Among the stars: Kiwi Zane Lowe talks the art behind his interviews

When Lady Gaga sat down with Apple Music's Beats 1 presenter Zane Lowe this year, she exposed a personal truth behind her final scene in the highly-acclaimed flick A Star Is Born.

The pop singer revealed that while on set filming the last scene of the movie, the health of one of her closest friends, Sonja Durham - who had been battling cancer for years - started to dramatically decline.

Without stopping to tell director Bradley Cooper, Gaga fled the film set and raced to see Sonja, but emotionally recalled to Lowe: "I missed her by 10 minutes."

She later returned to their shoot location at the Shrine Auditorium in LA with Sonja's love of music in mind, and went on to deliver the movie's last performance that same day.

As Gaga relived the "tragic gift" Sonja left her with, Lowe listened intently, giving her time to speak and choosing his words carefully, revealing a hint of why the 'Just Dance' singer might have chosen him to be candid with about her loss. 

"I had to use all my tools to stay in that moment and just ensure that she felt she had said the right thing," Lowe told Newshub.

Lady Gaga opened up to Lowe about her final scene in A Star Is Born.
Lady Gaga opened up to Lowe about her final scene in A Star Is Born. Photo credit: Supplied.

It's no accident that Lowe is able to hold himself so well in the most testing of interviewing situations after coming face-to-face with the industry's biggest names over the past two decades.

The 45-year-old Aucklander is known by many - in one way or another - as the world's most powerful DJ, giving reason to why music matters, whose message is relevant and which artists are next.

Lowe has honest conversations with the most current and top trending artists which are seen and heard around the world.

The former TV host is genuine in his approach, calculated in delivery and holds his own chilled level of composure whether he's on a phone call with Elton John or conducting an in-depth one-on-one with Kendrick Lamar.

The 45-year-old's interviews with the top music artists are highly praised within the industry.
The 45-year-old's interviews with the top music artists are highly praised within the industry. Photo credit: Supplied.

In conversation with Lowe, he frequently drops names like those of legendary producers Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre. This is not in a bid for status or acclaim; it's simply the sphere in which he operates.

While discussing an artist's work, he delves into their background, milestones and challenges, leaning on what he knows ahead of time to steer a conversation towards deeper topics.

"I'd never sit opposite somebody and come up with a narrative that I think is more fascinating and try and find a way to weave it into some kind of shape. It's just not what I'm here to do, I'm just a music fan."

In a media culture where stories are scandalised and words and phrases are often manipulated, Lowe sees a chance for his genuine interests to stand out.

It doesn't serve him and it doesn't serve the artist to misrepresent their paths; instead, he recognises the "privileged position" in which he sits with a chance to share inspiring lessons experienced by a music artist and insightful truths behind their favourite songs. 

The New Zealand-born DJ attended Auckland Grammar School.
The New Zealand-born DJ attended Auckland Grammar School. Photo credit: Supplied.

Lowe paved the way for his career off the back of his years spent at Auckland Grammar School by securing a presenting role on music station Max TV.

He knew early on that music was going to drive his life, stayed one step ahead of the industry by getting a grasp on production with rap group Urban Disturbance, before nabbing a spot as one third of Breaks Co-Op.

He ventured to the UK in the late '90s, which launched a new realm of opportunities for an eager and enthusiastic worker.

The chance to spearhead the Apple Music Beats 1 phenomenon was an evolution from his 13-year-long career at BBC Radio 1, and a role he rightfully earned after becoming the go-to guy for groundbreaking chats with influential figureheads like Madonna, Eminem, Kanye West and Lorde.

Yet three years into his new role, Lowe is still approaching his peak, and isn't one to let an ego get in the way of breaking stories that can shape lives.

Lowe gives reason to why music matters, whose message is relevant and which artists are next.
Lowe gives reason to why music matters, whose message is relevant and which artists are next. Photo credit: Supplied.

He's constantly working on enhancing his skills as an interviewer, recently brushing up on his performance and the key cornerstones behind the technique of creative conversations after finding he had reached a point where it was getting "a bit too comfortable".

Greatly admiring famed talk show hosts, Lowe's favourite is one who, perhaps surprisingly, isn't closely associated with music.

"Oprah, without a shadow of a doubt - she's just the master."

Respecting her ability to show empathy to interviewees, he says it's also how she gets information out of whoever she chats with. But it's a skill they have in common.

When Lowe left Radio 1, he departed with an arsenal of contacts, experience and most importantly, a reputation. 

It's no accident that Lowe is able to carry himself so well in the most testing of interviewing situations.
It's no accident that Lowe is able to carry himself so well in the most testing of interviewing situations. Photo credit: Supplied.

Artists confide in Lowe, trusting him strongly enough to divulge and discuss the workings behind their most vulnerable art form - their creativity.

It is an undertaking he doesn't take lightly. To understand an artist, he first studies their music closely.

"I have to hear where the artist is at before I ask where the artist is at. I have to hear what they're saying with their music before I actually ask them to talk about it or go into the behind the scenes."

By genuinely enticing an artist to open up with him, there are moments during his interviews within the collaborative, artist-focused space he commands that are unlikely mimicked elsewhere.

"When Beats 1 Radio came together and it launched, it was one of the proudest days of my life," he said.
"When Beats 1 Radio came together and it launched, it was one of the proudest days of my life," he said. Photo credit: Supplied.

"When Beats 1 Radio came together and it launched, it was one of the proudest days of my life," he said.

As Lowe strives to understand the value of hard work and a deeper meaning of his perspective, he's feeding his passion. 

For a guy who was once a Kiwi kid looking out to see what possibilities existed and taking chances where they came, he's done exceedingly well. But there's no time to slow down or look back.

"If the job's not done, then don't celebrate prematurely and don't wrap up prematurely; don't look for the exit, look for the next door.

"The job's not done yet."

Newshub.