If there’s any Victorian musician who’s been through it all, it’s Izzy Losi. Hailing from Geelong, Izzy has been playing, writing and recording professionally since going to university in 2010.
Eight years later, after many life experiences, she says music is still what she wants to do, and despite taking breaks from it to focus on her teaching career, it still brings her back.
“I used to do a lot of gigs in Melbourne when I was at uni,” Izzy tells The Real Songwriters of Melbourne. “I was in this program in 2010 called The Push Mentoring Program, and I had a mentor and got to record my first song. It was quite a long song, it was dedicated to my gran who passed away the year before, so I had this song and hadn’t had anything to do with it until then. My mentor was Monique Brumby, but one of the other mentees was Courtney Barnett. So I got to play with her. It’s weird how her journey to me has been me watching her grow and develop from a far, but her success has driven me to keep coming back to music. I have had little breaks where I’ve gone and studied other things, as I had drilled into my head from a young age that I needed to have another job, so I went and did teaching. But I wish I had stuck to music as a bigger focus, because the more you put in, the more you get out.”
Despite not recording her first song until she began university, and despite the many years Izzy has been performing across Melbourne and Geelong, she admits that she’s always been making music, and she’s always been driven to the piano before anything else. Songwriting came next at about 12 or 13, and even though she began dabbling in guitar before picking up the piano, she wishes she’d kept at it.
“I went on a weekend away to Queenscliff with Push, and I remember specifically bringing my keyboard in and being the only keyboardist amongst a bunch of guitarists. I felt like an outsider. I guess I never really embraced it. But recording with Push was my first experience of being in a real recording studio, and I’ve always had a backing band who were musician friends. I used to be the singer in an alternative band and stuff like that, so I’m used to playing with others.”
Nowadays, she identifies as the primary songwriter of Izzy Losi and the Auracles, but finds the process much simpler thanks to her supportive band, which includes bass guitarist Simon, who also happens to be Izzy’s partner. She admits that without them, she’d still be writing the same ballads she was writing back in the early days, and wouldn’t have the confidence to be bolder and to perform the music she performs now.
“I write better when I have something to talk about. If something’s really rattling me in my life, at whatever point, it’s easier. I like to write lyrics as I play around with the music. I generally wouldn’t write them separately. It all sort of comes together and happens at once, but that’s different for everyone. At the same time, it’s very rare that I’ll have lyrics without music. Sometimes if the lyrics aren’t working, it takes a bit longer, but you can still get a really good song because you’ve thought about it longer. It all sort of comes at once for me.
“I’m really bad at writing titles too. Simon came up with ‘Faded Kingdoms and Jaded Hearts’. I had all the content there, I’d put the song together, but was struggling to pick out the title. The song was inspired by Walt Disney, after we watched a movie about him. It was about his struggles and setbacks and how he overcame them to do something so much bigger, and it reflected my own struggles. I don’t think I give myself enough credit. I’m beginning to realise that I don’t always have to be a perfectionist, and that the world isn’t like that anymore, particularly in music.”
Izzy credits the Melbourne scene for helping her on her track when it comes to playing live, too. Comparing it her own experiences down in Geelong, she admits that the reception is much better, and she feels a lot more confident in knowing that people will pay attention to her music. Where she often gets asked about tour plans and her music in general by listeners in Melbourne, the same reception doesn’t happen in Geelong. Whilst working in Geelong; however, she has learnt that the music scene there is almost non-existent and that going forward, she’d prefer to stay performing in Melbourne.
“To give you a specific example, at the start of the year we played at the Festival of Sails down on the waterfront. In the morning, we left to go to Frankston at 8am, and we played an hour set at the Australian Beach Day and the reception from the crowd was so much better. We had people come up to us asking us if we played at weddings and everything and I was like ‘we never get this in Geelong!’ Then we raced back down to Geelong to play the festival and hardly anyone was paying attention and that was when I realised I was done with Geelong.”
Not only this, but Izzy intends on rebranding with her band in the coming future, wanting to hold off from releasing new music until this occurs. She puts this down to a needed name change, becoming frustrated with the difficulties of using her name in her band’s name.
“Something we’ve noticed in the last five years is how often my name is spelled wrong- posters are wrong etc. Phonetically, people don’t get it. So my name, and having my name in the band name is something we’re reassessing. At this stage, I’m the primary songwriter, and the boys add their own thing musically. I’m thinking of changing it though, and don’t really want to release any more new music until we’ve rebranded. We have a whole bunch of songs that need to come out, but we’re in this transition stage with the naming. I’m over having to explain myself, it should be fairly simple.”
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra