First Look: Bay Area R&B Songwriter Ztilo To Release Debut Album ‘No Hard Feelingz’

2021 has easily been Ztilo’s year.

The Bay Area native has been anything but quiet since we first covered him in July. Since then, he’s released a steady stream of singles, made several well-received music videos, performed for the Recording Academy, and now, is on the eve of releasing his debut EP, No Hard Feelingz.

The 10-track EP serves as a celebration of Ztilo’s self-proclaimed “boy band trap” offerings, seamlessly blending genres such as R&B, hip-hop, and pop alongside some Latin-infused tracks to pay homage to his roots. In writing and producing the record, Ztilo collaborated with SoCal-based mixing engineer Zach Steele (Trey Songz, The Weeknd). The two have created a series of tracks that celebrate Ztilo as an artist, both within his vocal talent and his status as a first-generation Latin American.

No Hard Feelingz opens with “No Disrespect,” a PARTYNEXTDOOR-inspired R&B track. This was also Ztilo’s first single release anticipating the EP, so the song serves as a good introduction to his overall sound. It’s smooth, ambient, and low-key, yet not over-produced, therefore maintaining his vocal and artistic integrity. 

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Next is “Missing You,” another R&B and pop-inspired track that bares a bit more soul and emotion in Ztilo’s voice. The song is all about missing someone after a bitter breakup, a feeling that some of us may know too well. Immediately following is “Falling For That” which juxtaposes the previous vibe by having a more upbeat and danceable sound. With a similar vibe to Post Malone and Justin Bieber, this one is more pop-oriented, yet it remains a staple in Ztilo’s discography.

Perhaps the most standout single on the EP is “I Got You.” This one is slowed down, allowing Ztilo to expose the listener to his raw vocal and stylistic ability. The soul-baring single, along with its accompanying music video, is all about sticking by the side of the one you love through thick and thin. The song appears twice on the EP, first as a studio version and second as the record’s final track, an acoustic performance for the Recording Academy’s “Positive Vibes Only” series.

The later portion of the EP introduces us to the artist’s Latin roots. “Contigo” blends both English and Spanish, creating a steadily upbeat track. “Peligrosa” is another standout tune, and the most danceable song on the record sung entirely in Spanish. Although the title translates in English to “dangerous,” the song has great summer vibes, perfect for a night of dancing.

On No Hard Feelingz, Ztilo takes his identity as a performer and tastefully condenses it into 10 tracks that all represent a different part of him. Some Latin-inspired to pay homage to his roots, some hip-hop to reference his genre of choice as he first started in the industry, some love songs, some heartbreak songs, and all of them blend genres and showcase his talent as a vocalist. 

No Hard Feelingz is available for streaming tomorrow, November 12th.

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