WATCH: Zak Abel is learning to trust the universe

The table tennis pro turned singer songwriter on how he’s trusting the process and why he’s not worrying as much…

The table tennis pro turned singer songwriter on how he’s trusting the process and why he’s not worrying as much…

05 Oct 2023
3 mins read time
3 mins read time

For the final instalment of our Originals series with PopWorks, we caught up with singer songwriter Zak Abel.

On shoot, Zak Abel, former table tennis pro for England is making up a song about PopWorks Sweet BBQ snacks (“great flavour, makes me wanna go hug my neighbour”) which is capturing all the feels of finding our favourite snack after a big night out.

Switching from sports to song-writing may not seem the most obvious, but he actually finds a lot of cross-over between the two. “They both take a lot of resilience; if your expectations aren’t met you have to get up and bounce back again.”

His love of music comes from listening to Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse, whose music inspired him to write - and his favourite mantra is from Quincy Jones, who said “Don’t try to be cool, be warm.” Which means? “I don’t know what’s cool,” he says, adding “I don't care if I'm cool. But I like the idea of being warm and giving that feeling to people who come into contact with me.”

When he’s writing music he starts off with a concept or feeling and then works backwards to unpick the subject matter. “I just like to challenge myself each time,” he says, “and if there’s a subject matter that I haven’t spoken about before, I always gravitate towards that.”

Living with a condition called otosclerosis, it’s meant that he’s had to have several operations on his ear, which is not ideal for a musician, but Zak’s attitude towards life is full of positivity and a strong belief in trusting the universe. “My tendency is when I get nervous I try to control everything,” he says, “and actually life’s a lot more fun when you trust the process to actually control the things you can control and not worry so much.”

So, how do you stop worrying so much? “It’s easier said than done,” he admits, “but I think if you spend time worrying about the things you can’t control you get yourself into some naughty headspaces, especially when you’re trying to get the best out of yourself and other people, the only space that I think is worth occupying mentally is what you can do in any given moment and try your best.”

Like that Quincy Jones mantra, Zak’s one is all about finding what works for you, as he puts it, “Trusting that myself, or someone I’m working through the issue with, will figure it out and having that optimism is really essential.”

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