Izira Burley is a rising independent musician and singer-songwriter from upstate New York.
Her most recent song, “I Only Have The World,” is an ethereal song about how there is only one last chance to save the world before it ends disastrously. This song was inspired by a James Bond film and has the eerie feel of Evanescence with lots of dark pop ear candy. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
IZIRA BURLEY: I was born and raised in Upstate New York. I come from a musically inclined family. I have family members that are also amazing musicians. I was always surrounded by music, and from a young age, I immediately knew that music was something I would be passionate about. In elementary school, I joined the choir and started playing the violin. That is where it all started for me.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
IZIRA BURLEY: I would say I have an experience of both! I started singing as a little kid in my school choir, and I started playing the violin in elementary school with an orchestra teacher and took lessons. When I started playing the piano around 11–12 years old, I taught myself. I would play by ear and copy what I would hear on to the piano, and that is how I taught myself! Then eventually, I started to learn how to read sheet music for piano and played lots of classical music pieces.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘IZIRA BURLEY’?
IZIRA BURLEY: For me, a huge musical influence would be Amy Lee from Evanescence. I started listening to the min middleschool, and I instantly fell in love with their sound and music. I’ve been inspired by Evanescence ever since, and a lot of my music and songwriting inspiration comes from them. The name is Izira Burley is my actual name! I decided to stick with my name because I want people to know that it’s me, and I’m a genuine artist. I feel like a stage name wouldn’t be authentic to who I am as an artist and the music I make.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
IZIRA BURLEY: I feel like one key element I always want my listeners to resonate with is the music. When I hear a new song, I pay attention more to the music rather than the lyrics at first. It’s the music that makes me obsessed with a song, and I want people to be able to fall in love with the music in my songs, the same way I do with any artist I listen to. I would describe my sound as dark, eerie, dreamy, and haunting. I strongly feel like I resonate with this sound. I can truly express my self and my music this way.
5. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
IZIRA BURLEY: This is a good question! Being an independent artist, I have to do and work on everything including, the song distribution process, the cover art, social media, promoting the song, creating videos, etc… It’s definitely a lot of hardwork and does get overwhelming at times. I sometimes have to take a break, but seeing the love and support I get after makes it worth it. It makes me glad that I didn’t give up. I hope in the future, I can have a team of people to help me, but I am looking forward to more and bigger things in the future.
6. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as POP?
IZIRA BURLEY: When I started songwriting, I would write so many songs about love and heartbreak because that is all I knew. I thought I was gonna be the artist that only writes about love and heartbreak. I was comfortable with only writing about that. It wasn’t until after I released my song, “These Feelings” that I began to write about other things. I wanted to try something new and get deeper in to other aspects of myself and my thoughts. Writing my new song,”I Only Have The World”, was very fun, and out of my comfort zone because I wanted to make a song like this for so long. It took a while because I was worried about what others would think. After all, it is a dark song about the world ending, lol. But I’m glad that I did because now I’m more authentic to myself and artistry more than I ever was.
7. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
IZIRA BURLEY: When I release a song, I want the listeners to know the reason why I wrote the song, the story, and the inspiration behind the song. Also, I always want the listener to be able to connect with my song in their own personal way. My songs are always up for interpretation. As long as the person can find even the smallest of connections in the song to them, that’s all that matters to me. I want people to feel heard and understood with my music.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
IZIRA BURLEY: I usually start with creating a melody when starting a new song. It can be from a melody I created a few months ago or something I created the previous day. I start all of my songs on the piano, then I build on that. I add lyrics, and that helps me determine the mood I want the song to have. The songwriting part is not always the same whenever I write a new song. Sometimes it’s a story I see in my mind that will eventually be the song, or it’s an experience I had or something completely random that also helps to shape a song. This is a process I do by myself because it helps me connect to my song and the feelings behind it.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
IZIRA BURLEY: The most difficult thing I’ve had to endure in my life is my Dad passing away earlier this year. He was always my biggest supporter, and I would always share with him my music ideas and what I was working on. He would encourage me every day to not give up and to write a song at least every other day, even if I wasn’t inspired. It’s weird not being able to share with him everything that has happened since I released my new song, but thankfully he was able to hear my new song before he passed, which makes me happy.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
IZIRA BURLEY: A big, huge, proud successful point in my music career would be in May/June of last year,2022! I won the Almond Breeze Extra Creamy Song writing contest, and I was rewarded with a beautiful, fun trip to LA! I had never been to LA before, and I recorded the song at the studio, and we made a cute music video for the jingle that got over 2 million views on TikTok! It was definitely the most exciting thing I’ve ever done so far!
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