Azul wants you to try just a little bit harder to believe in magic.

If that ask feels hard—or a little too Disney for 2021’s zeitgeist—first press play and spend a few minutes with “Magic,” the singer-songwriter Azul Zapata‘s earnest single premiering on the INDY website today, a day ahead of its release on Bandcamp and other streaming services. 

“Do you believe in magic? / Not trying to scare you, I’m just asking,” she implores in the song, between seismic swells of feeling.

That question may be well-trod ground, but “Magic” feels like a true pop song—lush, catchy, persuasive, and full of the kind of pent-up drama that makes the quest for greater belief and optimism feel fresh. Zapata’s voice is bold and reaching; this is a single with the thrill of a big beginning. 

Zapata, an outreach coordinator at Drum Team Collective, has been making music in the Triangle for four years, working with acts like NANCE and Wake Moody, but “Magic” signifies the first release under her name (four more singles will follow this year, culminating in an EP). She’s quick to emphasize, though, that she plans to continue to collaborate and share the stage. 

“I’m a queer immigrant and I believe in the power of investing in representation on stage,” Zapata says. “I’ve never done a show where I was the only female-presenting person on stage. And I never will.”

“Magic” was recorded at BNB Audio in Chapel Hill, mastered by Jesse Cannon, and produced by Alex Thompson. It will be available on streaming platforms, including Bandcamp and Spotify, beginning on Friday, January 29. 

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