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    In Conversation With Izzy Bizu: Behind The Scenes At Outside Lands 2023

    In Conversation With Izzy Bizu: Behind The Scenes At Outside Lands 2023

    Izzy Bizu is a British singer-songwriter known for her soulful and jazz-influenced music style.

    Bizu’s breakthrough came in 2016 when she released her debut album titled: A Moment of Madness. The album featured her hit single “White Tiger,” which garnered significant attention and helped establish her as a rising star in the music industry. The song’s blend of soul, pop, and R&B elements, combined with Bizu’s powerful yet smooth vocals, earned her comparisons to artists like Amy Winehouse and Adele.

    With “A Moment of Madness,” Izzy Bizu showcased her ability to craft soulful sound and catchy, upbeat tracks. The album’s success led to various opportunities, including performing on major stages with artists such as Odesza and collaborating with many others.

    Bizu’s music often explores themes of love, self-discovery, and personal growth. Her soulful sound and emotionally charged performances have resonated with audiences around the world, earning her critical acclaim with a dedicated fan base. While Izzy Bizu’s career is centered around her music, she has also been recognized for her distinctive sense of style, often incorporating vintage and retro fashion elements into her look.

    During the 15th anniversary of Outside Lands, The Fox Magazine interviewed Izzy to discuss her journey, latest single Flower Power, experiences from tour, performing at Lollapalooza with Odesza, her upcoming album, and much more.

    All photography by Mike Fox.

     Alright, so first things first. How’s your Outside Lands experience been this year?

    Uh, quite short to be honest. Yeah, I only arrived a few hours ago. But so far so good. I caught a bit of Poolside. Love their music. I’m gonna watch Cigarettes After Sex. Love them too. While I was doing interviews I watched Lil Yachty, he was a good time and his band.

    Nice! Is this your first time in SF?

    Yes, it is. I’ll be going back to LA soon and Nashville. I’m working on finishing my album.

    Dope. Yeah, let’s dive right into the music then. Have you performed in Outside Lands before?

    Never. Every time I get to these festivals, I get about one day in a different venue. I get a taste of some of them. It’s a lot of different cultures mixed into everything I feel like. Just festivals in general, but Outside Lands for sure too. It brings together so many people from different parts of the world.

    What was the deciding moment, where you were like, I want to do music. Do you remember that moment? 

    Yeah, I do actually. I remember doing an open mic or something like that and I played this song I wrote with my first boyfriend, the song White Tiger. We were in school and it blew up on the internet. I performed it one time and then the open mic went really well. And then I remember, I dunno why he wasn’t there. I think he was out with his friends. Like, we weren’t taking music seriously. So I was running back from that open mic to his house, and being like, you should have seen how this song was received. We need to take this seriously. Let’s finish the rest of the EP together. And then we ended up writing my first album together. And that was the moment where I was like, yeah, this is, I’m serious. Like it’s time. 

    That moment that you were starting music versus when you wanted to do it professionally, how long was that?

    From starting to getting to that point, that moment. It’s weird, I was always writing songs since I was 15. And then I wrote more at 17, and then I think it was like 20 when I started getting serious. So I guess it was like a five-year period. I was still in college and stuff like that.

    Just like a gradual taking it more seriously type of thing?

    I don’t know if I was taking my life that seriously. I dropped out of school and I just closed my eyes. For some reason, thought maybe it might work out. And if it doesn’t, I guess I’ll just work in a bar. And I’ll be fine. And I’ll sing in churches, bars, and clubs (laughs). And I was like, whatever happens, it was meant to be. But yeah, I don’t think if I didn’t have him as my writing partner, I would have done it. I think when you’re two people against the world, it’s easier than when you’re just alone. So, I think the love that we had was very powerful in like, that dream. Created magic. Yeah, it was good. It was a very good partnership, yeah.

    That’s awesome. I feel like I need to ask another follow-up question to that. That’s inspiring, for real. Do you remember the feeling that you had when you got that feedback? 

    I just wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. I was like, I’ve always been insecure, you know, growing up. And I never really, like, had this self-belief that a lot of artists might have in themselves. I don’t think I was very, uh, I didn’t feel very confident in school. I wasn’t very good at school. All I could do was write songs. So for me, to finally feel like I fit in somewhere was really nice for me. I was like, oh, so I can just be myself for once, write the song and people accept me for that. And that was like a beautiful feeling to feel accepted. So I think that’s where I feel the most comfortable writing songs. 

    That’s cool though. We all get nervous. That means you love it and have passion for it, right?

    Yeah, I definitely do. Love it.

    Do you remember the first time you were nervous on stage?

    I don’t know if I was nervous. I think I was anticipating something. I just remember wearing a cross, praying to God and I was like, every part of spirituality in me was like, please, can this be a good moment? You know what I mean? And my best friend was there. She pushed me to do it, and then my cousin was there and I had a couple of friends, so I was well surrounded. Yeah. So that was nice.

    There’s a big lesson in there. Just believe in yourself, it’ll work out. And that’s really what it sounded like to you.

    Right, yeah. I think there are so many times where we are always trying to change who we are ’cause we think we’re not gonna be accepted. But it’s like you’re only gonna have the right people around you if you are yourself. I’m 29 now and I’m still sort of like trying to catch myself out when I’m adjusting the energies and everything. I’m on tour with like so many personalities, I’m not joking, every single person. It’s a different vibe. I haven’t been bored on this tour at all. Everyone has been very entertaining, but very sweet.

    That’s great! Before we get into joining Odesza at Lollapalooza, I wanted to ask you about your latest single, Flower Power. Tell us about that. 

    Well, I’ll tell you exactly about it. It’s like being free, not running your life through fear. I had a very strict upbringing. I’d be afraid to do things. And I was like, sometimes when you have fear, you stop yourself from living your life. And so basically, Flower Power is all about that. I mean, stepping outside of my comfort zone. Yeah, and sometimes when I do crazy things, it never actually hurts anybody.

    Like, if it ever hurts anybody, it’s probably myself, but like, I sort of feel this weird, like, liberation if I rebel. Just a little bit, not too much. Yeah. But just a little bit gives me that spice. Makes it worth it. Yeah, it’s just nice. I feel like everything can be so controlled the older you get, and I just feel like sometimes it’s nice to be a big kid, and that’s what sometimes happens.

    For sure. I think everybody at this festival would agree with that. 

    Yes, exactly. Be open, be free. 

    I do want to talk about joining Odesza. Talk about joining Odesza at Lollapalooza. How was preparing for that?

    It’s been great, honestly. There’s definitely been moments where it’s been amazing. There are moments where I found it, uh, hard. Because I’m away from home for three months. So I’m doing this amazing stuff, we’re doing insane shows, and that part is amazing. Then sometimes I have dreams. Like I had a dream last night that my mum was here, my cousins were here, then I woke up!

    So those are the only challenging bits, but I think everyone goes through that I have to say. That was during Coldplay’s tour as well, which was about three or four years ago. But the way they run it, it’s like clockwork. We have fun but it’s like 50 of us. It feels like I’m on this big school trip. Just having fun, doing what you love. And we get to see the world. Like, does it get much better than this? I don’t think so, like, I think it’s fucking sick. Amazing. So even though I miss my family, like, I guess I’ve got a family on the road too, so it’s nice. Yeah, it’s good. The music family.

    That’s really inspiring. The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration. What or who inspires you the most?

    I love Marvin Gaye. I also, I love, I love Curtis Mayfield. I love love Tems though. All these people, they all do different music, like a certain type of soul and vulnerability. Tems, she’s a powerful, strong woman, but she’s got this vulnerability in her voice and I like people like that.

    Um, I love Lana Del Rey. I like Cigarettes After Sex. I love, Poolside. So I actually love, like such a wide variety of music. But it’s always those artists that are slightly melancholic that I feel like I really clicked with. It’s the emotion they bring. It’s the letter of the genre. It explains why I jump around so much. Because I listen to so much different music. I love indie, soul, jazz. And now electronic.

    What’s been your favorite festival that you’ve been to ever?

    I loved Electric Forest. Actually, I made a friend there and she’s coming to watch today. When I travel, I’m more likely to be making new friends. Because you’re alive. Because I’m here. I would never do that in England. I’m like, I’ve got my great friends only here in Wales. But I’m here, so I’m just so blessed to make new friends. 

    How are you feeling about your festival performance tonight?

    It’s about the experience. It’s a collective experience.

    That’s how I see it now. It’s a collective experience. It’s not about me. Rocking it when I go out is most important.

    That’s actually beautiful though because, you know, fans are always going to appreciate that too.

    I’m being genuine as well. Because you’re not out there really on your own.

    What should we look forward to? 

    You’re going to see another side of me. When my new album comes out. Eventually. I think I cloud a lot of things with laughter and jokes. Yes. And that is a big part of me, but there’s another side to me that I’m very excited to show. I hope these new songs that I’ve been writing help people through whatever they go through. And it’s a mixed bag. I’m a rollercoaster of emotions like anybody else. I look forward to sharing my new EP and album with everybody.

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