Laura Izibor enters the studio, dressed head to toe in black: jacket, jeans and boots. Her curly hair is full of life and makeup flawless; her smoky eye shadow completing the look. Gone is the fresh-faced, girl-next-door I had come to know from her MySpace pictures. In her place? A soul chick that rocks. As we talk her Irish lilt is occasionally inflected with a soft American twang (a consequence of spending ample time in the US with her record label Atlantic) and the laidback Irish charm is apparent. Featured in our Rising Star Spotlight late last year Laura Izibor needs no further introductions.
Despite the delay of her debut album, Let The Truth Be Told, Laura has been busy. Though you may not be completely familiar with the name yet, the music will certainly sound familiar. Her track From My Heart To Your's appeared in an episode of the medical drama Grey's Anatomy and Carousel was specifically written as the theme song for the film Nanny Diaries (2007). Whilst her gospel-influenced Mmm featured in not one, but two films: Why Did I Get Married? (2007) and Step Up 2: The Streets (2008), respectively.
Right about now the Irish soulstress is feeling 'Really damn good!' and with good reason. Not only has the film world been paying attention, but with the recent votes from Rolling Stone and Vibe Magazine as Artist to Watch 2008 it seems the rest of the world is too, 'It's taken a really long time to get this record finished; so to get this kind of love, it's crazy,' she tells me.
Considering the buzz around her music, the 21-year old's feet remain firmly on the ground and she reveals the perfect remedy for coping with the expectation prior to her debut release, 'I don't have any expectations for myself; that's the way I try and live my life. I'm just really enjoying singing and playing, just doing what I do.'
Unlike other young female acts who have come and gone before, Ms. Izibor will never be branded a 'studio chick' but a seasoned performer instead. What you get on the record is what you get in person; so when the lady performs live, she performs. Having opened for Angie Stone, the late James Brown, Al Green, The Roots and Jamie Cullum is there need for any more proof? 'Performing live is what you work for - it's the adrenaline, it's the buzz', though this does not mean her love of studio time is any less deep, 'at the same time the creative process is a lot more personal - it's an inward achievement. I couldn't live without the both of them.'
In tune with Izibor's laidback personality is her method of writing; imagining her with a pen and a pad, would be inaccurate, 'I don't write my lyrics down, I just usually record myself on a Dictaphone or whatever I have and just play, mumble, sing and vibe. When I listen back I'm like, 'Oh I see what I was trying to do there' and put a little bit of structure in, a little bit of edge and the song usually just writes itself. Sounds cliche, but it is just a natural process and that's the way I try to keep it.' When asked if there is a special someone to inspire her, she laughs and says, 'Not at the moment. I'm so busy I don't even get time to see my family.'
Now a little older, wiser and more experienced Laura is pleased that she took the time to work on her talent before putting herself out there, 'It took me a very long time and there was a lot of frustration, but it taught me an awful lot. I would still say to someone wanting to get into the industry to work on your skill, get a good demo and send it to record labels and song writing competitions. It's important to take every opportunity that you see; you really have to have no insecurities and just believe in yourself.’
With a 2009 release of Let The Truth Be Told, her debut album of home-cooked soul with an edge, Ms. Izibor is more than prepared. 'I'm most excited about walking into a store and seeing the record on the shelf and just being able to buy it myself. Let The Truth Be Told is an album that I'm proud of and that I believe in. I've been very lucky to write my album 100% so there's nobody else's words there or visions. The album is completely my truths and my experiences.'
© Rachelle Hull, 2008
Published at www.originsmag.com