When Northern Virginia-based artist Zahra Sanie (who releases a beautiful blend of pop and r&b under her first name) sat down to write her newest single, she didn’t have to look far for inspiration. She took her relationship with her roommate turned best friend, Haley, and turned it into a sparkling song about the importance of unspoken bonds between two people and the comfort of being around someone who just gets you, no explanations needed.
“I was at a point where I really, really needed her in my life and I didn’t know it until she was in front of me,” she explains. “I was struggling a lot with my mental health and having someone who matched me in the most effortless, nurturing ways was a gift from the universe. The day that ‘Haley (Snow Jays)’ is about, was just us in our element, together, watching movies. We decided to roll joints for ourselves, laughing and calling them snow jays, and I wrote the hook right then.”
To recreate the vibe that inspired the song, they created a slumber party-inspired video, highlighting their closeness in the process. “[Our] nature is typically slumped on the couch, watching Netflix together so that just had to be a part of the video. I was really hoping to translate both our relationship and my personality through this video and I think we were successful in that.”
Zahra and a family friend built the set by hand, which eventually evolved into crafting a mini version of the set representing her and Haley in another dimension. In addition to the care and effort put in to building the world that allows viewers a peek inside their worlds, Haley and Zahra were in good company during the creative process as the video was directed by Sean Cooper who’s shot artists like Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna, to name a few.
“Working with Sean Cooper is a dream. He’s incredibly talented and is always focused on an artist’s vision and how to make that come alive in the best way. He has such a calm energy, he makes it so easy to get comfortable in front of the camera which I think makes all the difference. He’s completely self made with an absolutely relentless work ethic so I am incredibly lucky to be able to work with him.”
While the three creatives have much to celebrate with the release of the single and video, Zahra’s still hard at work with much on the horizon. Since she realeased her 2018 EP Honestly, Truly she’s been carefully putting together even more new material, and hopes to tour thoroughly this summer. If “Haley (Snow Jays)” is any indication of what’s to come, we can be sure that this new voice is one to keep your eyes on.
“Haley (Snow Jays)” is out on Rare Fruit Records today and is available to stream and purchase on all major platforms. For more on Zahra, follow Rare Fruit Records on Facebook and Soundcloud and follow her on Instagram @zahratonin.