South West London singer-songwriter Izzy Bizu has captured the attention of her home country of Great Britain. The 19-year-old daughter of an Ethiopian mother and English father has already shared a stage with UK chart topper Sam Smith and made a fan out of multi-platinum selling Scottish artist Emeli Sandé.
Bizu recently released her debut acoustic EP Coolbeanz which includes the well received single “White Tiger”. The 6-track project is a fresh blend of the Soul, Funk, Pop, and Jazz of her musical influences like Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, and Amy Winehouse.
DZI: The Voice connected with Izzy to get more familiar with the buzzing performer and talk about her background, her new EP, and what the future holds.
Yohance Kyles: When did you first discover your voice as an artist?
Izzy Bizu: When I was 17 when I went to my first music college and played with a band. Pretty much when I started improvising and jamming.
YK: How did growing up in London influence you musically?
IB: I probably got more inspired when I moved out for the first time at 18, when I wasn’t quite ready. I came across difficulties financial and emotional, had no money and got a part-time job and do music. I used to stay in and play piano and write songs so I wouldn’t feel alone. Writing songs makes me feel like I have company when I am alone.
YK: You’re only 19 years old, but your music harks back to classic singers. What attracted to that jazzy/soulful sound?
IB: Just the warmth of their voices and the reality of their music is quite natural. Back then they didn’t have effects on their voices and they sang songs in one take. You can feel more character in songs more this way, and I like to make music like that.
YK: Why did you decide to record all your songs on Coolbeanz with acoustic instrumentation?
IB: Because I am slowly finding myself, and me and the guys are trying to find our sound. I started off jamming in my room, and I wanted to give people that original sound so they can get to know me.
YK: Are you working on a full album?
IB: Yes, doing that this year. No idea when it is coming out. It will take as long as it takes. We are experimenting trying to find what works. It takes time and we want to get it right.
YK: Did you have a muse for your single “White Tiger”?
IB: Yes. It’s about my boyfriend. It’s so personal lol.
YK: You opened for Sam Smith. What did you enjoy most about that experience?
IB: Meeting him. I have met him and he reminds me of one of my friends which means it’s easy for me to get along with him. I think his band is amazing and they’re funny. Watching him was one of the best experiences I’ve had. He is so soulful, and he made me cry when he sang “Latch”, and I never ever cry.
YK: Any plans to tour the U.S. in the near future?
IB: Hopefully next year, but we will have to see what happens. I’d love to do a train tour like Mumford & Son.
YK: What is your favorite song to perform live?
IB: “Why So Cold”. It’s the song I find most passionate. It’s really band orientated, and I like that. It’s not been released yet so you can only hear it if you come to see me live. Out of the released music I love performing “White Tiger” and “Broken Man”.
YK: What was it like meeting Emeli Sandé?
IB: It was nice. She bought me a nice glass of wine. I love Emeli. She gave me some good advice.
YK: Do you express yourself through any other artistic mediums besides music?
IB: I like paint especially blue. I paint Jack Daniels and shelves my boyfriend Mika makes. I’m thinking of taking up knitting. Mika suggested it. He’s like a housewife lol.
YK: If you could only listen to 5 albums for the rest of your life what would you choose?
IB: This is easy. Ella Fitzgerald is the first one. She has like a billion songs on each one. The Antlers and Black Keys. James Blake and C2C.
YK: What’s next for Izzy Bizu?
IB: We are going to Rotterdam to perform in November. Hopefully Paris. We are going to New York, because we feel like busking lol.
For more info about Izzy Bizu click it
To stream the entire Coolbeanz EP click it
To connect with Izzy follow her on Twitter @IzzyBizu
Check out the “White Tiger” video: