She’s like positivity personified. Watching IZZY BIZU perform is like seeing a ray of sunshine light a room. With a perfect summery feel, most of her songs give off good vibes, in sound and message. With her new record A Moment of Madness, which is bound to be released this fall, the 22-year old Londoner is taking a closer look at different components of her own emotions: ‘I look at the album as a collective, all the songs are quite different to each other, but in mood and emotion, they are quite similar.’ They are about being naive and trying to run from something, an idea close to being carefree and curious. The musical styles differ, ranging from the relaxed summer jam of White Tiger to soul songs such as Mad Behaviour, demonstrating her impressive vocal range.
Collaboration is the key
From South West London, a daughter to parents of Ethiopian and British descent, the culturally diverse capital has always been her playground. The streak of positivity found in her songs extends to the process of music making. She prefers being part of a music scene, in which musicians support each other instead of trying to outdo each other for the sake of competitiveness. To her, it’s all about creating good music and achieving it together: ‘If you like someone’s music, collaborate and support each other. If they’re good and maybe even better than you, get inspired and learn from them. And create more. Create this really great hub with the type of ‘there’s room for everyone‘ vibe. A ‘be yourself‘ sort of thing.’
Having gained this wise insight into music making at such a young age, she naturally felt drawn to collaborate with like-minded musicians, who have come to the same conclusion: ‘They’re all like family men with kids and have been in the industry for ages. They know themselves and just want to do good music. They look at you like you’re their daughter.’ This way she continues to learn from their knowledge of the industry, often without realizing it.
Touring Europe right now, going from Berlin to Amsterdam and Paris, she gets to play for crowds in all the good spots. Her concert in Berlin is happening this Wednesday, May 25 at Bi Nuu. Travelling freely across borders in Europe has always been easy. But it might change too soon, when on June 23 the UK votes to leave or stay in the EU: ‘I hope we stay, we are a part of Europe. I love the freedom. It is so chilled that we can go anywhere we like in Europe and it only takes an hour.’ She doesn’t even want to think about other possible results, such as fellow musicians being forced to leave the UK and the immediate implications for the British music scene as a creative hub.
Using her music as an outlet for political statements isn’t something she’s ever considered. While penning songs in her bedroom is a release for her thoughts and emotions, she’s never been keen on putting out political messages. Though some of her idols have: ‘Artists like MARVIN GAYE used to be quite political about their songs as well. As long as it’s coming from a good place, it’s alright. If it’s for the greater good of influencing people in a positive way, I think it’s fine.’
People want more. They want more than just music, which is kind of scary. That’s what happens when you become really big in the music industry.
IZZY’s musical influences include MARVIN GAYE, JAMES BROWN, ELLA GITZGERALD, BOB MARLEY and THE BLACK KEYS, ranging from the greats of soul to contemporary rock. Another major influence in between the classics and contemporary is AMY WINEHOUSE, whose passing in 2011 left an empty hole in people’s hearts and made her an immediate classic. ‘I still can’t believe she’s not here, because her music is so alive. She is definitely a classic and will go down in history.’ IZZY remembers watching the recent documentary on Amy’s life and how daunting it seemed at times, being very aware of the toll it takes on a person to become famous. ‘People want more. They want more than just music, which is kind of scary. That’s what happens when you become really big in the music industry.’
The future is random
The idea of taking selfies and uploading those to social media all the time have recently led to other young singers such as Justin Bieber confessing to the increasing demands of being picture perfect all the time, crumbling under the pressure. Having grown up with social media, IZZY knows her way around Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter and uses it to show a personal side to herself. Not keen on oversharing though, she prefers to only share the moments, she would share with people in real life.
‘If I’m upset in real life, I just want to be alone and be blue. I’ll go out again when I’m happy. So if I wouldn’t share it in real life, no way would I put it on social media.’
And so she remains a positive force, we very much need in these times of uncertainty. Maybe it’s because she has never bothered with focussing on the things that are unsure. ‘It’s like when you were at school and they were asking you: What do you want to be? With singing, I always thought it was just going to be a hobby. And then it happened. I take things as it comes. How can you tell the future? It’s random. It’s like when girls plan their wedding and they haven’t even met the man of their dreams yet.’ So she takes things as they come. In a world that is too competitive and cold, her music and her whole attitude shine like a bright light. And this is exactly the approach that will get her far.
IZZY BIZU’s debut album arrives this fall and she’s performing a show at Berlin’s Bi Nuu on Wednesday, May 25. Full information right here.