Z by Z Reinvents His Hit Song 'Searching' With a Raw New Unplugged Version

Z by Z made waves with his powerful hit "Searching" when it first hit the music scene over two years ago, and now, with the new unplugged version of the track, we believe we're about to see its renaissance.

"Searching" was always a lovely and emotionally rich song inspired by real heartbreak, but the new piano-driven version is even more tear-jerking. To celebrate the music video's release today, we got the chance to chat with Z about what the song, and its striking lyrics, mean to him.

The Story Behind 'Searching'

Z by Z: I wrote "Searching" a few months after ending my first serious relationship. While I was writing the song, I started to think about how a lot of us are more in love with the thought of being in a relationship than the person we end up with. I realized that you don't have to be alone to feel alone. It's how "Searching" was born. It's a journey that starts as a self-pity party and evolves into a song of hope for the future.

Around the time that I wrote "Searching," I was listening to "Too Long" by Arlie, "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" by The Beatles and early Coldplay on repeat. "Too Long" by Arlie is heart-wrenching and I wanted to write a song that had that same effect. The lyrics in the second verse were inspired by Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. In the movie, the two main characters "flew the coop" to follow their heart's desires and in "Searching," I flew the coop, but in a different way.


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What 'Searching' Means

Z: For me, the song is a roadmap to finding something real and not settling. As for my listeners, it will mean something different to each and every one of them, but I want to strike an emotional chord from within.


(Photo credit: Will DeVito)


The Unplugged Version

Z: During the pandemic, I got to spend a lot of time with my neighbor Steve Abrams who happens to be an excellent piano player. From the time I wrote "Searching," I've always seen it as a piano ballad. The version that is currently out is very grand and epic. "Searching" is such a raw, emotional song at its core and I thought that doing a stripped-down rendition would best showcase the song's truth.


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Z's Favorite Lyric

Z: "In her house, I get lost in the woods, There's a raven that takes me to my Moonrise Kingdom."

These are my favorite lyrics because I am a huge Wes Anderson fan. Any opportunity I can get to pay him homage while also portraying a feeling in my own work, I'll take it!


(Photo credit: Will DeVito)


For more on the true stories behind our favorite new music, click HERE to read our interview with Marian Hill on their new why can't we just pretend? EP.