'Zel | Therealzellyzel
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'Zel | Therealzellyzel

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Hip Hop R&B




"Meet the Musicians of 11FEST!"

We’re so lucky to have so many great performers TONIGHT (11/11) at BAPL! Let’s meet a few. Artist interviews by Madison Hummel, Moravian University.

Who is part of the band?

‘Zel is a solo artist, but he does perform with his sister Melladi who sings backup vocals for his sets. He also enjoys performing with bands and hopes to one day have a consistent band to travel and perform with.

What kind of music do you play?

‘Zel is a Hip-Hop artist who fuses melodic R&B, Soul and Jazz elements in his music. ‘Zel’s music is heavily influenced by artists such as Drake, Kendrick and J.Cole, The Neptunes, Ryan Leslie, and 70s artists such as The Whispers, and Michael Jackson.

How long have you been making music together?

‘Zel has been making music for the last ten years. He started out as a local producer, making beats for his friends in high school and then decided to try his hand at making his own music, becoming a solo artist a few years later.

What are your favorite songs that you’ve made?

‘Zel’s favorite song that he’s made is titled “Sunshine”, which was released in 2021 on all platforms. The song was one that was made years ago, combining the smooth sounds of 70s Roy Ayer’s “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” and revamping it as a sample to create a modern hip-hop track. The song laid dormant for some time, unfinished. He decided to rejuvenate and complete the song, which has since been a local fan favorite.

Have you played at 11Fest before? What was that experience like?

This would be ‘Zel’s first time performing at 11Fest and he’s extremely excited to share his craft at the Bethlehem Library. He hopes that he can bring something unique and pleasantly surprising to the audience.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s 11Fest?

Besides being able to perform for new people, ‘Zel is excited to perform new music from his recently released mixtape, “Inception: The Mixtape” and see how well it connects with the audience. ‘Zel is also excited to have his brand team, Rebellious, helping with set design for the event this year. - Bethlehem Area Public Library: Madison Hummel, Moravian University


Still working on that hot first release.



Innovative, thought-provoking and nostalgic, 'Zel, born as Denzel Rodriguez, an up and coming artist, emerges with compelling sounds deriving from the '70s, '80s and '90s. 'Zel was born in Bronx, New York on August 22, 1994, to his two loving parents, Daniel and Laura Rodriguez. As a child, 'Zel was surrounded by music and the musically talented. Waking up to the smooth sounds of The Whispers "And The Beat Goes On" and Mary Jane "All Night Long", from his parents vast collection of Vinyl records or his siblings' musical talents. Although for 'Zel, there was no one true defining moment that caused his infatuation with music, he memorably fell in love with music when he heard Michael Jackson's "Butterflies".

By the fifth grade 'Zel was in his school's band, playing the trombone. He however took for granted the experience he would gain from being an infamous "band geek". Through band, 'Zel learned the fundamentals of instruments and music notes and built his foundation in music. Through his band instructor, he gained discipline, an understanding of the emotion in music and the ability to manage and compose sound to its finest details. All of which aided ‘Zel in his venture into music production.

In 2010, during 'Zel's junior year in high school, heavily inspired by Ryan Leslie and the Neptunes, 'Zel began teaching himself to play the piano. Using an 88-key Yamaha DGX 505 piano, (originally intended for his older sibling), he began to dabble in the composition of his own original beats through first, recreating the beats of others. 'Zel would recreate the beats of various artists' songs, such as Drake "Over", by simply listening to the song being played and reiterating it in the comfort of his home. Through this expression, 'Zel discovered his knack for word play, rhythm and groove.

Now, looking to influence the masses with his sound and words, 'Zel is looking to take his music mainstream as an up and coming artist, music producer and musician.

Band Members