Check out this great interview I got to do with singer/songwriter Izzy Malik! Izzy and I spoke about her songwriting process, her music video "Malala", and what music means to her.
Tell me a little about when you first got started playing music. This could be the first experience you had when you sang, or picked up an instrument, whatever it may be!
I’ve been singing since I was really young. I started taking voice lessons when I was in first grade. It was when I was six years old that I realized that I wanted to be a musician. I saw a Britney Spears performance on my TV, and I realized that that’s what I wanted to do.
I understand that you are a major advocate for women’s rights and education. How would you say that side of you plays into your musical endeavors?
Well my first single was about women’s education and rights. It was for Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot by the Taliban for wanting an education, and survived. It juxtaposes the life of a normal American girl getting an education easily, and the girls in the Indian subcontinent who have to fight to get an education, which is really their basic right. It’s just really important for me because a lot of us here in the states take education for granted. You have girls in that area of the world fighting for their life just so they can go to school. That just really hit me because I’m originally from there. My family is mostly from Pakistan. My aunt is a teacher there, my grandmother is a teacher there. You hear about these kinds of stories all the time, and I felt like it was necessary to bring awareness to that issue.
I actually remember hearing about Malala. She was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and she did this really great interview with him about the situation and what happened. When did you first hear about her story?
I was a senior in high school, and I came home and heard about it on the news. I just thought it was crazy that people would go to that extreme to stop someone from getting an education. I just thought that someone needed to write a tribute to her. I thought she was just so brave for standing up for her rights.
Tell me a little bit about the writing process for this EP. When did the first song come into play, and about how long did it take for the entire process to be complete?
I think it took about six months, I want to say. When I write lyrics, I try to write them as fast as I can so I don’t forget the idea I have. The first single on the EP, “Just Another Boy”, was actually from a dream that I had. I woke up and I had that song playing in my head. I wanted to get it written down as fast as possible. We had it recorded within about a month. I think we had all the songs in about six months.
I understand that you’re attending college right now while working on your music career. What’s been the biggest challenge and biggest reward with tackling both of these endeavors at the same time?
I think the biggest challenge is balancing my time properly. I love nothing more than to give all my time to my music. There’s times when I’m in class, and there’s an idea that hits me, where there’s something that I want to write about. And I have to try to do it as discreetly as possible. I think it’s worth it because I take these classes that are really interesting and some of them are music classes too. It’s all going to help me with my career.
The next two questions I ask to every artist that I interview. First, what kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I’d like fans to walk away with the message that it’s okay to be yourself. If somebody cares about you, they’ll love you for who you are. The other thing is that anything is possible if you dream big and work hard to make your dreams a reality.
Second: what does music mean to you?
Honestly, music means everything to me. Music is always there when sometimes people aren’t there. Music can just bring you up when you’re feeling down. Music is honestly just the love of my life. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Last question: what are the future plans for Izzy Malik? If there’s anything you’d like to let fans know about, go for it!
Yeah! We’re going to be releasing my second music video, for “Just Another Boy”, sometime this month. My second EP is going to be released later in the year around Christmas, hopefully. I’m going to be hitting the road later this year and I’ll have more details to come about that soon.
This has been another shameless promotion.