Quickfire with singer-songwriter Zak Abel

Singer Zak Abel has his sights set on a Grammy Award
Singer Zak Abel has his sights set on a Grammy Award


Guilty pleasure? Watching animated Japanese cartoons such as Naruto. They remind me of my childhood when I was into Digimon, Pokémon and Beyblade.


Where is home? A flat in Pimlico, London, which I share with three friends.


Career plan B? Before committing to music at 16, I was training to become a professional table tennis player and was ranked number one in England.


Who would play you in a movie of your life? Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Miles Teller.


Biggest bugbear? Someone playing music when I’m trying to sleep.


As a child you wanted to be… Batman. I had Batman painted on my wardrobe and loads of different Batman outfits, which I wore to school every day.


Secret to a happy relationship? I’m not really in a position to give advice, but others tell me it’s communication.


Your best quality? Honesty.


And your worst? I can be lazy when I’m not under any work pressure.


Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Buying a teddy bear for a girl at my primary school when I was seven. The next day she told me that she had thrown it in the bin – I’ll never forget it.


Last meal on earth? Falafel.


Dream dinner-party guests? I would like to have a one-on-one with [1970s soul singer] Bill Withers, who is not only a big influence on my music, but is also incredibly wise.


Advice to your teenage self? Don’t imagine you have to have everything figured out before attempting something – just do stuff and learn from the experience.


Cat or dog? I would like a dog one day, but at the moment I hardly have time to look after myself.


On a day off we’d find you… At a yoga class or playing tennis.


Starstruck moment? Being introduced to Paolo Nutini at Radio 1’s Big Weekend a couple of years ago. He had such a strong handshake, it actually hurt.


Big break? I’m yet to have it.


Career highlight? Playing two sold-out shows at London’s Scala in February.


Most embarrassing moment? Trying to chat up a 25-year-old woman at a wedding in Tuscany when I was 16, which didn’t go well. I told her that I was 21.


Favourite tipple? Coconut water.


Hangover cure? I don’t drink alcohol.


Top of your bucket list? To win a Grammy Award.


Secret skill? I can make balls out of beach sand that don’t fall apart when you play catch with them.


One thing that would make your life better? Doing more exercise.


Philosophy? Do your best.


Last film that made you cry? The animated film Moana brought a bit of a tear.


Where would you time travel to? The 1970s, which had the best music from artists such as Bobby Womack, Gil Scott-Heron, Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye.


First record you bought? Lonely Are the Brave by Maverick Sabre.


Most extravagant purchase? A Tempur memory foam pillow – it cost £80, but it’s worth paying for a good sleep.


Biggest fear? Being so distracted by social media that I lose touch with humanity.


Celebrity crush? Lela Loren, who plays Angela Valdes in Power.


Happiness is… Looking at the world clearly, with a sense of understanding.


-Zak’s debut album Only When We’re Naked is out now on Atlantic Records

By John Koski