Zedd Takes a Beating Online After ‘Clarity’ Collaborator Describes DJ as ‘Toxic’

Songwriter and vocalist Matthew Koma took to social media to explain why he no longer talks to the EDM star.

Zedd Matthew Koma
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shu

Update: On the afternoon of June 7, Zedd responded on social media, writing, “Matt, I am sorry you feel this way. I don’t feel the same, nor do I agree with your description of our history together. I supported you in every single area I had control over as I do with any and all of my collaborators.” He added a short time later, “I will forever be grateful to you and your contributions to my career. I continue to wish you all the best.”

A DJ known for making hits, is taking a few hits himself this week. Zedd, known for recent EDM-pop crossover hits like “The Middle” featuring Maren Morris, was called out by former collaborator Matthew Koma on Instagram and Twitter. In a June 5 post, Koma described working with Zedd (pictured, at left), whose real name is Anton Zaslavski, as “toxic” and accused the DJ of not showing gratitude, taking credit for other songwriters’ work and being, in general, “the worst.”

Koma helped Zedd rise out of the ranks of lesser-known EDM producers circa 2012 via co-writing popular songs such as “Clarity,” which won a Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording.” And while Koma has since gone on to collaborate with many other DJ/producers, as well as embark on a solo career, he has never again worked with Zedd. Now, fans are finding out why.

“In response to years of: ‘What happened with you & Zedd.’ I want to finally be transparent about this,” Koma wrote on his Instagram page Thursday. “it’s a really sad truth because I’m extremely proud of the work he and I did together…. 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,” he continued.

It’s not known what prompted Koma’s long multi-page IG outburst Thursday, but earlier this week, on Tuesday, Zedd tweeted in all caps “SPECTRUM CAME OUT 7 YEARS AGO AND CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER” to which Koma (who co-wrote and sang the track yet was not mentioned by Zedd in the tweet), simply replied “lol you’re welcome.”

The Los Angeles-based songwriter and vocalist revealed in his heartfelt post that he was not even invited to the Grammy Awards for “Clarity,” despite the fact that he co-wrote the song and, according to Koma, was instrumental in talking Zedd into using Foxes’ vocals on the track instead of his, making it a bigger hit.

“He won a Grammy for it – I wasn’t invited,” Koma wrote of “Clarity.” “There was a documentary about ‘the making of Zedd’ and I was the only collaborator not invited to the premiere or asked to be interviewed for the movie.”

Meanwhile, a slew of songwriters have since leapt to Koma’s defense on Instagram, offering their condolences to Koma for not getting proper credit from the Russian-born DJ, despite heavy involvement with Zedd’s “Spectrum” (Koma sings the track and says he wrote all the lyrics, and that Zedd took credit for those same lyrics in interviews), which arguably launched the DJ’s career as a pop crossover act. “Shitty people suck and when they’re successful, people are afraid to blow the whistle.”

“The unfortunate dark side of the music business,” wrote Bebe Rexha in a reply to Koma’s Instagram post.

“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,” offered up Koma’s fiancé, Hillary Duff, also in the comments section of Instagram.

Over on Zedd’s Instagram page it’s another story, with very few of his fans leaping to the DJs defense. “Feel SO disappointed by you,” said one fan. “Deeply disappointed,” wrote another fan. “I have supported you since Spectrum, listened to you, went to your shows, etc…we are defined by the way we treat people, at least come forward and apologize.”

The DJ has weathered other internet-bred dust ups in the past, most notably with Diplo, with whom Zedd has traded barbs on Twitter.

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