Matthew Koma is ready to provide clarity.
He’s the songwriter behind DJ Zedd’s first hits, but Koma doesn’t want you to think of them as Zedd’s songs. He says they’re his.
Wednesday afternoon, Hilary Duff’s new fiancé (now the lead singer of band Winnetka Bowling League) wrote a two-tweet, eight-part Notes app letter titled “Dear Zedd.” In it, he chronicles his “toxic” and “abusive” relationship with the DJ, whom Koma claims stole writing credit on numerous hit tracks.
Koma begins by acknowledging the “years” of questions about what happened to the once-successful partnership that produced Zedd’s breakout hits “Spectrum” and the Grammy-winning smash “Clarity.”
“Unfortunately my good feelings toward those songs have all but disappeared as they were experienced alongside someone so toxic and self-serving that it occupied the space where any happiness could exist,” Koma says in the statement. He continued, “Shitty people suck and when they’re successful people are afraid to blow the whistle.”
Koma then backs up to chronicle their uneasy partnership. He and Zedd, whose legal name is Anton Zaslavski, began collaborating before the DJ signed to Interscope Records. “We met as ‘equals,’” Koma said. Things were apparently rough from the start. Koma offers a backhanded compliment that Zedd “was a very talented producer back when he was involved in his productions.”
Then Koma gets personal, saying Zedd took credit in interviews for his lyricism without mentioning Koma. “I wrote every word and melody,” Koma said of the songs “Clarity” and “Spectrum.”
While Zedd and Koma are the only credited writers on “Spectrum,” “Clarity” was also credited to Skylar Grey and Porter Robinson. Koma does not mention either of the alleged co-writers in any of his eight notes.
In part two of his statement, Koma goes on the offensive. Zedd’s persona as “genius classical pianist” evidently hurt their live performances, as Koma claims Zedd once refused to change the key of a song. Later he found out, “It was because he could only play piano in the key of C and the keyboard wouldn’t transpose.”
After Koma posted his eight-part statement on Instagram, his comments were flooded with supportive statements. Duff praised her fiancé, writing, “This is so important for people who love the music to know. Writers are taken advantage of, ignored, and mistreated. Proud of you for finally speaking up <3.”
Other musicians’ Instagram comments ranged from general shock (“HOLY SHIT i just realized you sing one of my favorite songs!!!” said Ashley Tisdale) to support (“The unfortunate dark side of the music business,” Bebe Rehxa commented) to agreement (“🔨 dropped! Truth!” Michael Fitzpatrick, of Fitz and The Tantrums, responded.)
Apart from his work with Zedd, Koma’s biggest hit is co-writing and singing on DJ Tiesto’s 2014 hit “Wasted.” Tiesto commented on the post, “So sad to hear this man, you’re one of the most talents [sic] guys I know.”
As for everyone’s favorite DJ with a habit of wading into other celebrity’s personal lives, Diplo hasn’t spoken on the feud. However, he did “like” Koma’s second post on Twitter.
Zedd has not responded to the accusations. Though in 2012, he made it clear he’s no fan of “people stealing shit” on Twitter. “.. man .. people stealing shit ... not even thinking about the fact this it might have personal meaning to someone…” he wrote at the time.
Koma hasn’t issued any follow-up statements. So, for now, all that we have is Koma’s bizarre belittling of Starbucks employees. He ends his many posts saying, “But I rather work at Starbucks and clean the toilets than ever experience that abusive dynamic again. Toxicity doesn’t breed happiness.”
Starbucks has not responded to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.