Seattle, Washington, USA
BandHip HopAlternative

ZNI's sound is universally marketable because it's catchy and easy to relate to. He's a unique artist who talks about real-life issues that impacted his life. He shatters the stereotype of rappers and resonates with fans across genres through his unique musical arrangements and innovative lyrics.


Born Ziyanai Maraire, which means “to know each other” and “to give wisdom” in his native Shona language, ZNI takes his name to heart as he creates music and lyrics that allow listeners to get to know him and share in inspirational moments of his life.

ZNI comes by his passion and musical talent naturally. He is the son of Dumi Maraire, a master performer of the mbira, a traditional instrument of Zimbabwe. “My father encouraged me to pursue music and told me I was an artist. He said I should never limit myself,” says ZNI. “He made me understand true work ethic. He would stay up for hours working on a song to make sure he got it right. I do the same thing; I can’t sleep until I have even the smallest things like timing or flow perfect.”

Born in Seattle, but spending much of his formative years in his parents’ native country of Zimbabwe, it’s clear this performer uses his life experience in his music. He says every song he writes is founded in a moment from his life. The death of his mother, younger brother and father over the course of three years threw the artist into a tailspin of negativity. He chose to use the pain of his losses to increase his spirituality and turned his tribulations into musical inspiration that drove him to focus on his career.

ZNI left his hometown of Seattle planning to attend NYU and study music. While in New York, he opted to leave college and gain real-world industry experience through an internship with Def Jam records. During this time, he released his first mix tape "Strength of Street Knowledge" - hosted by DJ Sickamor and in 2006, released his
I Gotta Joog single which spurred his first album entitled “Soldier of Fortune.” Unfortunately, the production of the album was waylaid and to this day remains unreleased.

At the end of 2007, ZNI returned to Seattle and to the studio- releasing 07 Teen Spirit which garnered the interest of adidas who then signed the artist to their 2008 Thrill and Destroy campaign. Through adidas, he released the track "Impossible Is Nothing" which he feels was moment when he truly began defining his musical direction.

ZNI’s passion is evident in every angle of his life. He shatters the stereotypes of rappers and through his unique musical arrangements, innovative lyrics and fresh fashion sense, he resonates with fans across genres.

“There isn't anything else I want to do in life or feel so strongly and passionate about other than music. And I want to make a name for Seattle musicians,” says ZNI when asked why he chose to dedicate his life to music.

He is currently working on his first major album featuring the headline single Crash.

In addition to performing, ZNi creates exclusive tracks for video production for big brands such as adidas, Disney and Amp. For samples of this work, please contact the artist.

You can check out ZNi in a featured article on Seaspot.com:


Strength of Street Knowledge - 2006
I Gotta Joog - 2007
07 Teen Spirit - 2007
Impossible Is Nothing - 2008
Crash - 2008

Set List

Typical set runs from 15-30 minutes featuring three to six songs.