From stitching together tracks in his bedroom with his brother to viral TikTok success and a deal with JAE5’s Sony imprint, 5K Records, a lot has happened for Zakhar in the last three years. Now, just nine months after releasing his first single on the label (“Never Hiding”), the 17-year-old alt-R&B marvel is ready with his debut EP, Scars On My Mind.
Produced by Phrxlla, Morten Lava, Rheum Brew, Jake Gosling, Sammy Sosa, iO and, of course, JAE5, it’s a sort of story so far for Zakhar. Several of his previously released tracks are included inside—“Fly Away”, “DND” and “Better Things”—and to those he adds new joints “Tough Love”, “Pretty”, “No Time”, “One Man Army” and “Real Me”, the latter of which has just been given a fresh set of visuals.
The new video, directed by Chris Chance, tells the story of Zakhar navigating his doubts about a budding relationship. Laid out in his trademark unassuming style, it neatly captures all the mixed-up emotions and conflicts that come with young love in your teens. It’s also worth noting just how spot-on Zakhar’s visuals have been so far; the production value’s consistently high, but just like “Better Things”, for example, it’s grounded in everyday dramas with grey concrete as its scenery.
An impressive batch of down-to-earth storytelling, take in Scars On My Mind in full below.