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Move over Ducklings: Make Way for Zoe!

By on April 30, 2021

If ducks could sing, they would quack. If any books about Boston come to mind, many of us may be familiar with Robert McCloskey’s illustrated children’s story about a family of ducks set in the Boston Public Gardens.  All ducking aside, Boston has also given birth and rise to a few famous bands and musicians. Could there be a young Greek-American artist now among them? Zoe Behrakis believes in the healing power of music. A junior at Boston College studying psychology, Zoe is also a singer/songwriter. Her first song Echo was followed by the release of two more singles, all of which she has co-written and were inspired by her ideas.

So how does a teenager from the classic Bostonian suburb of Sudbury, Massachusetts, get involved with the downhome “music city” scene that brought us songstress legends and stars like Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift? She credits her voice coach, Sharon Erman, who was acquainted with a performing arts development organization, PCG, based in Nashville.  The agency sent representatives to Boston for the weekend who, upon hearing Zoe sing, invited her to join their Emerging Artist program full time. Zoe was shocked. She was on her way to Nashville. It was all so new to her, but she knew it was something she wanted to pursue. Her family has stood by her since she started the program, and she is very grateful to them for always encouraging her dreams and goals. That support came in handy for a young teenage girl who enjoyed giving concerts in her livingroom for family and friends.

Some of Zoe’s influences include Whitney Houston, Ariana Grande, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Selena Gomez, Frank Ocean, and The 1975. She describes her style as pop with a hint of R&B, but Zoe admits she is still discovering herself: “I think I’m still sort of discovering my sound, but after every song I wrote, I realized and understood further what I lean towards, and that would be pop.” After hearing her debut single Grace, I might go as far as to say ambient pop if that could be a genre. Inspired by the challenges people faced staying home during the pandemic, Grace is a song about strength and resilience, and overcoming the difficulties.  Zoe’s voice is lucid and dreamy, defining all the elegance and refinement of soothing grace.

Although Zoe does not play any instruments, she seeks to incorporate the styles she likes into her music. She is proud of her Greek heritage and appreciates the culture that has been passed down to her from her grandparents’ generation. In that vein, she is exploring the use of traditional Greek instruments with her music, like the bouzouki, which can be compared to a Greek banjo. What better place to “test out” this instrument and introduce it to a wider audience through accessible pop music, other than in the region of blue grass? Nashville seems like the perfect place for this aspiring young singer and songwriter to continue developing her music talent, and to bring a little Greek blues into her R&B pop style.

Her third single Strangers is a more upbeat, perky dance tune that many of us can also relate to. The lyrics are about people coming into your life, only to realize you are better off as strangers, not getting too close to them. She didn’t want to make it necessarily specific to a romantic relationship. It can also be applied to friendships.  This one is fun and catchy, reminiscent of a throwback to a bouncy, whimsical 80s pop song. I even found myself putting on some dance moves in my own livingroom, with no audience, singing the simple lyrics that make pop music fun.

On campus, Zoe is involved with the Bostonians, an acapella group. She has been involved with them since she was a Freshman and considers them like family. She is also drawn to the idea of music therapy for children: “I love the idea of using music as something that can help people with anything they’re going through. I know for me music has been something that has helped me immensely, so I would love to do something in that realm.”

I asked Zoe where she saw herself in 10 years.  Making more music is her goal: “If I could see myself 10 years from now, I would hope that I would’ve put out more music, but mainly I hope that I will have done something with my music that has helped people. That would be my biggest goal, and I hope I would achieve that within the next 10 years.”

For now, Zoe is focusing on finishing up her studies, but the future holds a bright star for her on her music pursuits, whether it’s helping people with it, releasing her own albums, or both. We look forward to hearing more of Zoe’s music, as she continues to uncover the depths of her musical style.  It may be Nashville or somewhere else, but from the city that brought us Aerosmith, The Cars, New Kids on the Block, New Edition, James Taylor, Donna Summer, and a few others, my beloved hometown of Boston and alma mater BC, may soon be adding Zoe Behrakis to its repertoire of music artists. To read more about her and links to her music, visit zoebehrakismusic.com

About Athena Efter