Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Zella Day is known for her artful mix of Baroque pop, folk, and twangy indie rock. She first gained notice in the front half of the 2010s blending modern pop with a touch of free-spirited bohemian flair. By her late teens, she had already self-released an album and secured a contract with Hollywood Records, whose B3SCI Records imprint issued her label debut, Kicker, in 2015. She hit number seven on Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums chart and played major festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella. Day has continued to evolve, embracing an ever more sonically textured, stylistically cross-pollinated sound, as showcased on her 2020 Dan Auerbach-produced EP Where Does the Devil Hide, and the 2022 full-length Sunday in Heaven.
A native of Arizona, Day was raised in a small mountain town near Phoenix, where her parents ran a café and art space whose creative clientele helped to nurture her musical interests. Picking up the guitar at age nine, she was writing her first songs within a few years, influenced by the classic singer/songwriter records in her parents’ collection and her rugged natural surroundings. While still in high school, she released her independent debut album, Powered by Love.
Eventually relocating to L.A., Day first came to notice when her 2012 acoustic cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” began racking up the hits on YouTube. Soon she adopted a lusher, pop-oriented sound, which led some critics to refer to her as a happier-sounding Lana Del Rey. Day’s first single, “Sweet Ophelia”/“1965,” appeared in April 2014, and in October of that year she released her self-titled debut EP on California indie B3SCI Records. In 2015, she issued her full-length studio album Kicker, which featured production from Wally Gagel and Xandy Barry (aka Wax Ltd.). The record hit number seven on Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums chart and 65 on the Billboard 200. Tours with acts like Fitz and the Tantrums and Michael Franti followed over the next year, as did the non-album singles “Man on the Moon” and “Hunnie Pie.”
By 2019, Day had parted with Hollywood Records and teamed up with Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach to record for his Easy Eye Sound imprint under Concord Records. Led by the lush single “People Are Strangers,” her Auerbach-produced EP Where Does the Devil Hide arrived in 2020. Several non-album tracks followed, including 2021′s “Holocene” with Weyes Blood. In October 2022, Day returned with her third full-length and second for Concord, Sunday in Heaven. Produced by Jay Joyce with some production contributions by John Velasquez and Alex Casnoff, the album found Day embracing a glittery, ’70s-influenced pop/rock vibe. ~ Matt Collar & Timothy Monger