Recently Dhaani from UrbanBridgez.com caught up with Laura Izibor, read on to see what she had to say…
UrbanBridgez.com: Thank you Laura for speaking with UrbanBridgez.com, we appreciate it so much! How are you?
Laura: I’m doing well, just returned to New York.
UrbanBridgez.com : Laura, I wanted you to know personally UrbanBridgez.com chose you as one of the top ten artists to look out for in 2009. We are just so in love with “From My Heart to Yours”.
Laura: Aww, thank you. Thank you so much. I didn’t know that and you really put a smile on my face.
UrbanBridgez.com: Awww (laughs)! I was reading a little bit about you and you stated in your bio the foundation begins with soul, explain that for me.
Laura: Well I think the foundation of what I do in looking within the soul is finding the genre that has the biggest impact. It comes down to what I love to listen to and what I sing and I think with my music that’s where it all begins.
UrbanBridgez.com: So you began working on your album at the age of 17. How important was it for you to define your style / sound before releasing the album?
Laura: Defining your style to me is something that happens very naturally. The problem is with a lot of people is they expect you to have everything [style] together very young. This takes a long time and I think all you can do is be real with yourself, be honest with who you are and who you’re becoming. I think that’s what this album is and that’s probably why it’s different with a lot of things you hear. Listening to other people they’ll tell you need to be R&B style, an urban chick, or dress like this and that. I’ve been fortunate to have people to embrace me for who I am although I didn’t know who I was exactly and they just embraced the process. It eventually reflected in the music and the journey in finding me. Thankfully in the end it paid off not to fall for industry pressures and I still maintained the person I’m destined to be.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you think not knowing who you are has led to some of the downfall of some of today’s artists? Many have come and gone so quickly I think.
Laura: Oh yeah, I mean I think we forget what it’s like to be a teenager. Then being thrown into a woman as soon as you get into the industry. Just think about all the pressure, the fame and scrutiny on top of that. For example you could be having a bad day or that time of the month and you could say to yourself “oh god I feel so fat!” On top of that you’d have people coming along talking about “oh yeah, you do look fat girl!” You know what I mean? There’s a whole other element to this industry that the people could make a clear decision not to buy into.
Laura: I think when you get that into people they’ll respond to you to the way you want them to. I was talking to a friend recently and he was like I hear your single (From My Heart to Yours) is a big hit at home. It’s the number 3 most played song in the country. He was like wow you must get recognized a lot and it’s time for you to start dressing like a superstar. I’m like no, no, no! Don’t get it twisted, that’s not me! When you see me in the airport or anywhere else, you’re going to see Laura Izibor chillin’ and off work! That’s not what I’m trying to be. When I’m in performance mode that’s what it is. I want to make it clear that I’m still this normal person who happens to do this [sing]. They need to sort of know these things about themselves and people will have no other choice but to accept it. That’s the problem with us young women; it’s this major fear to not to give to societies pressures and actually stand tall for who you are. You shouldn’t be afraid to find out who that person is.
UrbanBridgez.com: Alright! Speak that! Okay, so tell me about “The Soul of Ireland”. I for one didn’t have a clue Ireland produced soul music. Do you find it weird people don’t know soul music comes from your homeland?
Laura: A lot of people definitely but I wouldn’t say weird but godsmack because they say you look like this, sound like this, and you’re from Ireland…that’s crazy! The thing is about Ireland and Europe that Americans don’t realize is that soul music is so adored in Europe. All your classic people like Otis Redding and Donnie Hathaway are still being spun on radio stations continuously. I don’t think I’d have the same access listening to this type of music on the radio if I grew up in America. In that sense it’s a real blessing to be off in this crazy place musically and I could anticipate it from a very different point of view. I was able to see and hear these artists and it was a magical experience for me being exposed to artists like Otis Redding. I like it! I like being from Ireland and it trips people out but then when people dig it, it’s cool. It’s just like being black from America, France, or what have you. We’re all the same and music is one thing that connects us all – it’s a beautiful thing.
UrbanBridgez.com: Good stuff! As far as listening to the artists mention, did it give you the will to want to sing? How did it inspire you in becoming an artist?
Laura: Honestly I was just singing because I got a good reaction. I was a kid, started singing, and people loved it. I began to do it more and more. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 discovering Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, and India Arie. Then I really heard singers and it was much more than listening to the songs, I began singing along with them. I’m thinking wow; I didn’t think I could sing like this or say words like this. Both women have a way of expressing themselves and it made me aware of the gift I possessed. After embracing my gift of singing, my writing just started to blossom because I was so inspired.
UrbanBridgez.com: Wow, Very interesting! So is this how you earned your nickname “The Soul of Ireland”?
Laura: Um, I don’t know how I earned that. That just popped up everywhere. Every interview I’ve done has started out introducing me as “The Soul of Ireland”. I like it and I’m taking it all in!
UrbanBridgez.com: I hear you and I love it! I’ve heard you’ve opened for acts such as Angie Stone, The Roots. And the late Godfather of Soul James Brown to name a few. Which one were you nervous about meeting and which one gave you the best industry advice?
Laura: I got to meet Angie, the Roots and I supported Al Green as well as Aretha Franklin. Aretha, I was so nervous in meeting her but in the end we didn’t get to meet. The person that gave me the most advice was Al Green. He was so crazy and he’s just a beautiful human being. He said to me to keep being myself. He said when he was the most successful, he was the most miserable. Al said he’s the happiest now that he’s ever been. Al the key is to know and maintain who I am because when you start changing for everyone you become a people pleaser. When you know who you are and stand by it, you’re going to annoy a lot of people but you’ll be happy with yourself! Hold on to it, he said. It definitely stuck with me and is a beautiful thing. Al told me this about two years ago.
UrbanBridgez.com: That was some beautiful advice, I love Al! He’s most definitely one of my favorites.
Laura: Yes he is!
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell me about your new album “Let the Truth Be Told” and what’s the meaning behind it?
Laura: It’s my truth, my truth about life from when I was 15 writing songs on down to the last song I wrote when I was 20. You get the whole choke of that time when we’re always looking back and comparing everything to. In a sense it’s like a time capsule to me. People ask me if I’m sick of singing the songs already and I’m like no. These are like memories and real things I’ve gone through so they’re kinda like my babies! I’ll never stop holding them!
UrbanBridgez.com: Aww, that’s so sweet! When you first heard “Mmh” featured in the Tyler Perry film, Why Did I Get Married, how did you feel hearing that in the movie?
Laura: First thing I was like oh WOW what a cast! Janet Jackson is my hero and Jill Scott…when I actually saw the scene it was played in it was placed so perfectly! It was so nice to hear my song at a beautiful moment for such a beautiful lady. It was a great film overall so the combination was overwhelming. I’m just so flattered and proud.
UrbanBridgez.com: I tell you what, I have From My Heart to Yours stuck in my head all the time. I listen to it when I get up or before I go to bed. It’s such a sweet song!
Laura: Oh thank you!
UrbanBridgez.com: So what type of advice would you give those who want to break it in the business?
Laura: I would say if you’re young and under 18, I would tell them to take their time. You have to be emotionally, physically, and mentally equipped to handle the challenges. It would definitely benefit them just to live life a little and to work on their craft. What is meant to be will be and if you work hard, things will come your way. People may think it’s crazy and not want to hear it bug they need to and realize what it is they’re chasing. Being in this industry you have to prepare yourself for the downfalls. So I would also say stay focused, stay motivated and definitely live your life a little bit. You’ll be able to bring so much more to your album when you get to record it.
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s so true. While we’re on the subject of albums, tell the people why they should pick up your release.
Laura: There’s a lot of honesty to the album and there’s every color (mood) you can imagine; every emotion of the relationship as well as the beginning to the end…life in general. It’s just a very genuine record – it’s coming from one person to the next. The album’s not forced, contrived, or someone trying to manipulate you to buy the record. I hope it’s someone people pick up and connect with.
UrbanBridgez.com: Cool, so what’s something funny people should know about you?
Laura: I say when I eat I get really giddy! Whenever I have a full meal, I just let it all out. My friends would be like…Laura’s got the giggles! Here we go!
UrbanBridgez.com: As were coming to a close, do you have any last words for your fans?
Laura: Thank you so much to everyone who’s making the single a success. Pick up the album, you won’t be disappointed. I just feel blessed to be able to share my gift with you all.
UrbanBridgez.com: Thank you Laura, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I will be sure to tell everyone to pick up the album and I’m going to make sure I get one for myself also!
Laura: Aww…thank you, that’s sweet!
For More on Laura: http://www.lauraizibor.com