In Hawaii with Izzy Bizu

In between her hols and new album, we caught up with Izzy Bizu.

Being hailed as the next big thing on a plethora of trend lists, being the voice of the 2016 Euros, having a rigorous festival schedule and her debut album coming out next week, we can all agree that Izzy Bizu has been busy. She’s taken a well-deserved holiday to Hawaii and has shared it with us via everyone’s favourite medium – Polaroids.

Hi Izzy! Firstly thanks for the pics, Hawaii looks incredible – is it a place that’s special for you?

Now it is. It was the first time I’ve been and it’s a really nice slow way of life. I went with my best friend and had loads of time to reflect on what an amazing year it’s been. There’s such good hiking and beautiful views of the islands once you reach the top of the mountains. We hiked on an old railway track and there were loads of gaps – if you miss the gap you’ll fall through.  

Sounds like a mixture of beauty and danger! Do you always take Polaroids over digital?

It depends – if I’ve got lots of film on me. I have a Fuji Polaroid camera. I appreciate Polaroids more because they’re in your hand and you care about the photos, as each one is valuable. I hang Polaroids up at my shows so people can take them at the end. 

I’ll keep an eye out at your next show. You seem to constantly be touring & travelling – what’s life like on the road?

It’s really, really fun, I’m always full of adrenaline. It’s just hanging out with a group of mates and there’s never really a dull moment. Whenever you’re bored you fall asleep or play cards. You develop a tour family. 

“White Tiger” started life as a stripped back piano song on your first EP – what’s the journey like for a track like that then turning into a full production radio tune

I was curious to see what it sounded like with a full production and we wanted to make it danceable. In my heart of all hearts the original is the one I love the most. It’s a song about finding your feet, the first song I ever finished. I’m into stuff that’s stripped back. 

Your debut album A Moment of Madness is out on 2nd September – What does the album mean to you?

It’s about everything and everyone who I love. It means growing up, a new chapter. It’s a coming of age record about finding yourself.

Where do you want people to listen to this record? 

In a cosy room with orange lights, or in the car.

So cars with orange lights are the perfect Izzy Bizu album listening pods then. Where’s your happy place ?

By the sea. 

Whenever I do something I’m proud of I tell my mum – Who’s the first person you play a new song to?

My best friend Olly, and my mum. I always ask Olly what he thinks about something. I’ve known him for 10 years.

What’s your favourite song to perform live and why?

“I Know”. It’s the one where I have the most connection with the audience. 

How has growing up in Ethiopia, Bahrain and South West London influenced your sound?

Growing up in Bahrain was really cool – I got to know my dad, as he was an expat there. It was a new experience for me and a completely different way of life. Moving around a lot made me crave adrenalin. I like chopping and changing – that’s why I love touring as we moved around a lot. As for Barnes in South West London, everyone used to call it Narnia because it’s so far from anywhere. It’s out in the sticks, super green and the woods are awesome. It was nice to get lost there and I wrote a lot of the first EP there.

I’m pretty sure I saw you walking around the lake at SGP looking ethereal – What’s been your best festival experience this summer and why?

Oh thank you! Seeing Anderson Paak at Pukkelpop definitely. I am a huge fan. I met him afterwards and I was so overwhelmed – he was the best thing about it. I also had a really fun performance there.

Any exciting collaborations on the way?

Honne for the moment. 

Finally, where do you see yourself in three years time?

I just like to live in the moment – I get scared when I think about the future. Maybe that’s me being “ethereal” haha.

Izzy’s debut album A Moment of Madness is out on September 2nd

Max Cocking
In Hawaii with Izzy Bizu

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