The singer-songwriter known as Zale grew up in Warner Robbins, but chose Sandy Springs as the home base from which to launch her musical career.
“Atlanta has always been a great place for singer-songwriters,” Zale said. “Nashville was a machine, Austin too cosmic, and New York just felt too big for a small town girl.”
The sixth annual Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, which opens March 12, is sponsoring the release of Zale’s debut album, “Fortress,” on March 14. The festival, which calls itself the only annual celebration of Jewish music in the South, features performances at local music venues and synagogues.
Through Zale considers herself a secular songwriter, she said she values her faith. She’s hosted day camps at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and worked as a private nanny.
“I have a very Jewish heart,” Zale said. Her faith shapes her perspective on things more culturally than religiously, she added, “but it’s definitely something I’m proud of and all my listeners know about me.”
The first time Zale sang publicly, she said she was 3 years old and sang a Barney tune called “The Sister Song” at her sister’s Bat Mitzvah.
After graduating UGA in 2013 with a degree in music business, she moved to Sandy Springs because of its proximity to her sister, who was newly married and pregnant.
The 24-year-old’s album officially is to be released March 24, but fans in Sandy Springs can buy a copy early at the March 14 show at Steve’s Live Music, located at 234 Hilderbrand Drive.
In terms of her involvement with the festival, Zale said the sponsorship is about “sharing the talent in our community than anything else and giving us a platform for our music to be exposed.”
There’s a song called “Fortune and Fame” that Zale said she wrote one day after attending a local open mic night at Steve’s.
Zale said as she looked around at the crowd to see many people and neighbors who had been in Sandy Springs for 30 years, she told herself, “I want to do this thing. It’s great to have roots but I want to spread those roots.”
One of the song lyrics goes, “I’ll stay here in this town until you all know my name, then I’m leaving no doubt with my guitar, fortune and fame,” Zale said. “I was just trying to figure out what my place is thinking, ‘I just want to sell out Sandy Springs’ and have everyone know who I am before I move on.”
For more on the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, visit www.atlantajmf.org.