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Elizabeth City’s DL Zene Releases Debut EP Ringing With Hope And Love

A Black woman standing with her hand touching her ear while looking off to the left. She is wea
Courtesy of DL Zene

DL Zene was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. As a young kid, Zene learned to love the overflowing harmonies of her aunts and mother singing atop her grandmother’s baritone voice. Zene began singing with the local gospel group Mary and Martha at age 13 and took lessons at the renowned jazz program at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black college. 

No one can ever love you the same way you love yourself.

In high school, she coupled her music with athletics, lettering in track and basketball. But after her coach set her up for a walk-on opportunity at North Carolina Central University in Durham, she chose to leave behind sports for music. At Central, Zene made a name for herself. She opened for Rapsody, Anthony Hamilton, Common, and other visiting stars. But amidst the academic and artistic success, she struggled with heartbreak. After years of teaching herself guitar and reflecting on the many definitions of love — including those that hurt — she has released her first record. “Love Again Unplugged” is a live-recorded EP featuring Zene’s impressive range and a classic R&B sound. The live recordings show off Zene’s ability to amplify her musician’s contributions with vocal riffs. Songs move from trauma and regret to hopeful notes of self-forgiveness and bliss. Host Frank Stasio takes a listen to some samples off the EP and discusses the messages within with musician DL Zene.


Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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