We had the good fortune of connecting with Izzi Ray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Izzi, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Orange County California and raised in Whitefish Montana. Growing up in a rural area surrounded by the most beautiful nature cultivated a deep love and appreciation for my home. I loved Cooking with my dad, playing music with my brother and riding horses with my mom. Wandering and finding my favorite hidden spots of the forest are some of my favorite memories. The sense of wonder and independence really stuck with me through those formative years and my parents encouraged the pursuit of self discovery. My whole family is musical and my parents both worked in the music industry and started their own record label when I was little. I’m so grateful that they showed me the ropes and shared so much wisdom with me. I often feel like I’m made up of juxtapositions, but as I’ve gotten older, I see that all the pieces, places, and people of my background are part of what makes my art and myself unique.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art has changed and evolved over time, but the aspect that has never changed is the authenticity of the lyrics. I write what I know. I document my life, happiness, homesickness, pain, loss, love… Musically, I love real instruments and I love the way all the different ingredients to a song fit together and interact. I would describe my musical style as nostalgic dreamy pop, with a strong focus on melodic and lyrical story telling. I want my music to make you feel things. to show you a new perspective or connect to your current mindset. My husband, Blaine Stark, produces and mixes my music and I write everything. I’m incredibly proud of the albums that we’ve made together. I’m an independent artist so every project is a series of challenges, but the end result is so satisfying knowing that we created something from nothing. Being an independent artist is no walk in the park. Nothing has been easy. Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to get any traction. But I am learning to not let your expectations dictate your value. Everyday I wake up and have to remind myself that creating is a gift and a responsibility and I don’t want to take that for granted. I continue to create because it brings me joy and I hope that my creations can bring joy to others.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Okay here we go… We are gonna start of with a coffee and a croissant or two at Tartine Bakery in Silverlake (they have the best croissants in the whole world). Then we will go to Sticky Rice in Echo Park for some Papaya Salad, Beef Panang Curry, Green Curry Fried Rice, Khao Soi (I can’t possibly choose only one thing). Orrrr Villa’s Tacos in Highland Park! They have become my favorite tacos in LA. Look them up on Instagram: @villastacoslosangeles For Dinner let’s go to Bavel DTLA, or Tsubaki in Echo Park. And then we will float away into escapism bliss at Tiki Ti for a Painkiller, Zombie or Bayanihan.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
• My parents were my first and greatest musical encouragers. • My Husband Blaine showed me how to listen and let inspiration come from anywhere. A great meal, a loving touch, the crashing waves… I have learned so much from his talent and mindset, and he has always believed in me even when I doubt myself. He is a true constant. • My friend and mentor Leah Eash is an incredible and Inspiring artist. Though we use different mediums, she has always been there for me and has helped me through many creative deserts. • A book that truly impacted me, and I highly recommend to anyone whose creative soul needs some guidance, is ‘Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art’ by Madeleine L’Engle.