Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Zowie ready to wow America

Zowie credits her guitarist dad Johnny Fleury for her dynamic sound. Photo / Supplied
Zowie credits her guitarist dad Johnny Fleury for her dynamic sound. Photo / Supplied

She has toured with Katy Perry and can count international star-maker Perez Hilton among her biggest fans but new Kiwi pop sensation Zowie's biggest influence is her middle-aged guitarist dad.

The petite 25-year-old singer from Auckland's North Shore hit the Top 10 on home turf with debut single Broken Machine.

She has travelled the world for the past 18 months promoting her quirky electro-pop music.

Enthusiastic backing from Hilton - who predicted success for Lady Gaga and Perry on his influential showbiz website - has showcased Zowie to a huge US audience.

He reckons her debut album Love Demolition will be a smash.

Hilton raved last week about her new single My Calculator and last year invited her to play at a star-studded private party he threw in Austin, Texas.

"Every time he says something nice about me, my Twitter page goes into meltdown," Zowie said. "It has crashed a few times, when I suddenly get thousands of messages from fans," Zowie said.

Zowie, whose real name is Zoe Fleury, puts much of her dynamic sound down to her music teacher father Johnny, who used to back Dave Dobbyn.

"As well as singing, I also play drums and bass on most of my tracks but it's my dad's crazy guitar solos that really set some of the songs alight," she told the Herald on Sunday.

"He is an amazing player who used to perform live with my previous project Bionic Pixie. We've been playing together since I was 10."

Zowie cites flamboyant performers such as Grace Jones, Gwen Stefani and David Bowie as the inspiration behind her wacky dress sense.

"I love artists who are right out there and do their own thing," she explained.

To craft her image, Zowie works closely with school friend and rising Kiwi fashion designer Serena Fagence.

"If I want a headband and leather jacket with giant eyeballs the size of my hand , she'll make it happen," Zowie said. "If you want to make an impact you have to stand out."

- Herald on Sunday

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