Zendaya on How She Felt Performing at Coachella After Having 'Negative Experiences' in the Music Industry

Zendaya on How She Felt Performing at CoachellaSteven Klein

A decade after releasing her first and only solo album in 2013, Zendaya set foot on one of music’s biggest stages to join British musician Labrinth’s Coachella set. She sang two songs with him, originally written for Euphoria—“I’m Tired” and “All For Us”—in her first performance in eight years.

Behind the scenes, she tells ELLE in their September cover story, she had been very nervous and apprehensive about performing again, as she never felt as exposed as she did singing onstage.

“I have a lot of negative experiences with the music industry, and being onstage is really the worst,” she says. “It carries a lot for me, and I was afraid to open that door again. But I was also like, ‘You can’t run away from this forever.’”

2023 coachella valley music and arts festival weekend 2 day 2
Michael Loccisano - Getty Images

So she went forward with her surprise Coachella appearance—and took something deeply meaningful away from it. Zendaya realized while performing that she couldn’t hear how her own voice sounded in her ear piece over the crowd noise, but realized that she needed to let go of her performance anxiety and just be in the moment.

“I had to be like, ‘Dude, take a second and look at how special this is. These people are giving you so much love and energy,’” she says. “I’ve never experienced that before. That blew my mind. I had to go, ‘Stop thinking about the fucking technical stuff. Like, it’s fine. Like, whatever. It’s not going to be perfect. You haven’t been onstage in front of that many people ever in your life. Enjoy the fact that you did it. You got over your fear. You did it, and these people enjoyed it with you, gave you love and energy, and were excited that you were there. That’s enough.’”

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