as an artist. And lots of things are changing but what I do is never forced. It’s real. That’s why I can describe many things through my voice. That’s me. You see my soul through my expression.

What do you hope listeners ultimately take away from this song?

Wees: Hope and confidence.

It's a pleasure getting to know you and listening to your music –– thank you Zoe!

Wees: Thank you, too! It was a pleasure! =)

And the worst part is when they smile like this
And it hits me hard, hits me hard
Tryin’ to play it cool but inside I’m bruised
And it breaks my heart, breaks my heart
It’s hard for all of us
We don’t know who we trust
Not even the ones we love
They don’t know
Try to numb this pain
‘Cause we don’t wanna get hurt again
Left alone out in the rain
They don’t know
It’s hard for us, for girls like us
Girls like us, they don’t know

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Girls Like Us - Zoe Wees

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📸 © Philipp Gladsome


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