R&B-Soul singer/songwriter Laura Izibor is back from her hometown of Dublin, Ireland to release her new EP called The Brooklyn Sessions Volume 1 on Atlantic Records. It’s a live studio session made up of 3 songs from the critically-acclaimed artist who’s been dubbed “The Soul of Ireland.” She’s been a Rolling Stone: Artist to Watch as well as a VH1 You Oughta Know selection.
Now she’s here with us at UPL speaking about the new project and the current state of R&B music. Enjoy!
UPL (Akim): Hi Laura…how are you?
Laura: I’m great. How are you?
I’m great. Thank you for taking this time to speak with us here at UPL. You have a new project coming out August 7th called The Brooklyn Sessions Volume 1. So what can people expect to hear from this new EP?
I wanted to do something quite organic. I had all of these songs and I called my manager and said let’s get my band and I into this studio in Brooklyn (New York) and let’s press record. So between albums and tours, whenever I have that creative urge and just bring the fans with me on that journey. It’s freedom for me.
And this is volume one so I assume there will be more volumes to follow at some point in the future?
I took a listen to the EP, which is comprised of only 3 songs. “He’ll Never Know” is definitely my favorite with its Caribbean flavor. Do you have a connection to the islands?
I’ve been exposed to a lot of reggae and Nigerian music. My father’s a big Bob Marley fan so we threw some splashes in there. It was something that just naturally came about.
“Ring” and “Gracefully” round out the EP making it a quick and fun listen. This is, of course, following your critically-acclaimed debut album Let The Truth Be Told released in ’09. Is it safe to assume that this EP is a set-up for your sophomore album?
Not necessarily. The whole point of The Brooklyn Sessions Vol. 1 is just freedom. It’s the freedom I have as an artist to just put something out that I feel needs to be heard. To me, it’s like the next level to Let The Truth Be Told. I think the fans of the first album will definitely get their fix and hopefully they’ll get more as well.
Understood. So you’re a native of Dublin, Ireland. What is the soul music scene like there?
Honestly, there’s not really a scene. There’s music all over and soulful music like when Jill (Scott) or Erykah Badu comes to town. I think we need more homegrown talent living here and growing up here to develop a scene.
Well electronic music is definitely dominating the world right now and it has its influence on urban music too while your approach to music is much more gritty and soulful. Does it interest you at all to adopt more of an electro sound?
Well I don’t listen to the radio. I mean I listen to some stations like Top 40, the ones that have that type of mixture. And at times yeah it’s very recycled. But that’s the way music goes. It’s there for everyone so who am I to say that’s superficial? Cause that could be making someone’s day. Somebody could be going through a death (of a loved one) and that poppy electro song can get them out of themselves and just make them feel good. I think that’s the objective of music. To each their own.
I agree. The diversity is key and to each their own.
I mean my nieces absolutely love Katy Perry. And I’ve never seen them smile so much. So you know what, it makes them happy. I might not buy the album, but it’s individual. Music is music.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t get your opinion on one of the biggest topics in R&B music today especially since you’re coming from a totally different country. What is your opinion on Frank Ocean? Are you aware of him?
No…I live under a rock [LOL].
[LOL] I’m sure it’s definitely more of a stateside issue.
So tell me. What did he do?
He’s a fresh new R&B singer around your same age with tons of co-signs and recently came out of the closet.
Wow. Good for him. That’s a beautiful thing. Wow. That’s brave.
Yes, it’s a new day!
Yeah you know, it’s been a big stigma to be a black (gay) man in black America especially in this (music) industry so that takes courage.
And that’s been the overwhelming response…very positive and acknowledging that it was a courageous decision.
Thanks again for taking this time out with us here at UPL and good luck with the new EP and we’re looking forward to the next live show in the area as well as your sophomore full-length project in the works.
Thank you. Take care.
- @Uhkeem on Twitter