Shatille Bailey, known as Zeus Da Don, was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. Where she started as a theater student at Chaney High School. She started writing music at the age of 14, and taught herself how to play the piano, guitar, and drums. In 2011, Zeus moved to Fort Myers Florida, diving deep into the music scene she began DJ at clubs and managing underground artist. She continued to manage underground artist when she moved to Columbus. She then released her first mixtape in 2019 called “Perfection Takes Time”. Releasing her first EP called “deception.” in 2020. Zeus is the Founder and owner of Zeulympus Entertainment and tumble. By Zeus. She is inspired by a lot of different artist from Janet Jackson, Chuck Berry, Aaliyah, Nas, Kendrick Lamar and many more.
- Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
Zeus Da Don: I’m from Youngstown, Ohio and I have been songwriting since 14.
- Do you handle both the songwriting and beats on your songs, or do you collaborate with others?
Zeus Da Don: I collaborate with others for the beat. I’m not really good at the making the beat on the computer but I can make the beat like beatboxing and then my Producer creates it. I do all of the songwriting.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
Zeus Da Don: Oh wow, Nas, Chuck Berry, Mos Def, 2Pac, Journey, Bon Jovi, Notorious B.I.G., and Janet Jackson. Honestly my mom and dad and stepfather make sure that I was well aware of all kinds of music and especially different genres.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Zeus Da Don: Mostly, anything that I rap about is things I’ve been through. Things I’ve witnessed. I’ve had good times and bad times. So I feel like nobody actually has one emotion, and my music will make them feel all the emotions. I believe it will be what they need when they need it.
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?
Zeus Da Don: Oh yes definitely, I have emulated different artists. I had a moment where I didn’t like my voice. I didn’t like the way I sounded on recordings or anything like that, so if I can say the development as of now is I’m starting to like my voice more. I’m learning how to be more clever with my metaphors too.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Zeus Da Don: Honestly I feel like when you have people who look at your opinions and look up to you it is impossible to not be the type of musician to not have any views because people appreciate your opinion I mean they listen to you when I have problems so I went to listen to your political or cultural your social Themes. I know I am in the US industry. I am a African-American woman who lives in a world where there is racism and there’s all kinds of hatred from other people and that’s unfortunate but I know the kind of world I’m in, and I feel like music can bring people close together, to divide people apart. I could start a war, you can make someone fall in love, it does so many different things so it’s impossible not to.
- Do you ever write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on your own personal vision and trust that people will empathize with your sound?
Zeus Da Don: It’s a mixture of both. I believe that some people will empathize with my sound. But I also know in this game, in this industry, in this career to stay afloat, sometimes you have to go with the trends, so I’ll do a little bit of both I like to make the trend my own.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, or a narrative in your head?
Zeus Da Don: It depends on my mood, sometimes it’s a beat that get me going. Sometimes I just have something on my mind that I want to right. There is usually lyrics in my mind all day every day. One thing I can say is I never start a song, come back to it later and finish it or keep adding on line by line. I normally finish whatever song I started on
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your career so far?
Zeus Da Don: Definitely balancing my career life and my personal life. I am why people call a workaholic, so I’m usually always working. I’m always doing something to be creative or to make myself better in my career, so learning balance is definitely it.
- On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your career so far?
Zeus Da Don: Dropping my first album the one thing that will definitely beat that moment would be going platinum for the first time or gold.
- Could you tell us more about the scope of Zeulympus Entertainment?
Zeus Da Don: Zeulympus entertainment is a company that a friend and I created because we were tired of going to producers and instead of them doing what we needed, they did what they wanted. We have a couple of different artists on it. Our alternative artist, Davy Crockett’s Ghost, Actually drops their Excalibur album in late February so definitely be sure to check that out.
- How did the moniker Zeus Da Don come about?
Zeus Da Don: Oh man you don’t want to know that story all I’m gonna say is, it involves alcohol a party and friends.
- If you had a choice to go on tour with any acclaimed international artist in the near future, who would you choose, and why?
Zeus Da Don: Janet Jackson. I mean you always wanna go on tour with someone you look up to, with one of the reasons you started doing this, so definitely gonna have to say Janet Jackson.
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
Zeus Da Don: I don’t read ratings or anything like that. I ignore that stuff. I mean I have naysayers in my own family that I ignore, so why wouldn’t. I ignore people that I don’t even know.
- Could you tell us something about your latest project and what the highlights are to watch out for?
Zeus Da Don: Oh man definitely! What I can say is Ungodly Manners is going to be absolutely amazing I went through a very turbulent year and that year I’ve learned a lot, so darling watch out for songs like Acid Trip and I Cry and Save Me and Whatever, they’re going to be awesome.
- Do you have a personal favorite track amongst those in your catalogue that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
Zeus Da Don: I have a funny story for one of the songs that I did. And it’s for the song “sextures”. In the song I had to teach myself how to be sexual on a song. .I’m a really private person so when I did the song I actually didn’t even let the Producer be in the studio with me when I did the vocals. I just pressed the buttons all myself and let the producer mixed and mastered it when I wasn’t around. I’m extremely shy when it comes to stuff like that so he thought it was hilarious but he also understood like why I didn’t wanna do it. I was like no no no I don’t want to do it.
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most?
Zeus Da Don: Definitely live crowd because when it comes to a live crowd you can feed off of their energy and vice versa. I love going to the studio because I love being completely me and unapologetically me, but I have to say when it comes to excitement I’m definitely going to the audience.
- What’s your favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Zeus Da Don: “Be the best YOU, YOU can be. Because you’re the only YOU it can be” – My Grandma.
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a video you suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your craft?
Zeus Da Don: It can be very essential if you feel like you need to explain how you envision that song. My music video Acid Trip will be out right after the album drops, so I think the fans are gonna love it.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Zeus Da Don: The most rewarding thing about what I do is knowing that there’s a possibility that my music can save someone. My goal is to be able to work with the artist who saved me, like Nas, Janet Jackson and Kendrick Lamar.