New In Town: Izzy Bizu

Like books, songs find you --- even when you're not expecting or even wanting them too. I was doing the usual scroll through my SoundCloud, waiting for something to attract my attention, when Izzy Bizu's "Diamonds" popped out at me. At first I thought, blandly, "oh, someone is covering Rihanna's "Diamonds" again...". Even though I've heard enough of the original and its covers, I figured maybe someone out there would have the decency to switch up the game plan (you can only over-soul it so much...). Well, Bizu switched it, flipped it, and backed the heck away from it, as this particular "Diamonds" was a completely new, and original composition that actually has a lot more going for it than the song it shares its namesake with.

On "Diamonds", Bizu's influences of Betty Wright, Adele, and Amy Winehouse ease through, but where they end, Bizu begins as she turns the blue light on and slowly crawls into its nocturnal wine, allowing her raspy, 'riddim'-tinged voice to swathe tenderly over the steady guitar flecked beat. It's a winner for sure, and by the looks of the listens it has already racked up I'm not the only one smitten. Yet, most importantly, the track and had me anxious to discover more --- and oh, there is more!

After being an open mic darling (and winner) some years ago, Bizu issued her debut EP, Cool Beanz in 2013. How I ever missed its release is definitely one of the great mysteries of my life, but in catch-up terms Cool Beanz harbors bushel loads of promise for the 19 years young London native as she coos her way through acoustic renderings like the fluttering "Butterfly" and KT Tunstall-esque, "Deep Blue Sea". While nice for lounging in the hissing lawns of summer, my interest became piqued when "Fool's Gold" and "White Tiger" pop on.

Yes, there is a lot of Adele going on in "Fool's Gold" (personally, Izzy Bizu reminds me of Lianne La Havas as they both have that same kind of sweet n' raspy vocal thing going on) as it bops along, but its got a lot of personality to where Miss Bizu's zig-zag vocals illuminate above the influence.

"White Tiger" is the song that became her breakout, aiding in her open-mic win and attracting her towards some major label attention, and there really isn't a need to cross-examine the why, as Bizu's vocals kinetically bob and weave around a plucky piano backdrop that fuses the jazz scatting and sunny-side up pop-soul that Bizu has a fondness for with great precision. An all-around stunner that was made even greater when Star Slinger put some neon house stank on it to amp the rhythm up and give us an idea of what it's like to hear Bizu backed with big big beats.

Still what I like a lot about Bizu's music is that there isn't a heaviness to it. There is usually the same cast of characters --- a piano, guitar, and some keyboards --- featured, but it's minimal without being fussy, sparse without allowing Bizu's buffet-styled vocals to get too lost in the vast spaces. Everything is just rightly measured. While "Diamonds" heads Bizu away from this type of bareness, as its symphonic spread gives her vocals a new facet to marvel on, even as it glimmers, there is comfort in the idea that Bizu stays true to the 'less is best' mantra, and will hopefully continue to do so as she keeps growing with each substantial next step.

Izzy Bizu
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