IZZY BIZU, Hoxton Hall – Evening Standard, 26 Nov 2015

Izzy Bizu put on a timely concert last night, enjoying the tiny window between the BRITs Critics’ Choice shortlist being announced on Tuesday and her finding out whether she’s won it tomorrow. If the south Londoner already knew where she stands against Jack Garratt and Frances, she wasn’t letting on, but it seemed pointless to give her such a brief moment to enjoy being in the running.

Either way, a fruitful 2016 awaits. Like James Bay, last year’s anointed one, she looks like a superstar prior to selling any records. Blonde curls tumbling everywhere, wrestling with an outfit smaller than it may have seemed when she chose it, and holding an incongruous mug, she dazzled before she’d sung a note.

A six-piece band rubbed elbows across the small stage, and pre-recorded backing vocals added to a rich sound. Her recorded output to date can be lightweight, but in concert, the pounding drums of Give Me Love and the slow-building piano ballad Mad Behaviour placed her comfortably next to more established purveyors of high-end soul such as Lianne La Havas and Corinne Bailey Rae.

She’s not the finished product yet, seeming flustered and giggly between songs, but with music that charmed and a voice like a sunny day, she’s well on her way.

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