q&a with prozach
Based in the city of New Britain, Connecticut, Zach "ProZach" Pelletier has expanded his musical talents across the world. 22-year-old Pelletier recently graduated from the University of New Haven, where he studied Criminal Justice and Psychology. During his undergraduate career, he began recording his mixtapes and learned how to produce beats. Now, fully embracive of his passion for music. ProZach hopes to invade the hip-hop industry as one of the top rappers and isn't letting anything get in his way. I got a chance to talk to ProZach about his journey and vision.
Leeky Crowder: When you did fall in love with music and the idea of making music?
Zach Pelletier: I picked up the trumpet at 9 years old and have loved the creative process ever since.
LC: What was the first album you ever bought?
ZP: Wow this is sort of embarrassing, but I remember using my birthday money to buy Aaron Carter’s album “Aaron’s Party.” That had to be around 2001.
LC: What other artists did you listen to growing up? Did they influence you as a rapper?
ZP: In the household, my mom listened to a lot of 90’s freestyle music, like Coro and Stevie B. It used to get me hyped, and still helps my confidence with singing. My dad used to listen to the Eagles, so that got me into softer music, the direction I’ve been going recently. I also listened to a lot of Streetlight Manifesto. As a trumpet player I fell in love with the instrumentation, and it definitely feeds my motivation to incorporate real instruments into hip hop. As far as rap goes, I’ve always been a huge Wu-Tang fan, and I used to love following Kanye’s progression.
LC: What rappers are in your top-5 of all-time?
ZP: No. 1 Kanye West (No question). The rest are in no particular order: Redman, Methodman, Kendrick Lamar, Tupac.
LC: What instruments or music production programs do you play or know how to use?
ZP: I play trumpet, and can play pretty much any brass instrument you hand me. As far as music programs I use Ableton, but I consider myself still learning because my beats aren’t that good yet.
LC: Where does the name ProZach come from?
ZP: “Prozac” is an antidepressant. (Also my name is Zach and I’m a pro.) When I first started rapping, I made very positive and uplifting music. Since then, my music has become increasingly more dark and depressing, as I use it for an emotional outlet. Now there is a lot of irony in the name.
LC: Typically, white rappers have to work extra hard to gain credibility as a hip-hop artist. Before the 2010s, every white rapper that wasn’t Eminem either weren’t highly regarded or had short careers. Do you feel that pressure?
ZP: I believe I feel the same pressure as everyone else trying to make it in this industry. It’s not about color, it’s about what you bring to the table.
LC: When did you start recording music and releasing it? I see all your music from SoundCloud dates back to two years.
ZP: I actually just deleted all the music on Soundcloud from two years ago. Wanted to start myself with a clean slate again. I started recording with a few friends as a joke when I was 15 or 16. That music is actually still on Youtube, but I’m not telling anyone how to find it. I became a lot more serious about it when I was 19, that’s when I recorded my first full length mixtape.
LC: Why did you decide to major in Criminal Justice and Psychology during your time in college? Is a career in CJ your back-up plan, in case music doesn’t work out?
KC: We are forced to choose our life paths at such a young age. I was interested in Criminal Justice, but came to realize I’m not necessarily passionate about it. I came into college with a lot of credits, so I started CJ almost right away. By the time I realized I didn’t want to do it, I was halfway done, so I finished it up and picked up Psych because the human mind is always interesting. I know I just want to work somewhere in the entertainment industry, I’m not sure exactly where though. I plan on getting a masters in Digital Marketing so I can learn to brand myself better and possibly get a job within a music company. I wouldn’t mind being behind the scenes and branding other companies or artists.
LC: There haven’t been any major hip-hop acts that has come out of Connecticut. Why do you think that is?
ZP: Connecticut is not a supportive state. There’s no unity between artists out here, and there’s no true fans. You see the struggle with smaller artists like Chris Webby and Jitta on the Track. Nobody in CT claimed them until they moved elsewhere and gained a following and some buzz. It seems like my own state will be the last to fuck with me. People in CT don’t want to see each other strive. It’s so individualistic that it’s harmful to careers. It’s quite upsetting.
LC: Has your family supported your decision to pursue a music career? Do they understand hip-hop music or in the industry?
ZP: My mom is actually extremely supportive. She listens to all of the music I make (even if it's inappropriate) and encourages the creative process. She wants it to be a hobby though, while I work a day job to support myself. She’s more supportive of my love for fashion, as it is easier to profit selling the clothing that I make. Essentially she wants me to be happy and that’s all I can ask for.
LC: Growing up in small-town Connecticut where not much happens is it hard having big dreams? How did you deal or continue to deal with the people who doubt you or judge you for pursuing a rap career?
ZP: Not at all. There’s a ton of people who constantly try to shut me down, and some people who I thought were my friends won’t even give my music a chance. So I just drop everyone who isn’t supportive. I surround myself with people who want to see me succeed, and that’s it. As far as the people who judge, they’ll be buying my music eventually; Joke’s on them.
LC: What are some short-term and long-term goals for ProZach?
ZP: Short term goals: I am working on a website called Uncivilized Civilians, where I cover a new artist every week (rappers, singers, producers, clothing designers, videographers, painters, and any other types creatives). The vision is to unite all individuals whose creativity was suppressed by the system, by teachers/parents/peers who told them they have to work a desk job, and they can’t live off their passions. I also want to develop more notoriety around my clothing, and incorporate a lot more trumpet into my music. I need to get some tracks on Spotify and Apple Music as well. Long term goals: GET PROZACH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD!
LC: Would you like to stay independent or if given the chance to sign with a major record label, would you take it?
ZP: That really just depends on the deal, and the amount of creative direction I have with the label.
LC: What are some dream collaborators you have (e.g. R&B artists, rapper, producers)?
ZP: Yeezy Yeezy Yeezy Yeezy! If I could work with anyone, it would hands down be Kanye. I’d also love to work with some UK rappers like J Hus, Stormzy, or Skepta. I love their culture.
LC: Tell us about the upcoming songs and mixtapes we should be looking out for?
ZP: I’m releasing my first music video within a month called “Note to Self.” I’m currently working on an EP called “Textin’ Hoes & Lexapro,” as well as an untitled mixtape. Release dates TBA. I’m also working on various collaborations with producers, rappers, singers and guitar players, not just rapping but singing and playing trumpet. A lot of it is coming out this month and next. You’ll see my name around whether you like it or not.
LC: What songs that you released has gotten the most buzz so far?
ZP: I put out a song called “IDEW2” a few months back. It’s not really hip-hop, I don’t even know what genre I’d call it. It’s just a vibe, but it’s doing the best if we’re talking numbers. My last release “Mandown” has gotten a lot of buzz from the CT scene on Twitter.
Follow him on
IG : @ProZach_rx
Check out his collaboration with R&B singer Jameson Glover that dropped earlier this year: