The Zoo Human Project

The Zoo Human Project

BandPopSinger/Songwriter

A nationally touring acoustic rock/soul trio - mixing acoustic guitars with world percussion and three-part harmonies.

Biography

THE ZOO HUMAN PROJECT (ZHP) is comprised of three friends: Derek Martinez, Jen Cordero, and Kevin Sakamoto. Formed in Los Angeles, they decided to quit their full-time jobs and tour nationally to promote their first album, "Innominata" (released 2006). Much to their delight, they made it back to California with enough cash to fund their second album, "Naissance" (released 2007).

ZHP’s tunes are a frenetic blend of dueling guitars, funky world percussion, and tight three-part harmonies. Sacramento Bee's music critic, Chris Macias, awarded them with SINGLE OF THE WEEK (song "NWT") - while Press Tribune's writer, Nathan Donato-Weinstein, published The Zoo Human Project as one of the CITY’S BEST MUSIC BETS. Their sincerest critical description comes from Travel Author J. Lustre: “… [ZHP’s music] shouldn't make any sense. Jen Cordero's vocal range and oomph are ripe for musical theater. Derek Martinez's acoustic-driven songs are reminiscent of Dave Matthews. And percussionist Kevin Sakamoto takes cues from African beats and funk. But the trio must be musical alchemists because in the end it DOES work..."

And so it does, according to independent radio stations and retail chains. Their songs continue to garner airplay across the country, including rotations on YAHOO! MUSIC'S LaunchCast Radio “The Coffeehouse” station (alongside Jason Mraz and Sara Bareilles). Meanwhile, “Innominata” and “Naissance” are distributed through select BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC stores nationally. Perhaps they’re onto something new… something different. How did it all begin?

Derek adorned his childhood with years of eclectic musical exposure such as The Beatles, Santana, and Pearl Jam. He played in different bands during high school, plus Drumline and Jazz Band – and later won the Las Vegas TV-talent series “StarCaster Live!” (BEST MALE VOCALIST). While finishing his Recording Arts degree from USC, Martinez released a solo album (“PileUP”) – revealing his flawless attention to detail, from songwriting to engineering and production. He deftly weaves percussive riffs and brings poignant lyrics to the forefront of ZHP’s music.

Jen was influenced by genres her older brother listened to: a dissecting array of Broadway musicals, Hip Hop, and Urban AC. Songwriting began in her early twenties, along with learning how to play guitar from a “wonderful book with pictures!” She also won the Las Vegas TV-talent series “StarCaster Live!” (BEST FEMALE VOCALIST), and featured in the showcase “SOCAL’S BEST UNSIGNED TALENT”. Her Biology degree from USC lends no help with music theory, but Cordero’s natural ear for soaring melodies (and compulsive desire for structure) helps color, define, and amplify ZHP’s elusive sound.

Kevin’s journey began as a child; years of piano lessons heavily ingrained him with musical rhetoric, and a passion for beats blossomed from watching his brother play drums. He dabbled in several garage bands and flourished as Section Leader of his Drumline at Oakmont High School. By developing the uncanny ability to make ANY surface drum-able, he now makes his own line of Cajons. Sakamoto’s influences include Chad Sexton, Keith Moon, and Carter Beauford – but he brings to ZHP a very distinct rhythmic flair all on his own, one that he extends to many affluent bands in Northern California.

Three roots, one bloom: The Zoo Human Project. They successfully performed three national tours, completely self-booked and marketed grassroots-style. By doubling their profits each consecutive tour through increased merchandise sales and venue guarantees, they understand first-hand what it takes to be thriving, entrepreneurial musicians. Giving back to the community through charities and benefits are also vitally important to them, contributing to: SUSAN G. KOMEN FOUNDATION, LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, and various academic scholarship funds.

This unsigned acoustic trio continues to saturate various college markets throughout the US (COLUMBIA, SCRIPPS, SONOMA STATE, UC DAVIS, UC IRVINE, and more). Their live shows are polished from hundreds of performances – layered with intense energy, fun banter with the crowd, and connecting with fans of all ages through music. They are currently sponsored by DICKIES CLOTHING, and recently performed their unique version of the NATIONAL ANTHEM at ARCO ARENA to over 12,000 people for a Sacramento Kings game.

The Zoo Human Project is now recording their third album release in Sacramento, CA. Please check their ongoing concert schedule to catch a show near you!

PERFORMANCE HISTORY:
LOS ANGELES, CA
Anaheim Stadium
Banana Boat Room
Nucleus Art Gallery
C&D's Welcome Cafe
CBS Studios - MacDay LA
Café Europe
Genghis Cohen
Highland Grounds
House of Blues
Karma Coffeehouse
King King's
Lava Lounge
Rainbow Room
Room 5
Synergy Cafe
Scripps College
The Derby
The Dragonfly
The Joint
The Key Club
The Knitting Factory
The Roxy
UC Irvine
University of Southe

Lyrics

Let Me In

Written By: Jen Cordero

When I came home last night, you didn't have much to say
Left the dinner on the table silently
I thought, hey...
Why the long face?
Why the absence of a heart once filled with life?

So I gave you some space, maybe you needed time
Time turned into days, turned into melodies of mine
All I ever really wanted was to be inside
Was it too much to ask to...

Let me in?
Find a way...

I tried again today, asked what weighs heavy on your heart
Why you chose a path and walked
before I could start?
All you did was look at me with pain in your eyes
So hard to stand aside, please...

Let me in
Find a way

Naissance

Written By: Jen Cordero & Derek Martinez

One can wonder about how you left
But true beauty's found in how you lived
World won't be the same with you gone
In our hearts, my friend, you live on

My voice calls with the breeze...
My hand waves in the rustling leaves...

Countless people that you've been there for
Resurrect you with the smiles you bring

Feel my love swell like the ocean...
Feel my strength rooted deep in the earth...

World won't be the same with you gone
In our hearts, my friend, you live on
See this emptiness can't be ignored
But instead is filled by your memory

My eyes shine throughout night and day...
My smile remains for you always...
My eyes shine throughout night and day...
My smile remains for you always.

Duality

Written By: Jen Cordero

Lately, my mind's been in constant duality
Finding ways to fulfill my destiny

One voice says that music's the only way
Then another says to turn away

But if you took it away from me, I'd go up to the highest mountain and say
You stole my freedom!
You no good son of a --
You took the only thing that really mattered

Failing's always been my constant enemy
Where I'd feel like quitting before I begun

But if I took a step forward instead of back
Maybe then I'd find peace in my song

If you took it away from me, I'd go up to the highest mountain and say
You stole my freedom!
You no good son of a --
You took the only thing that really mattered

Welcome Home

Written By: Derek Martinez

Before you I was empty
Past was a fog
My future unclear
But you covered me in understanding
I found security in your unwavering love

A perfect union transcended
Once the two of us became three
Bound by your everything
Kept warm by your light
In your embrace we could weather any storm

But when your sun went down
I knew it’d come around again

I will always be your baby
And you’ll always be my blanket
You will always be my long-stemmed beauty

Forever here
You’re a part of me
God knows I’ll never be ready
To let you go
They say that it’s where the heart is
So with open arms
I tell you
Welcome home

Cause when your sun went down
I knew it’d come around
Can’t wait to see you smile
Again

NWT

Written By: Derek Martinez

This is the end, long before it began
And by this time you would figure
That you would be here
You're gone...

Thought it would be great
We both could undertake
A life change transition
Metamorphose into one

Could this just be a phase?
Or could these be my last days here in this place?
Dodging all these moments, perfect in fear
This life a dream, that much is clear

Cause I never woulda thought...

Today we can dance like before it began
Completely caught off guard by added elements

Could this just be a phase?
Or could these be my last days here in this place?
Dodging all these moments, perfect in fear
This life a dream, that much is clear

Cause I never woulda thought...

We were doomed to end since the beginning, but we're still here
Commence to finish, termination is near
This life a dream, that much is clear...

Never woulda thought...

Discography

Album #1 - "Innominata" - released June 2006
Album #2 - "Naissance" - released August 2007

Set List

SINGLE BILL PERFORMANCES: ~ up to 3 HOURS.
(3 sets, w/two 10min breaks).

CO-BILL PERFORMANCES: ~30 to 90 min.

REPERTOIRE:
30+ Original songs
10+ Cover songs