Zedd Reveals His Simple Strategy for Beating Jet Lag While on Tour: 'Sleep It Out' (Exclusive)

The EDM star tells PEOPLE about his wellness routine, upcoming new album and headlining 2024 NCAA March Madness Music Festival performance

<p>Aaron Davidson/Getty</p> Zedd performs in Miami in July 2022

Aaron Davidson/Getty

Zedd performs in Miami in July 2022

March Madness is in full effect, and Zedd is getting in on the festivities.

In the midst of working on new music, the Grammy-winning EDM star is gearing up to headline the AT&T Block Party in Phoenix on Friday, April 5, as part of the 2024 NCAA March Madness Music Festival.

The "Clarity" musician, 34, will deliver a unique set at the free event, which will also feature performances from Reneé Rapp and Remi Wolf. Over the following two days, the festival will continue with shows from the Jonas Brothers, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys and more — and fans at home can stream each one on the NCAA's website.

Related: How to Watch March Madness: All About the Men's NCAA Tournament

<p>Nick Walker</p> Zedd

Nick Walker


Zedd's headlining slot at the AT&T Block Party arrives as he's in the midst of crafting his first new studio album in nearly 10 years, the follow-up to his 2015 sophomore effort, True Colors.

Of course, the Russian-German producer (born Anton Zaslavski) hasn't gone anywhere in the interim. Since his last full-length release, he's consistently toured the globe and earned massive hits including "Stay" with Alessia Cara and "The Middle" with Maren Morris, among others.

PEOPLE recently sat down with Zedd to discuss his AT&T Block Party performance, how he stays healthy on the road and what fans can expect from his new album.

What are you looking forward to about headlining the AT&T Block Party as part of the NCAA March Madness Music Festival?

First of all, I've been really getting into connecting sports, fitness and music, which, music is obviously something I've always done, and fitness and sports is something that I've been increasingly getting into, and I just realized that there's just a very large crossover, whether it’s spin classes or sporting events. I feel like there's a large overlap of my fan base that I have not explored, so I'm very excited to do this. Plus, a free show is just something I get to do really rarely, and I feel like there's a very special energy whenever this happens. I haven't done it in a while, so I'm really excited to be able to jump on stage and hopefully give people a night that they will take with them and remember forever.

How do you approach a set like this differently from performing at an EDM festival?

I think there's two factors that are a little bit different — one being that it isn't just going to be my crowd. If I play my own show or even if I play [Electric Daisy Carnival music festival] where people choose my stage to see me, you know what kind of audience you get. But at a block party like this, where essentially anybody who wants to swing by can swing by, you have a much wider audience. And it just makes it so that sometimes songs that you don't expect to go over very well could be a huge hit, and some songs that you expect your fans to know, you will realize, “Well, there's a lot of people that aren't usually your fans, and they don't know the deeper cuts." So, It's going to be a different show. I'm not entirely sure what to expect, and I don't 100% know what my set will be, but I would assume it's going to probably be the widest range possible of classics, maybe some new music, and just some songs that I just really love playing out.

<p>Nick Walker</p> Zedd

Nick Walker


Considering you're not American, are you a big college basketball fan?

Honestly, when I moved to America, basketball was completely new to me. I remember my first football game — I didn't even know the rules. So, this is something that I've had to get into because in Germany, where I'm from, everything is about soccer or football, whatever you prefer to call it. So me going to basketball games, I had to learn everything about this, but then the more I've been doing it, the more I've been getting into it.

Reneé Rapp and Remi Wolf are also performing at the event. Are you fans of their music?

Absolutely. I love Remi. She actually came to my show in Vegas just this last weekend, so we got to kick it. She's an unbelievable talent. I was super excited to see that she's playing the same event, so that's an added bonus.

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Zedd

Karwai Tang/WireImage


Would you consider collaborating with either of them?

Oh, absolutely, 100%. I think they're both absolutely incredible talents, really unique, super musical, which is the focus of my album — really deep musicality.

You are constantly performing shows all around the world, and it never seems to slow down. When you're going from country to country, how do you keep yourself sane and healthy with a grueling schedule and jet lag?

I mean, that's a never-ending mystery to be solved. But I think my current strategy is to drink a lot of water, first of all, and sleep when you can because you can plan your ideal sleep patterns as much as you want, but sometimes your flight's delayed and everything is messed up. So if you're tired, just sleep it out. It's better to get more sleep than less sleep, at least that's my strategy, and eventually the jet lag will even itself out. I focus on drinking lots of water, sleeping a lot, and exercising. I think it really helps to get in the gym even just for a little bit when you're traveling, as much as it's really the last thing you will probably want to do, but it's so helpful in the long run. And even a 30- [or] 40-minute run helps you equalize quicker and get back on your feet and on a regular schedule faster.

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Zedd

Kevin Mazur/Getty


It's been almost 10 years since your last album, True Colors, came out. You've remained active by releasing singles and other projects, but tell me about taking that time away from releasing a full-length project and what you're excited about as you work on the next one.

Making an album for me is something that's really deeply personal. I grew up with albums my whole life. I never listened to singles. I always spent time with every single album the artists I love put out. Even if I bought it and I didn't like it, I would give it enough chances until I understood what the artist was trying to tell me, and that's mentally really challenging to do, truthfully. I made two albums that I consider incredible albums, and after that, I was just burnt out on putting myself in the mindset of having to tell the story again, so I just wanted to release music quickly. Streaming became a thing. I thought it would be way less pressure on me to just release singles one at a time. And for what it's worth, it was pretty successful for me to do so.

But with doing singles for over nine years or so, I really got hungry to tell a proper story again. That's why I was excited to be working on this new album that I've mentioned. But it's really back to where I came from, a deeply personal album that is going to tell a story a couple of singles just won't be able to tell. It's a project that you're going to need to listen to from the start to the end, and it's not really meant to be chopped in pieces. I'm just really excited, after having been gone from that album world for so long, to come back with something that I think is the best album I've ever made.

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