Starting Over at Z3R0

Reinvention and recreation is a recurring notion that is often expressed when artists mull over decisions that centre on their longevity. Sometimes, like in the case of Paragon (real name Ross Melow) – starting at “Ground Zero” does occasionally happen as a result of an overhaul.

In the same way as his label mate at TitusTrack Entertainment; Chron Burgundy, also found that with growth comes the inevitable force of change and re-adaptation. It happens in all forms of life such as business and commerce, as well as nature if one considers the theory of evolution.

The artist formerly known as Paragon, has now taken on the moniker of Z3R0. If you are familiar with the Megaman video game and animated series, there’s a character called Zero who was given that name because “nothing is absolute, and circumstances can change anything”. Also with former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, who himself was known as “Agent Zero”, featured prominently on the Adidas “Impossible Is Nothing” adverts. Gilbert Arenas turned himself into an All Star player though he was told he would play “Zero Minutes” at collegial level.

Sometimes, to feel comfortable within your own skin, be at peace with circumstances that occur and take yourself to the next level, one has to start at “ZR30”. For that reason, we at Lavatory Records felt compelled to start with Z3R0 and ask him the pressing questions with no further ado.

Lavatory Records

 Lavatory Records: This must be the burning question on everybody’s lips…  Why the change of name?

Z3R0: It was just the right time for me. I think it was a shock to everyone except my brother (Uni-VERSE) and my girlfriend, they’ve known for years that I was planning on making a change, so it’s not an impulsive thing it was a pretty tough choice.

I’ve used the name Paragon from a very young age and I’ve just outgrown it, in terms of what I want and who I am. I think it completely clicked in for me when “We Can Ride” was being played on 5FM and DJ Fresh was kind enough to really plug myself and the song after they had spun it, and when I heard him saying “Paragon” it felt really good but not completely right at the same time. Something inside of me just twisted and I was reminded of this ‘name’ thing hanging over my head and the other changes I needed to make to be more true to myself.

I also feel the name Z3R0 is more current and marketable in terms of a brand that I would like to be and build. I felt like I was in a time-warp with Paragon, if that makes sense. But now it feels like everything is how it is meant to be for me to move forward

LR: How is Z3R0 different from Paragon?

Z3R0: Z3RO is half Paragon and half something else, so gauging ‘difference’ would be a tricky one because the foundation will always be Paragon. If you listen to my project ‘Breaking the Silence’ and consider everything I say on tracks like ‘For You’, ‘Made it Right’, ‘Welcome Home’ and the song ‘Breaking the Silence’ itself, it’s best to explain Z3R0 as the logical progression from that as opposed to a change. For me the only ‘difference’ between Paragon and Z3R0 is growth.

I’d hate to use the example of a caterpillar and the butterfly, because it’s bad for my street-cred, but that is really the best example. Now that I’ve said that and I thought about it, it is actually perfect because the ‘silence’ was the time when I went into my cocoon and then I broke the silence and wow… goodbye street-cred.

I will be dealing with aspects of the switch on my debut LP, but I don’t want to say much else about that.

LR: What can be expected from Z3R0 as compared to Paragon musically?

Z3R0: I think you can expect a lot more. I mean a lot of people associated Paragon with underground rap because of the stuff I did way back in school, but I was sitting in my studio at night composing film scores and making house, jazz, dance or whatever other forms of music I was enjoying or being asked to produce. So musically I can definitely say that I will be exploring my full range and fusing more genres and trying to create new moods and sounds when possible. I think I’ll also just be having a lot more fun because I got what I needed to off of my chest with my previous offering and now I’m moving forward.

 LR: Apart from the name change, what else have you been up to since the last time you spoke to Lavatory Records?

Z3R0: I’ve been busy with film stuff. Hybrid Fusion started production on a short-film in early August, so I’ve been preoccupied with that. Also planning a music video roster for myself for the remainder of the year and helping my TTE stable mates out with their visuals when they need it and all that.

But I think you want to hear that I’ve started working on a new project… which I have. You guys might get it in this year, but I can’t say right now to be honest.

LR: As far as the Breaking the Silence project is concerned, would it be repackaged or completely done away with?

Z3R0: It’s a good piece of work so I’d never just do away with it. I’ve been up in the air about repackaging it because I’m still marketing it and it is the ‘last’ Paragon project, so I’m sentimental about keeping it that way but I know it may confuse some people. I honestly can’t say I’ve made that decision yet.

 LR: You have your first song, Afraid; under the name Z3R0 is on the IMF Volume 1 mixtape. What is the song about?

Z3R0: The song is about the most common issue that most of us face and have to deal with on the daily. It’s in every industry, around every corner and in most social settings. In one word I guess the song is about jealousy. In one line I say “Someone’s always angry over something that they can’t be, so they’ll turn around and hate you just for being who you can be”.

People treat you differently when they or the people around them see you as a threat or direct competition. I’ve had dudes in the industry tell me they’re not going to put me on because they don’t think my sound is dope, but then they ask me for beats literally seconds after that. I’ve had people say I’m amazingly dope but they won’t feature me because I’m going to outshine them or make them look bad… and so the story goes.

But not to drag things out, we all feel unjustified hatred at times while we’re just trying to do and be our best and I’ve had so many people vibe with the track because I’m just saying what’s on a lot of people’s minds.

LR: Where to for Z3R0 from here on?

 Z3R0: I’m just adventuring, putting stuff out and having fun. I’m going to have some faith and do what feels right ‘because what I want to achieve is so big that I don’t know how to get there or where it is… I just know what it looks like’.

Lavatory Records

Thanks Z3R0 for taking time out and speaking to us, Lavatory Records wishes you the absolute best on your rebranding and everything else you’re planning to do.

Follow Z3RO on Twitter: @TheOnlyParagon, Facebook and Instagram: @paragon_insta for updates on performances, appearances and much more, and also subscribe to his YouTube Channel. To book Z3R0, send your email inquiries to bookings@titustrack.co.za .You can also follow TitusTrack Entertainment on Facebook and Twitter: @TitusTrack.

Click here to read the interview with Paragon, before the name change. Don’t forget to check his single called “Afraid” on the IMF Volume 1 Mixtape, as hosted by Lavatory Records and Boss Brain Entertainment.

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