WORDS TALLULAH SYRON - CREATIVE PRODUCER + STYLING BIANCA NICOLE - PHOTOGRAPHY BRYONY COLES ROSE TINTED - MAKEUP LAUREN NICOLE - HAIR - PORCO YOSUKE - STYLING ASSISTANT JAMSINE DUNNE - LOCATION ROYAL GARDEN HOTEL
Full of energy and charisma, there is nothing subtle about rising pop starlet Izzi De-Rosa. From her personal style, attitude and music the Brat Pop newcomer has carved her own lane through an over saturated industry, setting herself apart one TikTok at a time. Delving into her journey F WORD sat down with Izzi to discuss her song writing process, unlocking her feminine energy, what’s next and much more.
Tallulah Syron: Hey Izzi how are you?
Izzi: De-Rosa I’m good thank you. Super excited about this year.
TR: How did you first get in to music?
ID: I’d always loved writing, I wrote my first song when I was 12 years old and from there I was just obsessed. It was like a form of expression I’d never felt before. I would run home from school, sit in my room, get my guitar out and write a song about whatever happened that day. I was desperate to go straight from school into the industry and pursue music but my parents where quite afraid of that, as they’re not from creative backgrounds. My Dad's in law and my Mum was an air hostess so the idea of me pursuing music, well they just didn’t even know where to start to be honest.
They encouraged me to get my A-Levels and a degree, have a back-up plan and all that jazz. So I went and studied Philosophy but once I’d finished I found myself feeling very lost and thinking about how much I missed making music. I ended up transferring to do a Masters in Music which was scary, I felt really out of my depth - I’d written poetry but hadn’t sung or written a song in about 5 years. Somehow, they let me on the course and I kind of fumbled my way through it. Once I’d completed my Masters, Covid happened so I locked myself away and started honing in on what I wanted to sound like, what I wanted to say and what my image is. That’s when I started to think about the “business” side of things; I knew I had a passion for music but I was thinking about what my brand would be. Songwriting has always been my love and I guess I always knew deep down that music was what always made me really feel something, it just took a hot minute to find my way back to it.
Izzi wears a waistcoat TAMMY GIRL; trousers JADED LONDON; shoes BUFFALO LONDON; necklace ATELIERSÓ; earrings PIECES; rings PIECES
TR: Your music is described as Brat-Pop - how would you describe what Brat-Pop is? And how would you describe your sound for anyone who hasn’t yet heard it?
ID: Brat-Pop is Pop but a little bit more in your face. When I first started making music I was a bit confused - I knew I wanted to be a pop star, but I didn’t necessarily want to follow what the mainstream was doing, especially in the UK. In one of my first interviews, my music was dubbed as ‘Brat-Pop’ and I liked it so much I’ve just kinda ran with it. I guess my goal is to create something a bit different and make it mainstream.
TR: You grew up listening to Avril Lavigne, Sugababes and watching MTV. How do you feel that has contributed to your sound?
ID: I love the early 2000’s as an era because I feel like all artists where really unique, they had their own niche, voice and style. The charts were also just crazy back then! You’d have so many genres existing in once space. I wish we could get that back. I’m inspired by all things early 00’s to be honest, the style, the movies, the art direction and music videos - before life got too social media heavy, it felt simpler and more unapologetic. Growing up in that era has definitely had a massive influence on my music and also my approach to life in general, in owning what I want to say and what I want to sound like.
Izzi wears dress JADED LONDON; boots NATSYGAL; tights PRETTY POLLY; necklace B1NTUDE; earrings ATELIERSÓ
TR: Talking of social media, TikTok has played a massive part in your career, is social media something that has come naturally for you?
ID: I think I’m quite lucky because social media does come pretty naturally to me. When I was younger, I was obsessed with MSN and MySpace and then with Facebook, I was kinda always drawn to the internet, so I guess yeah it felt natural when TikTok came about. I first became aware of the platform in like 2019, but only in the sense that I knew my younger cousins used it; they did all the dance stuff on it. I remember thinking at the time wow this would be sick for music, maximum exposure and that. This was before I started taking music seriously but the idea was kind of in the back of my mind, so when I decided to pursue music as a career, I just thought, you know what let’s try this out.
I started doing ‘random-word generated songs’, basically writing random songs with random words to YouTube beats - it felt like I was just doing what I was good at. It took about three months for anything to take off, I remember my first video that went viral, it was a huge adrenaline rush. I just remember it felt mad that so many people around the world were listening to a song I wrote in my bedroom. It still does to be honest.
TR: Your latest single ‘Welcome to my life’ is out now - can you tell us a bit about the track?
ID: This song is based off a diary entry. I’d fallen into this place where I felt like I was treating my life like a self help project. I was following a manual of “this is how you feel okay” - you do your meditation, your yoga, you read your self help books and you journal. It became really robotic. I’d never really done this before but I looked back at my journal and thought it would make for an interesting concept for a song.
I took the idea to the session with super talented producer Jonah Summerfield and really incredible writer Sinai, who I’ve written a few of my songs with. Once I’d told them the idea, the song came together very quickly and very naturally. The song reveals a bit of a struggle between two versions of myself, the one version that is me, Izzi De- Rosa, who I identify as, show up as in the world and how I think people perceive me. And then there’s this other side to me, that I think we all have and that’s your feminine energy which can be quite scary to tap into. It’s quite dark and other-worldly. I think growing up girls learn to put that energy away in a box because it’s intimidating for men. I think when I wrote the initial journal entry I was going through a conflict between the Izzi I’d become so accustomed to in my life and and this other Izzi, who I wasn’t quite yet in touch with. I came to the conclusion that maybe I didn’t really need “fixing", I just needed to embrace who I really am. You can hear the struggle between these two versions of myself in the song - the verses are quite aggressive and the chorus is far more vulnerable and child-like. The music video really plays on those two characters too.
TR: What’s next for you?
ID: I’ve got some new singles that I’m really excited to share over 2023, it really feels like everything is building up now and aligning. I just want to keep growing with my fans, I feel like I’m “figuring it out” with them and I’m not letting that scare me anymore. I’m also going to be supporting Tove Styrke on her Europe tour. I’m so hyped! It will be my first time playing my songs outside of the UK, it feels like a dream.
TR: What’s your favourite F-WORD?
ID: FUCK! That’s rude isn’t it? But that’s what came to mind.
Izzi wears a top JADED LONDON; skirt URBAN OUTFITTERS; necklace RECLAIMED VINTAGE; rings PIECES