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.
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.