Written by Maria Arroyo
Photographed by Carianne Older
“I think surrounding yourself with like-minded and supportive people is important. However, I have learned that true happiness comes from self-love, not from the love of others.” – Izza
Recently I got a chance to interview viral artist Izza about her life and career, taking a deeper dive into the importance of mental health in her life and how she uses her platform to advocate for others experiencing the same things.
Izza is an independent pop singer/songwriter and producer from the Los Angeles area. She uses her songwriting and creative production to cope with different relationships, mental health, and other things.
Izza has always been moved by music. “I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer,” she explains. “Growing up, I took dance classes, played piano, and loved singing. There was no greater feeling of happiness I had than when I listened to music. It wasn’t until I was 13 when I discovered songwriting and I instantly knew I wanted to pursue music as a career.”
Izza describes her music as a “combination of upbeat pop dance music and strong and confident hip-hop-inspired cadences and lyricism.”
“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 2023 way.”
Izza has always made a few things very clear. She wants to open up the conversation surrounding mental health and empower and inspire the younger generation of women.
Mental health is a vast topic that contains a ton of subtopics, but to Izza, it’s an ongoing journey that she works hard to prioritize daily. As a fellow songwriter, her connection to using music as a way to channel her feelings and experiences is something I really connect with.
“I started songwriting because I had no one to talk to about my struggles,” she explains. “Being able to write about my experiences in songs has helped me overcome difficult periods in my life and has encouraged me to follow my dreams. When I’m writing a song or performing on stage, I feel the happiest. If there’s one thing in life I want is to be happy, and for me, that’s achieved when making music. Through my story, I hope I can help others if they are going through a rough time and make them feel like they are not alone.”
She also uses her production process and music videos in partnership with her songwriting to express herself and connect with listeners.
“I try to create fun music that is meaningful because I want to write songs that are high-energy and uplifting but that also inspire people to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. By writing about my experiences of overcoming the hardships of relationships and self-discovery, I hope to be a voice for people that have maybe lost their confidence or happiness and need someone to remind them that being yourself is more than enough.”
While opening up about her struggles with mental health, she’s also an advocate for more education and compassion on the subject. She shares about a Nonprofit, Hope For The Day where they focus on mental health education and suicide prevention. She also shared the insane opportunity to perform at the 320 Festival in 2020, which was incredibly special because it was her first public performance as an artist.
The 320 Festival came to life with the help of Talinda Bennington, the wife of the late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. She saw how much her husband struggled with his mental health, leading to his passing in 2017. “Ever since then, I have felt compelled to help those struggling with their mental health to normalize the conversations surrounding it and educate people on how to cope.”
“The festival was also produced by Kevin Lyman, who is someone I respect, admire, and look up to in the industry,” Izza shares with me.
She also explains that since she’s so passionate about mental health, she continues to look for ways to be involved in related events and help spread awareness.
As I mentioned earlier, another huge driving force for Izza is empowering the younger girls to “take charge of their lives, encourage self-love, normalize vulnerability, and motivate listeners to live their dreams and follow their dreams.”
Knowing this, I was excited to hear in her own words how she uses her platform to empower the younger generation.
“My songs have common threads of empowerment and self-discovery, which I believe are crucial in paving the way for women to express themselves through music,” she says. “I want to be able to inspire women that you can create music that is fun and meaningful without compromising your integrity. Music is my outlet to say whatever I want to say without feeling judged or criticized, and I hope that people can use their own creative passions to do the same.”
Along with wanting to empower others, Izza takes great pride in practicing self-love and owning her vulnerability in her day-to-day life.
“I practice self-love and vulnerability by doing the things I love, such as writing music, playing tennis, and hanging out with my friends. By making sure I prioritize these things, I know it helps me be the best version of myself.”
While inspiring listeners and fans alike, she is also determined to help pave the way for artists and women like herself in the music industry.
“From an early age, I knew I wanted my music to represent women empowerment and be a model for artists that you can say whatever you want to say without censoring your thoughts or ideas to please others.”
I always like to leave my interviews by asking what their most significant piece of advice they wish they had earlier on in life that they’d like others to take away, and this is what she had to share with me.
“My advice would be to not listen to other people because as long as you focus on becoming the best version of yourself, that’s all that matters.”
She also wants fans to remember to be themselves and follow their dreams!