MY final interview of the week...
is with Izzie Derry who has been talking about her new track, Learn to Grow, and its background. She reveals a special musical memory and which three albums mean the most to her; some rising acts we need to watch out for and where we can catch her perform.
I ask how important it is being on stage and whether she grew up around a lot of music; who she’d support on the road if she had the chance and whether she gets time to chill away from music – Derry selects a classic song to end the interview with.
Hi, Izzie. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m really good, thank you. How are you?
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a twenty-year-old Folk/Country singer-songwriter from Coventry, now based in Brighton.
When did the song, Learn to Grow, come to you? What is its story?
I wrote Learn to Grow about a year ago now. Things kept going wrong and I think I was feeling a little bit lost, so I wrote Learn to Grow to kinda say that, no matter what’s thrown at me, I will carry on, learn from my mistakes and become a stronger person for it.
Is there more material coming down the line do you think?
Yes. Learn to Grow is just a little taste of my new E.P., Lost At Sea, which will be release on 24th April.
Did you grow up around a lot of music? Which artists were your favourites?
My parents are massively into music, so there was always something being played. I think my favourite when I was small was Melanie. My mum had a cassette of hers in the car and we’d sing along to Alexander Beetle on the way to school. Then, when I got a little older, it was James Taylor, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
PHOTO CREDIT: Russell Whitehead Photography
What does it feel like when a great song comes to you? Is it easy to describe that moment?
Sometimes it can be a very short release of emotions and, other times, it can take a lot longer and I get a little bit obsessed with it. But, once I’ve finished writing something, I always feel a lot lighter.
Can you describe what music does to you? Is it a form of emotional release?
It’s definitely an emotional release for me; it feels so positive to turn potentially negative experiences into songs that people can find joy in.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to support some pretty awesome artists but I think the most incredible moment was just a few weeks ago. I’d just played a really intimate gig in Leamington Spa and the organiser came up to me and asked if I’d like to support Fairport Convention. I think my mouth hung open for a solid five minutes.
Being asked to support a band I’ve listened to and loved since I was a kid was just a massive shock to the system.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Firstly, Sweet Baby James by James Taylor
He’s a personal hero of mine and I was lucky enough to meet him when I was sixteen. When I met him, that was the album I took for him to sign - and it sits on my bedroom shelf to this day.
Secondly, Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
There is just so much emotion in every single song; it’s my go-to-album whenever I’m feeling sad. I can just belt out the lyrics and instantly feel better.
Finally, Harvest by Neil Young
It’s just so raw: nothing is there that doesn’t need to be. I think, sometimes in more modern music we try and put as much stuff in as possible but I really love how much space there is on this album.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I would have to say James Taylor and (for the rider) probably something simple like hummus and carrot sticks.
What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?
I’ll be doing a small release tour when the E.P. comes out…
24th April - Brighton; 4th May – Coventry; 5th May - Tynemouth; 7th May - Leamington Spa; 11th May – Stafford.
Is the stage somewhere you love to be? How important is it being up there?
I always love going back home and playing shows there because there’s always so much love in the room. So, I guess venues back home such as The Tin, Temperance Bar and anywhere else really.
IN THIS PHOTO: John Craigie
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I don’t get much time to chill as I’m studying for my degree; I have a job and doing music too but I live on a boat so, when I do get some free time, I like to spend some time out at sea.
A lot of musicians find little space to detach and relax. Is this a problem that we need to address or do you think it is good having that passion and drive?
I can’t speak for everyone but I feel quite lost when I’m not working towards something in music so, for me, that passion and drive gives me a purpose and makes me feel positive.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Let’s go for a Fairport Convention one given the recent news: Who Knows Where the Time Goes?
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