We catch up with New York hailing songbird Mizan, to talk honesty, industry stereotypes and her Ethiopian upbringing
Sometimes, the Internet can let you down. Search the World Wide Web over for traces of Mizan’s sultry, resplendent offerings and you’ll be hard come by to stumble across more than three. The emerging songstress is currently taking supporters on a journey with the slow but deliberate release of her Dark Blue EP – each month or so, debuting a new single with an accompanying visual. But the sounds we do see, taken from what’s thus far been unveiled are wholly satiating, cocooning you in world of her making, all the while enveloping you deeply in a hunger for more, and more, and more of her sound.
How much is in a name? Mizan, meaning balance in Islamic dialects, perfectly encapsulates hers with her raspy, whilst sweeter-than-honey vocals, which sink and soar over stripped back beats. Here we talk honesty, her Ethiopian upbringing and industry stereotypes…
Tell us a bit about you for those who don’t know…
I’m Mizan, I’m an artist, I enjoy reading morbid poetry and long walks in the park during fall.
When did you first discover you could sing?
Probably when I was around seven or eight years old.
What about with writing, what’s your writing process like? What kinds of things inspire you?
Intense feelings… positive, but especially negative.
A lot of your writing is very honest, is there anything you feel too personal to reveal or is that the whole point?
I like the idea of presenting myself and the world very bluntly. I don’t think my songs are particularly personal, most of my songs are about life and the people in it.
What’s your objective in doing this? If people could take one message away from listening to your music what would you want it to be?
That they’re not alone.
You’ve previously cited your Ethiopian upbringing for giving you the foresight to “opt out of frivolity.” What do you think it was in particular and do you think this interest in honesty and shying away from simply being pretty or easily consumable is a help or a hindrance in terms of your advancement in the music industry?
My upbringing has taught me many things; the importance of challenging stereotypes is one of them. The “industry” at large wants women to be pretty, sexy, relatable blah blah blah. Many of the concepts endorsed by mainstream media are bullshit. So of course, if you’re not interested in fitting that mold, things will be hard for you.
What about your new EP, you have recently released some songs from it, what’s the reaction been like so far?
The reaction has been amazing, both from press and listeners. I haven’t really released much at all and there has been very little promotion; but people are drawn to the music and the visuals like I never expected they would. I’m grateful for that.
Are there any tracks in particular you’re most proud of?
It’s impossible to choose.
What do you spare no expense on?
The quality of my work. I will spend all the money I have buying a good lens for a video or paying for perfect mastering of my records.
That’s a good thing to buy into! What does the rest of 2014 hold?
New album, change the world, open minds, make great music.
Words: Alya Mooro