Raw, dynamic performances and honest songwriting. That’s what it’s all about with Jalapeno Records newest signing, blues songstress – Izo FitzRoy.
A Londoner born-and-bred, Izo’s music is influenced by the raw power of female blues legends like Janis Joplin as well as the heartfelt lyricism of soul men such as Bill Withers fused with her own gospel roots from years spent singing in, leading and directing touring choirs.
Her songs are built for performance, sincere and compelling lyrics delivered over tight and melodic grooves. She effortlessly transitions them from the recorded versions to the live stage with her band’s unique 7 piece line-up, shunning typical soul instrumental combinations to instead feature 4 gospel backing vocalists. This vocal arsenal provides the perfect foil of uplifting harmonies to her powerful lead vocal and jazz tinged keys work, setting her apart from contemporaries and making for exciting live shows.
Her music and vocal talents have taken her far and wide – from touring the America’s Deep South dive bars and collaborating with the cream of New Orleans jazz and blues musicians including Grammy award winners Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen through to working as a voice coach on theatrical productions in London’s West End.
It was while she was living in New Orleans for the best part of a year that she wrote and recorded the bulk of her debut album – ‘Skyline’. Production duties came courtesy of industry heavyweight – Dr Rubberfunk who initially met her via Twitter to collaborate on the album track ‘Day By Day’. This creative partnership flourished and quickly grew from a one-off into a whole albums worth of material, producing a record that channels her gutsy gospel style and colourful bluesy keys through the vintage funk grooves of the good Doctor.
Skyline is an emotive collection with Izo’s lyrics sharing her feelings on inequality, depression, mental health and death. She draws from her personal experiences of loss of loved ones, seeing the poverty in the Deep South of U.S.A and working for a mental health charity to look at these topics. But despite the seemingly cheerless subject matter ultimately the record has an uplifting and positive message.
One of overcoming struggles no matter what they are and looking to a brighter future.
This is best exhibited in her lyrics from the album’s title track, written after the death of her friend where her verses meditate on mortality and life’s pain before the chorus brings a more optimistic outlook:
“I’m moving through the bad lands moving through the dark times”
through to the final line – a self-motivating mantra to focus on better things:
“I better keep my eyes on the skyline”.