Izzy Bizu

If you see Izzy Bizu whizzing passed you on her Penny board, her Yorkie Poo dog Teddy for company, know that south London’s skateboarding soulstress is no one trick poppin’ pony. There’s layer to this. Whether Izzy Bizu is annihilating you at table tennis, kicking dust in your face at table football, or out styling you, you’ll still like her and that never-fading smile.

A fan of jazz-fusion mixes and a lover of squat parties and warehouse raves, there’s never a dull day musically either. Not one to box herself in, she’s wise beyond her 21-years, a sentiment that reigns in both her songwriting, vocal and performance, and Izzy is just as likely to be jamming to The Black Keys, The Antlers, Grammatic or C2C as she is drawing influence from Amy Winehouse, Diana Ross and Sam Cook. Having already supported Sam Smith on his UK tour, anyone who sees her live will know she’s studied the greats – and has every intention of standing with them as she releases her debut album.

Having garnered early support from 1Xtra and BBC Radio 1 on her 2013 independent six-tracker, Coolbeanz EP, since signing to Sony there’s been plenty a new fan in the front row thanks to ‘Adam & Eve’, an upbeat funk tinged big room offering, completed by its epic horn section. Drawing on her time moving countries, schools and the relationships that have entailed, Izzy is a cultural explorer, memories, experience and feelings evoking the songs we’re soon to hear and the thought-provoking conversation she already provides. Wearing her thoughts on her sleeve, you’ll be pushed to find many a debut this honest.

Born to an Ethiopian mother and English father, who met on a charity walk, it was his career in civil engineering that saw Izzy and her older brother living in the Middle-East for four years, spending their free days playing rugby and cricket before settling in South London, the place the family still call home.

Izzy flirted with dreams of musical grandeur during a brief stint at Stamford boarding school, where a teacher – on overhearing Izzy singing in her room – invited her to perform a rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’. But it was on joining Ravenscout Theatre School as a teenager that her love for poetry and an academic discipline to the arts was applied. Moving onto Tech Music School at 17, and after a brief dalliance with the now defunct Mercury Records as part of trio Soundgirl (a group she founded with her friends), it was sheer chance that would kick start Izzy Bizu’s solo career: Two years ago, through a family member, she found out her long-lost cousin whom she had never met, ran the seminal music showcasing event, ILuvLive, who have provided an early platform for acts including Jessie J, Maverick Sabre and Wretch 32. With nothing to lose she rocked up and hit the open mic session, winning the crown and plaudits from the audience who happened to include Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande (not a bad first co-sign, hey).


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Rouven Bönisch


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