Born in Philadelphia, Zhané spent a lot of her time outside of the country, and in Jersey and North Carolina for school. Starting with spoken word, poetry, and short stories, it became evident of Zhané's ability to capture and illustrate the heart and soul through words. Although her sixth grade teacher pointed it out when trying to enter her into a writing contest, it was not until Zhané was 15 that she realized her potential.
Despite writing her first rap at 10, Zhané didn't recognize her skill for rapping and songwriting until she entered a "battle war" with some of her friends at 15, in which they exchanged friendly but deadly shots, and Zhané held back no punches. It was then that she became aware of her skill, especially after putting up a two minute rap video on YouTube that sparked many people's shock, curiosity, and questioning. No one ever expected her to become a rapper, let alone know how to actually write. She herself never even expected to take the road of an artist, until the desire became stronger than the ability to mask what she truly wanted.
Feeling like the entrepreneurial business route was the safest and most admirable way to take, Zhané chose to focus on building her own business in the social entrepreneurship realm. By 18, she had the business plan for her non-profit, and investors interested in her idea. By 19, she had the blueprint for what was going to be her first national best seller book. However, with success visible, and future accolades so inevitable, something just didn't seem right. Carrying out her plans would make her successful to the world, but a failure on her own grid. Thinking about all of this during her study abroad in London, it was right in Oxford that Zhané finally stopped fighting what she had known for some time. She could no longer deny the truth, and knew that the only way she would truly be happy was if she pursued her passion for music, and put her life into it. It was right then before her 20th birthday that she committed to her first music project, The Loudest Library.
Photographer: Lee Loechler