Biography

Hailing from Croatia … via Amsterdam, Prague and London … singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Zhel
has already had two massively acclaimed albums in his home country, received awards for his video direction and
played support to Sting. But, as those who know him will tell you, it’s what happens next that is the really interesting part.
To begin at the beginning… Born in Pula, Croatia, musician, film-maker and multimedia artist Zhel began his professional
musical career playing guitar in the cult band Messerschmitt. After writing and directing a multimedia project containing live music,
moving images and audio recital he released his first solo album in 1996, instantly acclaimed by critics as one of the
best albums of the year and within twelve months was supporting Sting on the Croatian leg of his international tour.
Zhel…s second solo album, with its brilliant (and often ironic) fusion of styles, was again acclaimed as one of the best
alternative albums of 1998/1999, while his self-directed video Sarcophagus won both the Critics.Award and the
Best New Director Award at the Croatian Film Festival. Making the move to the UK, Zhel freelanced in Brixton and
Cambridge where he signed to the Zenith Publishing Ltd as an in-house writer. He also contributed music to the Zenith
label…s unashamedly bizarre debut single BABY LIZARD STEW (Zenith Café), a disgusting ditty featuring SPANDIX
which had exposure on Nickelodeon and the BBC over Christmas 2003. His skills as a film-maker were also put to good
use, directing pop promos for Jon Sel (Zenith Café) and live action footage for BABY LIZARD STEW … a mostly
animated video for which he provided the main story. In the middle of 2003, Zhel had also started work on his eagerly
awaited UK debut album. A collision of the acoustic and the electronic, HAPPYEND IN THE LUBBERLAND employed
Zhel’s uniquely organic, compile, chop and paste method, combining traditional songwriting and musicianship with found
sounds and samples to create sharp songs that happily defy categorisation. With Stereophonics Steve Bush at the production
desk and highly renowned cover artist Russell Mills lined up to create artwork for both the album and singles, expectations
were running high. Realising the potential, Zhel’s UK publishers decided to abandon the search for a major label and release
it themselves. Unfortunately, the ambition of the inexperienced label was not matched by its ability to deliver on such a major
project. Despite Zhel’s repeated attempts over the next two years to have the album released according to the original agreement
or indeed any agreement the legal dispute remained in deadlock, ensuring that the album was to remain for ever on the shelf.
Never one to give in despite working months on a project nobody will ever hear … Zhel immersed himself in directing and
composing music for corporate videos (Heliyachts, Vivaldi) and experimental animations (Alkuin). Now, refreshed and recharged.
and with a whole new repertoire of surprising, eclectic and distinctive material … the man with the seemingly inexhaustible
creative drive once again stands on the verge of completing that long-awaited UK debut album. Production continues through
2006 … and, as if that isn’t enough, a feature film marking his directorial debut is also planned to coincide with its release.
November-2006 ‘Pelican tired of re-runs’ is released while ‘Long coats’ is completed, awaiting release in early 2008.
Toby Venables


the official website
www.zhel.co.uk

Edited by zhelco on 21 Dec 2007, 20:19

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