HOW TO MAKE YOUR MUSIC BANG ON (AND OFF) TIKTOK WITH IZZI DE-ROSA

HOW TO MAKE YOUR MUSIC BANG ON (AND OFF) TIKTOK WITH IZZI DE-ROSA

by Stella Hughes
8 min
@izziderosa ©

Izzi De-Rosa is a force to be reckoned with. Exploding onto the scene during the pandemic,  Izzi has been propelled by her playful take on songwriting, keen eye for marketing herself, oh, and her sick voice. Having grown up singing, a viral moment on TikTok kick-started a career in the music industry before the majority of the world knew what TikTok even was – bringing her deals, hundreds of thousands of followers and a well-earnt space in the industry.

Despite this, Izzi has also had to put herself and her music out there in the usual ways when trying to build up a reputation and following. After a period of introspection, she’s back to release her new project ‘love u in the morning’ – we caught up with her to chat through the journey, and get her take on how you should approach getting into the crazy industry they call music, if you so desire.

@izziderosa ©

Hey Izzi! For those who don’t already know, introduce yourself and what you do.

Hii!! I’m Izzi De-Rosa, I’m a singer from London. I call my sound ‘Brat-Pop’ – it’s very early 2000’s/early noughties inspired and very British.

I know you’ve always been a singer – when did you realise music was what you wanted to do full time?

I think deep down I always wanted music to be my career, but it kinda got lost in the chaos of early adulthood… I think that happens to everyone though at some point, and it’s normal to lose your direction in all the nonsense of life. Anyways, it kinda came to a head in some kinda like existential crisis in the middle of a masters course; I had this realisation that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else… so I did it!

Once you’d made that decision, what were the next steps? How did you get started?

Well it was a bit of a strange situation, because pretty much as soon as I decided it was what I wanted to do, the pandemic started. I spent that summer writing a lot in my bedroom, spamming the internet with videos of me singing, I did a virtual ‘tour’ for a bunch of UK grass-root venues. I was just trying to put myself in-front of as many people as possible, hoping that someone relevant and in the music industry would notice me! Eventually it worked 🙂

@izziderosa ©

TikTok has had a massive impact in your career – can you talk to us a bit about the app and how it’s impacted you / your work?
Tiktok is a funny little eco-system. I guess actually it’s not so little anymore. When I first got on the app, I don’t think there were many artists on there promoting their music. The thought process behind me joining kinda aligned with me wanting to spread my reach & music outside the echo-chamber of friends and family that were following me on Instagram.

 I started posting videos of me writing songs with random things around me – my bedroom, my tattoos. One day, I posted a clip of a song I’d written about a boy and filmed his reaction to it. That was my first real ‘viral’ moment, and I ended up releasing that song as my debut single. That moment was really crazy for me, but I feel like afterwards I was on this massive come-down and trying to replicate it, which wasn’t possible. After this, there was a period where I was a bit lost and was writing music with the goal to ‘go viral’ or what I think the algorithm would like, which ultimately sucked and made me really unhappy. I kinda decided to take a break from releasing after this and really go back to the drawing board and develop the sound that I loved the most, regardless of trends or apps. 

I feel like I’ve finally landed on that, and now I’m excited to be releasing this music, and if it goes viral or does well on Tiktok that’s just a cherry on-top of a cake that already tastes so good to me.

@izziderosa ©

What do you think you need to be successful in music?

I think it relates to the above. You need to make the music for YOU, and really make sure it’s something that you are proud of and believe is timeless. You can’t be looking at trends, or what labels think is cool. It needs to come from yourself. I think it’s important to not compare yourself to anyone else either, because that can be a bit of a black-hole. Stay true to yourself and consistently work hard, the rest will follow. 

What about on TikTok?

I think it’s important to think about what really represents you as an artist and create a unique world around that. Try and figure out what your niche is, and really play on this.

Take us through a typical day in the life.

It really differs day-to-day. On a typical week I’m splitting my time between being in the studio and writing new music, and then days filming content to promote this music (eye-roll but a necessity). At the moment I’m building up for my next release, so I’ve spent a lot of time going to fittings to curate the looks for the artwork, music videos and press shots… alongside writing up music video treatments, jumping on calls with the director to plan logistics, and meeting up with journalists to talk about the song and kick-start the press release 🙂

@izziderosa ©

Can you talk us through your creative process?
Usually when I write a song, something has annoyed or upset me and I just want to vent. Because of this, the lyrics have always come quite easily to me and I love telling the story to the listener. That comes first. The musicality and production of the song kinda comes as an after-thought of what would suit the story, and I’ll usually reference some song I love from the late 90s/early 2000s and put a fresh and modern twist on it.

What would be your top 3 tips for emerging artists looking to break the industry? 

  1. Figure out what makes you different to the rest, don’t follow what is current. 
  2. When you feel like you’ve hit a dead end…keep going. It’s never an easy or straightforward journey. And it takes far longer than you initially imagine. We hear a lot of ‘overnight success stories’, but they very rarely happen overnight…these people have been grafting for years. You’re going to have a lot of setbacks and things that knock your confidence along the way. Just keep pushing and believing yourself and you’ll get there.
  3. Consistency is key. If you have a moment, run with it and ride the wave. The worst thing you can do is ‘stop & start’ (unless, like me, you really need a moment to figure your shit out). 

Is there anything you wish you’d known starting out?
A viral moment on the internet doesn’t last forever, but the music does. I sometimes wish I’d taken more time honing my craft and my sound, so that I understood it better before everything got flung into the public eye. But then, I guess maybe I wouldn’t be where I am now. 

@izziderosa ©

What have we got to expect from you in the coming weeks?
I’m releasing my next single ‘love u in the morning’ on the 23rd of September!! I’m so excited for this. It’s very much Kate Nash meets Sex Pistols. Go and have a listen, let me know what you think!!

Lastly, what’s your favourite lyric by you, and by someone else?
Favourite lyric by me would be from my upcoming single ‘love u in the morning’: ‘there’s a fine line between love and hate, so we take it to the bathroom, and we’re best of mates’… there’s a metaphor in there, if you can figure it out. 

I’ve always loved the lyrics in this song by Bright Eyes… ‘yours is the first face that I saw, think I was blind before I met you’. There’s something in that that is so beautiful!!

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