Nova Scotia singer/songwriter Izra Fitch has just released her latest single, The Hollywood Kids. Recently we spoke her about her passion for her profession.
When and why did you start playing music?
It really started when I was a teenager. I grew up as a fairly reserved and observant person, with a really dramatic way of thinking underneath. Maybe it was from watching movies or feeling like an underdog or being raised by artists. In any case, I felt things deeply. Those first teenage heartbreaks and initial bouts of mental illness tied in with hormones, paved the way for me to put it into noise. Writing songs - and singing them – became a real outlet for those feelings.
Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Absolutely. Although where I used to compose solely for myself, I now love the opportunity to share songs with an audience that can relate to them. Each song comes from a very personal place, and I try to ensure that they can be felt universally.
What are the challenges involved with the vocation?
As a young woman in the entertainment industry, the sexism or harassment that can come with having a very public persona has been my main mountain to climb. It happens in every profession, but the pairing of nightlife, new towns and bar crowds can make it difficult. I developed a tough skin quickly; developing ways to feel secure when performing in new towns, and letting audiences know that they can always reach out to me or my bandmates if they feel uncomfortable in a venue. Planning well, and having excellent bandmates really helps.
What are the rewards?
The rewards come from making people feel something. Looking out from the stage and seeing the audience dancing or listening intently. Bandmates jumping around on stage doing what they love. Feeling like I have a calling, especially one that heals me in my personal life so much. All of these feelings are what make this career so much more than the challenges it comes with. I truly, truly adore it.
How have you evolved as an artist over time?
I have become way more comfortable with showing my authentic self. At the beginning, I was very focused on keeping everything so professional that there was little personality or vulnerability in there. I thought too much about what to say, speak up about, or how I was appearing. Now I like to go more with my gut. We naturally gravitate towards realness, and I am letting my fears go and inviting my audience in a bit more.
How would you describe your sound/style today?
I describe my sound and style as vulnerability being thrown into the spotlight. I aim to keep a rawness and honesty in it, while incorporating the shiny parts of indie-pop music that make that vulnerability stand out.
Who have been some core Influences?
Lorde’s music. She hits the feeling in her songs in a very intense and lush way with a fresh pop sound - I love that newness. Lady Gaga is also a huge artistic motivator for me - her confidence in her ability to do what she wants creatively, and to overcome trauma and build art out of it. I really admire confidence and resilience in artists.
Finding my team. I worked with Dreaming Out Loud Records on The Hollywood Kids, and I am lucky to say that. For the past year I have been orchestrating this career alone - a lot of late nights and early mornings trying to balance the creative and business elements, while working day jobs and being in other bands. To have an experienced group of people backing me up with this debut single has been a huge highlight and career step for me.
Is your creative process more "inspirational" or "perspirational"?
It always starts with an inspiration from my own life, and then it turns into an obsession to capture that feeling and give it a sound and energy that fits – that is when it becomes perspirational; I write for days until the feeling is loud and clear.
What makes a good song?
When it touches the emotions; a blend of honest, new lyrics with the right musical vibe to back it up. That’s what creates the whole package and leaves someone with a strong feeling.
What makes a good live show?
Attentiveness to the audience is what makes a stand-out live show. That’s the ticket. Speaking to the crowd in between songs and after shows and showing trust through words. Keeping a lot of momentum on stage visually is really exciting for people too. As an avid show-goer myself, I love when an artist makes you feel like you are in the experience together.
How are you coping with COVID-19?
Like most of us, I have had to find a new routine and lifestyle to stay healthy - and sane. A busy life turned into one without a schedule very quickly, so I worked on building new habits. Reaching out to the important people in my life has been vital for me. I’ve recently been composing music again and that feels familiar and beautiful. And getting sun is key. There are some excellent shows on Netflix too, though!
What are your thoughts on the current state of Nova Scotia's music scene?
The artists here always find a way to adapt. There’s no doubt that most of us are more than a little heartbroken about losing the ability to play live. But I am seeing resilience in a lot of my favorite artists in what they are still able to create and share. Everyone continues to create, just in a new, pandemic-friendly fashion.
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2020?
I am writing my second single! With the experience of releasing the first track, I can go at the next one with a little more gusto…I want to build a powerful visual element around this one. I can’t wait to work on it, and do this all over again.