The massive blue light beaming from the third eye of Grace Cathedral’s facade this week had nothing to do with UFOs or ESP.
And contrary to online speculation, it had also had nothing to do with EDM or ZHU, an artist and producer native to San Francisco.
But Steven Zhu, known in the world of electronic dance music only as ZHU, will be finishing his newest album at Grace Cathedral in a series of live events.
The light beam was a laser canon pointed at the rose window of the cathedral from the Fairmont hotel by Illuminate, an arts nonprofit. The laser was an exploration of a possible art installation, like that which glowed from Market Street for Pride last year.
There are no current plans for the installation, and the test certainly wasn't related to the rave scheduled to take place at the cathedral this weekend, the artist's press team said — despite a consensus on r/San Francisco.
But ZHU does plan to transform the cathedral for three live shows on May 23, 24 and 25. The performances will be recorded for use in a feature film, which will premiere at an undisclosed festival later this year, according to a press release.
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“In the meantime we dropping a new song Friday,” the same post revealed.
The new song, “Revelations,” will drop on May 19, along with a full video. The single features artists Devault and BabyJake. The song is ZHU’s first release since Musical Chairs Mixtape (Vol. 1), a seven-track album released in July of 2022.
Well, kind of.
In March of 2023, ZHU made the second volume of the Musical Chairs Mixtape available to listeners — but not on traditional streaming platforms. If fans want to hear the 23-minute album, they have to text the artist for access.
Stunt releases like that, or like, say, the takeover of a stunning cathedral in your hometown, are characteristic of ZHU’s boundary-pushing style. His debut single in 2014 was a remix medley of an Outkast song on Soundcloud. By the end of the year, ZHU had signed with Columbia records without ever having revealed his face onstage, the LA Times reported in 2015.
And since then, ZHU has continued to move through different stages of his artistry — now with his identity disclosed and his hometown in mind.