Only one person has been able to convince Zendaya to step into a recording booth since she decided to move away from music after the release of her debut album in 2013. Labrinth, who has crafted the musical landscape her character Rue exists within on the HBO series Euphoria, apparently knows just what to say to pull her back in.
First, their collaborations manifested in compositions made specifically for the show, but Zendaya now also appears on Labrinth’s separate, standalone album Ends & Begins. “The Feels,” which the musician wrote and produced himself, is the first track on the album, his first since 2019’s Imagination & the Misfit Kid. The actress isn’t even credited as a feature on the song, though neither is Billie Eilish on “Never Felt So Alone.”
“I got hit by a truck/And it drove off and left me here for dead/Alone lyin’ here, cryin’ in the rain,” Labrinth sings on the opening verse. “I got touched by God and it fucked me up/Like an electrical current crossing through my veins/Lightning came and hit me again.”
While he tries to decipher reality from imagination, Zendaya is jolted with her own derailment. “Now you got me lost in emotion/Now you got me intoxicated with your drug,” she sings over Labrinth’s vivid production, which works in the sound of a heart beating. “Bloodstream racin’, heartbeat pulsin’/The truth of it is I’m in love with you.”
Last week, Labrinth welcomed Zendaya to the stage at Coachella for her first live performance since 2015. “I cannot express my gratitude enough for this magical night,” Zendaya wrote in an Instagram story after the performance. “Thank you to my brother [Labrinth] for inviting me and giving me the most beautiful safe space to be on a stage again…wow…my heart is so full, I can’t thank you enough for the love I received tonight, made all my nerves melt away.”
A few days later, Labrinth added: “This was a moment! I’m so glad I got to share it with you Zendaya. Thank you for being so vulnerable and putting yourself and your heart out there. We performed our songs that’s crazy to me!” During the set, they ran through Euphoria cuts “I’m Tired” and “All for Us.”
“I stepped away from music quite a while ago, for a number of reasons, but I still really love it,” Zendaya tweeted in March 2022 after the release of “I’m Tired.” “The kindness and support I’ve received the past few days just for a little tiny toe-dip back into some music means the absolute world to me.”