Imagine if Alicia Keys had an Irish accent. Say what? No, I’m serious. Recently I was introduced to a fresh new talent from Dublin Ireland named Laura Izibor. Izibor- an R&B singer with Irish and Nigerian roots- brings over her debut album “Let the Truth Be Told” from the UK to North America and is ready to conquer the airwaves. In fact, her title track: “From My Heart To Yours” is already on heavy rotation on Urban Mainstream and AC radio stations. It’s the perfect chill-axing mellow upbeat groove that puts you in an happy mood- perfect for those lazy summer days. You might have heard her music and not even known it. Her music has been featured on both the small screen (Grey’s Anatomy, The Hills, American Idol) and the silver screen (“P.S. I Love You”, “The Nanny Diaries”, “Seven Pounds” and “Step Up 2”).
Izibor has been likened to other R&B Soul singers like the great Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Lauryn Hill and the aforementioned, Alicia Keys. Check out the following quotes and praises from various publications.
Listed as one of Rolling Stone’s Artists to Watch (Sept 2008)
“…whose husky croon and spunky, piano powered songs have earned her comparisons to Aretha Franklin and Alicia Keys.”
VIBE says Laura “has more than luck on her side” (Nov 2008)
“…her sound is serious, yearning even. And like her background, it’s a hybrid of influences– Joss Stone’s throaty vocals and gut-punching urgency with Jill Scott’s buttery lyricism.”
“The whole album is a marvel – her killer voice slicing through a passel of breezy R&B”
Selected as one of Billboard’s Faces to Watch – Best Bets of 2009 (Jan 2009)
“ ’Let the Truth Be Told… is personal, real, honest, strong and biblical’ ”
GIANT introduces “this side of the pond to her tender soul” (Oct/Nov 2008)
“…Izibor opens up for her piano-tinkled debut Let The Truth Be Told ”
“ ’It’s not a concept; there’s no idea…the songs I’ve written are from me.’ ”
EBONY discovers the “Soul of Ireland” (Mar 2009)
“…lilting accent, self-played piano riffs and throaty-sexy voice….”
The Guardian “meets the straight-talking young Dubliner” (Jan 2009)
“Debut album…full of the kid of catchy tunes that usually mean a record label has spent a mint on expensive writers and producers- but the writing is all her own work.”
New York Post’s pick as an artist “that’ll rock – or gently sing – your socks” (Jan 2008)
“With an Irish brougue that screams Dublin, darts and a pint of Guinness…. Izibor startles you when she steps to her piano and sings soulfully and seductively in an Aretha-meets-Alicia tone”
This 20-something year old singer slash songwriter grew up to a working class family in Dublin Ireland. Her mom raised five kids on her own so there wasn’t a great deal of time to buy records. Her love of music didn’t come to fruition til she was about thirteen when she discovered artists like Stevie Wonder, Candi Stanton and Roberta Flack. Once she discovered these artists, she found herself falling in love with soul music. At the age of fifteen, Laura won a prestigious competition, the “2FM Song Contest” and began working on her debut album at the young age of seventeen. Her debut album which she fully penned and co-produced are full of songs ripe with authenticity, sass and soul. When asked what she hoped for when people purchased her album, she responded
“I hope people take away a sense of honesty and realness in the record. They’re just songs written from a really sincere place, and hopefully people can connect to it on some level and relate their own lives to it as well.”
“Life is good. Music is amazing. It’s just a great, unusual thing to be doing what I love, and I’m genuinely grateful. I come from a working class family, so my bothers and sisters and my mother worked so many jobs their whole lives, just trying to provide for us. That’s why I’m extremely humbled and grateful to be able to do something that is not only what I love, but pretty unbelievable.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to watch Laura Izibor live. A couple of weeks ago, she came to town and opened up for Maxwell who’s back after an eight year hiatus, (PS. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE Maxwell but that’s another story which I’ll blog about later). Let me first state that, yes I do love big concert events in huge stadiums and all the hoopla that brings but it was so refreshing to see an artist simply walk on stage with no fanfare and just accompanied by just one other musician. Izibor prefaced every song with a brief background on either the song meaning, inspiration or funny anecdote. She was so incredibly cute talking about her experiences in that Irish accent of hers. As entertaining as she was during her monologues, she was completely mesmerizing during her performances. Whether or not the fact she was singing just four rows in front of me or not, I felt she was singing directly to me. Her rich and soulful voice filled that venue and made it feel like you were in some intimate bar discovering an unknown local talent. If you ever have a chance to see Izibor in concert, I HIGHLY recommend it. She’s currently on tour with Maxwell but has also opened up for acts like The Roots, James Brown, Estelle, John Legend and others.
Whether or not you’re a huge fan of R&B, I highly urge you to give Laura Izibor a quick listen. Trust me, you’ll be a quick convert. Of all her tracks my favorites are “Don’t Stay”, “From My Heart to Yours”, “What Would You Do” and “If Tonight Is My Last”. The latter, “If Tonight Is My Last” is a song about how you would like to spend your last night on earth. It was my by far my favorite song she performed when I saw her live. When she finished, I found myself standing up and praising her as if I were someone at Showtime at the Apollo.
Here’s her video, “From My Heart To Yours”, from her debut album, Let The Truth Be Told.