On Tuesday night at Heaven Nightclub in London, Izzy Bizu continued to show why there is a real buzz around her. At just 21 she has already supported Sam Smith on tour and is now supporting Grammy Winner Foxes.
On a recent appearance on “Later With…”, host Jools Holland described her as “wonderful”. She has come a long way since being spotted at an open mic night for ILuvLive in Camden whilst covering ‘Summertime’. In fact, according to the BBC, Naughty Boy was in the audience that night and remembers her performance saying, “She was amazing, it was like one of those Emeli (Sande) moments when she performed. I was like ‘Who is this girl. Why haven’t I heard of her?’ Not in an arrogant way, just like, ‘This is amazing.’ ” So, it was with some degree of anticipation that I waited for this charming young woman to perform her set.
She did not disappoint, and it is not a surprise to learn that her musical influences growing up include Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday’s music that her Mum used to play at home. This was music she took away to boarding school to remind her of home, and it was there that she was further influenced by the piano playing “guy that actually ran the boarding school”, with songs like ‘Killing Her Softly’, before going home to London and theatre school, where she started listening to Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. All of these wonderful influences are reflected in the way she phrases songs and delivers them live.
On Tuesday night she moved effortlessly between her songs, which are a real fusion of jazz, soul and pop. Naughty Boy declared “I would love to work with her” in a recent BBC interview for Newsbeat, and I’m sure he will not be the only one. She has an easy-going giggle that does little to hide how much she is enjoying herself at the moment and the packed Heaven audience evidently enjoyed themselves just as much. I’m sure we will see a lot more of this young lady and she will be a busy Izzy Bizu.
Steve Holley is a live music enthusiast from London. His son Max is a singer-songwriter. Stay tuned for more of Steve’s updates, and an interview with Max.