Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Izo FitzRoy: A perfect Fitz

Izo FitzRoy 1046 cover interview
Izo FitzRoy 1046 cover interview Izo FitzRoy 1046 cover interview Izo FitzRoy 1046 cover interview Izo FitzRoy 1046 cover interview

Once in a while, an artist comes along who music listeners feel they can connect with on not just one, but a multitude of levels. It may be their all-round style and the message they are trying to convey within their material or perhaps it could be their spirit, along with their assured vocal delivery and commanding stage presence. Whatever it is, it sets them apart from the rest and I'm here to tell you that 34-year-old London based, keys playing soul/blues/gospel singer-songwriter, Izo FitzRoy, ticks all those boxes and more. But, let me give you some sound advice before we start, please do not try to fit her into one "I'm glad that I'm not trapped in any particular box. I could be in the funk bit. But, I'm not too much a funker, I'm not too much a souler, I'm not too much a blueser because I just write and whatever I write, I hope with the gospel element or with my voice or with my piano playing or whatever it is, it's a bit more Americana, I suppose".

FitzRoy is an independent artist with a superpower likeability, to be able to plug directly into your soul with her heady mix of spirit-lifting gospel, deftly delivered soul and enthralling blues type storytelling, which when mixed together, create pure 24 karat genre-defying alchemy. So when I got the chance to sit down with someone who is potentially one of this year's most critically acclaimed artists, to hear all about her new sophomore album "How The Mighty Fall" in a café in London's West End, I obviously jumped at the chance!

First, we talk about discovering her instantly recognisable contralto tones "Late, really late… I went to primary school in London and I went to Ascot for secondary school. But, I always used to take the piss and sing like a man… they were like "you're a 13-year-old girl, don't sing like a man!" It was only when I was at university in Glasgow, where I used to write comedy songs… I think someone said that I've got to go start gigging around Glasgow and do the circuit.

After leaving uni the artist "then recorded a couple of EPs, again, slightly comedy, slightly kind of satirical, weird stuff - to tell you the truth, I think that's where my storytelling grew. Then I went to New Orleans… I had a slight mental breakdown while I was there and wrote "Skyline". Expanding on her self-imposed hiatus "I had a break for a few years after my father passed away. I actually didn't play music for about 3 or 4 years, I just had a total break from it.

On the subject of what genres make Izo FitzRoy tick and the music she loves to listen to and participate in the most, there was only ever going to be one winner "It's very natural. I've always liked soul music but I've always been obsessed with gospel since I was quite young, since I was in my early teens. Obsessed with listening to old… listening to Kirk Franklin or listening to Mavis Staples. That old kind of Southern gospel…and Edwin Star, people like that. I just love it! I could listen to gospel every day. I sing with a (Soul Sanctuary) gospel choir every week, which is just brilliant! I think because gospel is all about feeling that emotion. I'm not particularly religious myself but it is about speaking to something greater than yourself, whatever that may be, it's always uplifting and it's always moving. It’s always felt very natural to pour into my songwriting".

Her first love also helped her choose the Deep South as her, previously mentioned, getaway destination of choice because "it's the home of gospel, it's the home of brass bands, it's the home of everything! It's my Mecca, it's my spiritual home. I just had to go there! Some of my favourite bands [are from there] like Rebirth Brass Band, that I've always been obsessed with - there's so much good music…mainly gospel, the brass bands and the 1920's New Orleans jazz bands. Also, it's a city that never sleeps and I love that. I just wanted to be soaked in music for 6 months. It was terrifying, I went on my own. Unfortunately, her luck was soon to run out but every cloud… "I ran out of money in about 2 weeks. There was no plan..."

Single "Red Line" and album "How The Mighty Fall" are both available through Jalapeno Records.

Find out what happened next in Lee Tyler's enthralling exclusive interview with Izo FitzRoy. Plus, find out how FitzRoy's stunning debut album "Skyline" was made. Also, how she writes her killer songs, what was it was like working with disco super-producer Dimitri From Paris, plus a rundown of her fave songs on her new album "How The Mighty Fall" and what is FitzRoy's ultimate aspiration...all in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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INSTAGRAM instagram/izofitzroy

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