When we picture California from a musical perspective, it can sound like a mishmash of surf rock, ska, and West Coast hip-hop. LA-based singer-songwriter IZZA introduces listeners to her own version of the state – part pop, part gritty electro, with modern-day strains of materialism woven in.
IZZA grabbed attention close to two years ago with her debut single “405.” Her career has only gained momentum since: Tracks have resulted in over 200,000 streams across channels, and she had the opportunity to perform on the bill of the 320 Festival along with Kiiara, Elohim, Echosmith, and Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
IZZA continues that streak with the trap-inspired, synth-inflected “Love Bracelets,” out on April 29. Lyrics speak to her discovery of self-love and breaking free from the constrains of validation.
We had a chance to speak with the singer about this new track and her rising career:
Tell us about your musical background.
As a kid, I was always listening to music with my family, playing instruments, and going to concerts. I can’t remember a time where music wasn’t a part of my life. Music is the most natural thing to me, and I can’t imagine a life without it.
What inspired you to start writing songs at 13?
I started songwriting because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my thoughts or feelings.
Songwriting was a creative outlet that allowed me to express myself, as well as cope with whatever struggles I faced. I was always a fan of music and loved the ability to create a piece of art that could impact others and myself in a meaningful way.
You’ve said that California inspires your sound. What about California ends up in the lyrics and instrumentation?
Sense of place is a theme I tend to gravitate towards. I love using my surroundings as inspiration for my lyrics and sound. As someone who grew up in LA, I find it comforting and familiar to write about my hometown.
Living in California for most of my life has allowed me to meet a diverse group of people and have a variety of experiences that have made for great song inspiration.
From songs like “Crying in Silver Lake” to “God of Los Angeles,” it feels most natural to write about the people and experiences that are in my backyard.
Overall, your sound seems to be electro-pop with elements of hip-hop. How would you describe your sound?
I grew up listening to late-2000s pop artists like Gwen Stefani and Fergie and loved how they worked with hip-hop-driven producers like Pharrell Williams and will.i.am. That is an era of music I will always go back to and want to emulate in a 2022 way.
I think the combination of upbeat pop dance music and strong and confident hip-hop-inspired cadences and lyricism is the recipe for my sound.
Your latest song “Love Bracelets” lyrically focuses on themes of self-worth. What influenced you to write this song?
I would value my worth based on how others viewed me. For me, if someone didn’t love me, I didn’t love myself. I wrote “Love Bracelets” when I learned that self-love is the most important kind of love and that your value isn’t based on what relationships you’re in or not in.
I use themes of materialism in the song not to encourage extravagant spending, but to show the extremes that people will take in order to receive love.
I reversed that and showed the extremes of self-love, which, to me, is buying expensive things for yourself because I had to unlearn a construct that was hindering my ability to be happy.
Musically, “Love Bracelets” brings together elements of pop, dance, and trap. How did these elements come together?
Since I was 17, I always wanted to write a song called “Love Bracelets.” I think I wrote 10 songs called “Love Bracelets” throughout the years, but I could never get the sound right.
As I have developed myself more as an artist, I finally found my lane and sound, so the idea of “Love Bracelets” eventually came together and is the song that is out now.
Your debut came out roughly two years ago. Has your approach to songwriting changed since then?
My sound and lyrics have evolved so much over the course of two years. I believe I have a stronger sense of myself as an artist, and I want to use pop music as a platform to encourage self-love and spread positivity.
Making pop music to me is more than just creating a fun beat or something you can dance to. I want to do that, of course, but I also want to inspire people to follow their dreams and be the best version of themselves.
Do you have any plans for a full-length album in the future?
I hope to release an EP this summer! I’m excited to put out a project because I have written so many songs in the past two years and can’t wait for people to see my growth as an artist.
You’ve performed at a few online music festivals already. Where do you plan to perform live this year?
I don’t have any official live performances planned yet, but I hope to plan something around the time of my EP release!