Singer-songwriter ENZI was surfing the Internet looking for samples to incorporate into a song when she chanced upon a voicemail recording of an irate man asking: “When will Mercury get out of retrograde, because it’s driving me batshit!”
“I was like, 'That is absolutely hilarious,'” says ENZI. “I thought it would be cool to to take that concept of Mercury being in retrograde and flip it on its head a little bit.”
She asked a friend more versed in astrology to explain what the term means and learned that adherents of the ancient study of heavenly bodies tend to feel like the world becomes backward when the first planet from the sun goes into retrograde. (Retrograde just means that Mercury, which has a shorter orbit, has lapped the Earth and appears to switch directions in the sky.)
“If you are normally a really laid-back person, you’re probably more likely to be way more impulsive and make not-so-great decisions,” she says. “I thought it would be interesting to write this anti-love song. Not a breakup song, but something more like when you can’t stop thinking of one person.”
That inspiration led to ENZI’s latest single, the aptly titled “Retrograde.” She says the song alludes to things that normally sensible people might not do when the world is thrown out of whack — specifically, the universally acknowledged bad idea of texting a former romantic partner. Everyone has done it, and ENZI is granting the guilty permission to just blame it on the stars.
The song maintains the pop sensibilities of her previous work but is more sonically experimental and includes tinges of psychedelia and spacey weirdness that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Flaming Lips track.
“I wanted to go for stellar vibe, a little bit like the astronomy we were talking about,” she says. “I want someone to listen to the song and think, ‘Yeah, this sounds like what space could sound like.”
Hailing from Loveland, which she still considers her residence, ENZI is currently attending Belmont University in Nashville and majoring in songwriting and social media management. She is also a certified audio engineer, which she says helps her be more present in the studio while her songs are being produced. She worked with Nashville-based sibling production duo Josh and Noah Ryan on “Retrograde.” The single sprang from an informal attempt at making a demo recording to test how the trio worked together.
“When I handed off the sample I thought had inspired the song, Noah especially went wild for it,” she says. “He loves samples, and that makes me feel good, because I was like, ‘Oh, thank God,’ this is a weird idea. So we really just ran with it.”
She credits some of the sonic shift in “Retrograde” to the input of the brothers Ryan, but adds that she prides herself on “being in the room” when her songs are produced. She sees pushing her style as critical to the evolution of her music.
“I didn’t want to just make songs to be trendy,” she says. “I wanted to make songs that really resonated with my personal experience. Everything I’ve ever learned is, the more specific you are in your songwriting, in any kind of writing, the more universal you’ll be. So many people have gone through the same things or similar situations.”
“Retrograde” is available to stream on multiple platforms, a list of which is available at iamenzi.com.
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