Anthony Zarou makes waves with his newly-released music


In just one hour, sophomore Anthony Zarou’s song “Prologue to My Insanity” garnered 250 plays on SoundCloud. In just ten days, his song now has over 5,000 plays.

“It’s really kind of nerve-wracking when you first decide you’re actually going make music and put it out,” Anthony said, “because you don’t know what people are going to think.”

This moment of anticipation mixed in with an understandable amount of fear right before clicking upload didn’t happen overnight. For years, music has been a part of Anthony’s life.

It all started with the fateful decision as a child to start playing the violin. Even at a young age, he couldn’t contain his love for instruments. Ranging from guitars, to the piano, to drums, his love for making music started by the time he could read.

“It was mostly my decision [to start playing instruments as a kid],” Anthony said. “My parents kind of helped me out. They introduced me to music and stuff which I liked. Then I took some of the influences from that and used it to make my music.”

Becoming enamored with music, Anthony fell into the genre of dubstep which eventually introduced him into producing music.

“I used to like dubstep and stuff like that,” Anthony said. “It was when I was eight, and I just thought it was interesting and cool [that] everyone can basically take a computer and make music out of it.”

Dubstep, a genre of music that features strong instrumentals, bridged the gap between simply playing sheet music and actually producing the music he had wanted to play.

Following the footsteps of the music he liked, Anthony downloaded Ableton, a digital audio workstation, in order to pursue his passion. On this software, he was able to learn what works through trial and error and how exactly all the tools came together to make a song.

Beginning with the basics, Anthony began to produce music under the name Kenji on SoundCloud. While holding no backstory, the name holds significance to Anthony’s branding.

“I just kept playing around,” Anthony said. “Then, finally, I found the name Kenji, and I thought it was really cool. It’s something you’re definitely going to remember. That’s the one good thing about it. It’s kind of odd.”

Using this impactful name, Anthony started off releasing electronic-styled music that dabbled in the dubstep and EDM genres he listened to at the time; however, as his music tastes changed, so did his creations.

With Anthony’s newer music, elements of hip-hop and rap override his older style of music. Using the artists he looks up to, Anthony is able to channel inspiration into lyrics and songs.

“[I learned from] just listening to other artists that I respected [and] that I liked, that I thought sounded good,” Anthony said. “From there, I took some of their inspiration, and I made it my own a little bit.”

Many of the artists Anthony looks up to include Diplo, XXXTentacion, and Ski Mask the Slump God. These people who dominate the music industry have been a source of inspiration to Anthony’s music, but he doesn’t just look up to celebrities.

Local support, especially from Myles, his cousin, has kept Anthony going.

“[Myles] was the one that kind of helped me get this dream started,” Anthony said. “He just said to do it no matter what people think and just keep doing it. He’s the one that I call every now and then to help me if I don’t feel like [the music] is doing well; he’s really been supportive.”

This unconditional support has meant a lot to Anthony. With the intense pressure of releasing music added to the judgemental years of high school, it can be anything but easy to put music out for everyone to see.

“Once you press that [upload] button,” Anthony said, “you can take it down, but besides that, there’s really not any way to stop people from seeing it. A lot of it is just really, really scary. Eventually, that kind of gets easier if you feel confident in music.”

After clicking upload, everything is up in the air. Music can be taken positively or negatively, and in the amplified setting of high school, critics are harsh no matter what.

With Anthony’s recent release of his single “Prologue to My Insanity” on SoundCloud, he has yet to experience this. Instead, the drop of his song was welcomed with high praise, and the word spread quickly across all platforms, making it all worth it to Anthony.

“It’s kind of one of those moments where you almost feel like jumping,” Anthony said. “You’re literally that excited. [“Prologue to My Insanity”] took me four months to actually completely finish, and to get recognition for it and to get admiration and respect from others is one of the reasons I like [making music] so much. It was really cool to be able to do that.”

Having found satisfaction in his music now, Anthony is prepared to go with the flow of his future. While the music industry may not always be a guarantee, he hopes that wherever he ends up, he finds fulfillment in what he does.

“Whatever happens [in the future],” Anthony said, “I’m okay with as long as it ends up being something that I [find] exciting and I find pleasure in. I don’t want to be one of those people that don’t want to go to work every day when they wake up. So, I’m just going to try to find a way to [do] what I love to do.”