Izzi Ray is an up and coming young artist with a fresh take on songwriting and melody. Her rich, warm, and vibrant voice brings a clear message of faith, hope and love through her songs. With great poise and zeal, this 18 year old writes and sings with the precision and depth of someone twice her age.
The California native was born into the music-industry family of Grammy nominated, Dove Award winning artist Crystal Lewis and music producer/record label executive Brian Ray. Izzi Ray began playing guitar and writing songs at the tender age of 11. Having grown up in a family where life frequently took place on the road, Izzi became acquainted with music and touring at an early age.
Hallels: Many of our readers are fans of yours and your mother Crystal Lewis. So, it's such a privilege to do this interview with you. How has your mother's music influenced you? Ever thought of doing a duet with her?
My pleasure! Thanks for reaching out. Growing up in a family where music is apart of everyday life definitely inspired the initial interest in music, but both of my parents really encouraged me to listen to lots of great and diverse artists and styles. I'm really thankful for my well rounded musical upbringing. We actually already did a duet together on her record 'Plain and Simple' on a song that my dad and I co-wrote!
Hallels: You are an exceptionally gifted writer yourself. Did you learn song writing from your parents?
Thank you so much! Their teaching consisted of mostly encouragement, but I really just explored the songwriting part of my brain myself. I think songwriting is something that you are either born with or without so once my parents noticed that I was drawn to making and writing music, they encouraged me to strengthen and pursue that gift.
Hallels: Let's talk about your latest album "Make Much of You" -- why did you name the album "Make Much of You"?
It was a long process to decide on the title. I was aware of the similar topics and threads throughout, but once every song was finished and I got to sit down and listen to my completed record, the theme of making much of Jesus was the strongest. This was the agenda that I wanted to get across to the world. The record speaks a lot about pride and sorrow and love and humility and I believe its vital to make much of Jesus in every one of those avenues of life.
Hallels: How's the recording and writing of "Make Much of You" different or similar to your debut album?
Making this record had a few similarities but for the most part both processes could not be more different. Writing and recording my first record was stress and pressure free. There were no expectations. But sophomore records are always challenging. there are lots of expectations, from myself and from others. At first the pressure caused lots of writers block simply because I didn't know who I was as an artist yet. But once I realized that artists are supposed to always be growing and evolving, all the pressure was relieved. After that realization, I approached this record with a completely different mindset which was to push lyrical, melodic, musical, and theological boundaries. I wanted to dig deeper and challenge myself. This record is completely autobiographical and personal, so of course it was a little scary to share my heart with everyone, but I think it's important to be authentic and honest about life. The recording process was so much fun. Blaine Stark produced it and we bounced around between California (where Blaine lives) and Montana (where I lived at the time) recording vocals and different interesting weird instruments.
Hallels: On social media today, you said you have been working on many new songs. Are you already planning album #3?
Yes! I've been writing a lot. I recently moved from Montana to California to further pursue music which has brought many challenges already, aka great songwriting material, so yes album #3 is in the works!! Woo! Recording is my favorite part of the process so I can't wait to get back in the studio and release new music!
Hallels: I believe you are a cat lover. How many cats do you own?
ummm YES. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession. Don't worry about it. I shockingly only have one and he lives at my parents house in Montana *weeping face* because I can't have him at my place in California. His name is Norman and he is massive and fluffy and orange. And perfect.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to catch up with you or learn more about you, where can they go?
I'm very active on social media, so follow me if you want to see cool guitars and lots of cats.
Instagram/twitter/facebook/vine @izziray // I post upcoming shows and I blog at www.izziray.com