by DJ ZETTEY Z
Lizette Roman-Johnston (DJ ZETTEY Z) grew up in a musical family, which was intimidating for a long time, but eventually, she worked up the courage to put out her first album called “BORDERLINE,” a 13-track work centered around her borderline personality disorder. Through the power of electronic bedroom pop, she touches upon the highs and lows of relationships, young adult life, and mental health.
Listen to the album while reading the text.
Since childhood, I’ve been the kid who sees something and says, “I bet I could do that.” I read literature and say “I can write a book.” I see graphics and say “I can make a design.” I listen to music and say “I can make an album.” So I do.
My father is a professional musician; he performs, teaches, and composes. My sister has been in her fair share of bands and now has two songs out on Spotify. Growing up submerged in music, I felt as though I had some prophecy to fulfill; it wasn’t a nagging pressure but an unspoken duty.
Though I played the violin from third grade through college, I came to the scene of original music a late bloomer. I had written lyrics during high school, but I only taught myself the ukulele right before college; even now, I would hardly call myself an instrumentalist. I am spread thin musically; I am a mediocre vocalist and a mediocre instrumentalist. What I can do is write songs and produce them. I hear artists I like—ones like Sky Ferreira and Lorde—and think, “I bet I could execute a very DIY version of that sound.” So that’s what I attempted to do with “BORDERLINE.” It’s a combination of my influences, my limited musical talent, and my psyche.
Speaking of my psyche, the album is titled “BORDERLINE,” because I have a borderline personality disorder. If you look it up, you’ll understand how someone like me can have a lot of song material. The album is about the high highs and the low lows, whether in relationships or the confines of my brain. One of my favorite things to do is take depressing content and turn it into a playful, sometimes bouncy, tune; this is executed in tracks like “Fckboi 4 Gud,” and “Guilty.” Other songs are more straightforward in their emotion—see “My Lullaby” and “She’s Hard to Read.” I try to make all my songs sound different because there are so many different moods I go through; the content changes, so the sound should too.
As I venture off into the real world (post-collegiate life), I’m sure I will harvest more experiences worth writing music about.