Chapter 45 – An Afro-Futuristic Album by Zahyia

Zahyia has released an album called Chapter 45. Zahyia is a songwriter, lyricist, producer and creative visionary and this eight track Baha’i-inspired album includes three songs based on excerpts from the Baha’i Writings, such as a musical meditation on the Long Healing Prayer.

The album is a personal reflection on the 45th year of her life and I was very curious to find out more. Here’s what Zahyia generously shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a songwriter, lyricist, producer and creative visionary living in Rochester, NY (USA) with my husband and four children. I’ve been performing as a full-time musician for over 20 years. When it comes to creating, I have a direct goal of existing in spaces that elevate limited narratives, images, and awareness of what it means to exist as a Black American woman.

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about Chapter 45?

It is my musical journal in Afro-Futurism. What you are hearing is my ancestors, my God, my children, and my journey of evolving through COVID in my 45th year of physical existence.

Baha’i Blog: What was the inspiration behind this album?

Chapter 45 album cover art

Growing up as a Baha’i, I was never able to fully connect with the music available for Baha’is. I felt unseen, unheard and misunderstood. As Baha’is, we understand music is the ladder to the soul but not everyone’s ladder sounds like Folk music. I see the need for more diversity in our music, our expression. I believe that this is the way we attract different hearts to the Cause. Music is a tool and Baha’is can use this not only for devotional praise, but also as a way to transform hearts.

The Rochester Local Spiritual Assembly made a commitment in mid-2021 to the creation of Baha’i music by local Black women. This was a decision inspired by recent guidance but also a response to the lack of Baha’i music online created by Black American women. As a result of some initial funding, two tracks were professionally recorded. After the completion on the two tracks I wanted to share them with the world, not just Baha’is. I did not have an intention to create an album. I just had an intention to create with the direction God led me.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something you’ve learned in the process of creating this album?

Every song on this album was recorded after a three-step process of prayer/act/reflect. I thought a lot about cycles and the importance of three-step processes in our Faith (expansion, consolidation, reflection). I see this album as a musical expansion phase. It will mean nothing without consolidation and reflection. I still don’t know what that will look like because we haven’t gotten there yet.

Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take with them long after they’ve finished listening?

I hope they can hear the world with a different perspective. I want you to truly connect to my heart. Cry with me, rejoice with me, praise with me, and accept me as I am.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Zahyia!

You can find out more about Zahyia and her music by checking out her website: zahyia.com

About the Author

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

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