SOUTH London’s finest new talent, Izzy Bizu, took to the stage inside Manchester’s Night and Day cafe, based in Northern Quarter, last night. Quays News reporter Nathan Salt went along to soak up her soothing vocal…

At the tender age of 21, Bizu is amongst a crop of artists on the cusp on ‘making it’ with dreams of headline tours, playing arenas and touring the globe.

It wasn’t quite the Manchester Arena last night but as she emerged onto the stage in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in front of a sell out Night and Day crowd, there was a unanimous sense amongst the crowd that Bizu was different to what they had seen before; think Amy Winehouse crossed with Marvin Gaye and you are getting close the vibe that emanated from her lips.

But before the London singer-songwriter unleashed herself, it was the job of support act Kelvin Jones to kickstart the evening. He was both charming and a talented musician – Jones appears attached to his guitars – as he blended covers and originals into his six-song set.

His set included a cover of The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face‘ which, when we sat down together afterwards, he said is “one of my favourite songs out there at the moment”. Vocally he improved synonymously with his growing confidence and once he got to his final two songs – two originals – he was in his element.

Call You Home‘ and ‘Good Together‘ had a special feel to them; they meant so much more to Jones and that showed. The first track was a love song about a girl – the classic formula – and it was that track which had fans scrambling to Youtube to find it and save it for later.

Jones remains raw after a set which showed the talent he undoubtedly possesses and he was particularly humble after the show. He told Quays News: “Every song I sang tonight means something to me and that is so, so important to me.

“A single in the next month and hopefully an album is the plan for the rest of this year. There are only a few places like Manchester because people here don’t apologise for what they are, the city doesn’t apologise for what it is and I love that.”

With Jones leaving the crowd eagerly anticipated for the Londoner, it was time for the main attraction to prove just why the demand for the sell-out show was so great (people were desperately trying to buy tickets outside the venue in a bid to catch a glimpse of her).

Where Jones brought the crowd an acoustic tone, Bizu blessed those in attendance with 13 songs of chilled jazz vibes.

Fan favourites such as ‘Diamond‘, ‘Fly With Your Eyes Closed‘ and ‘Lost Paradise‘ highlighted that Bizu was an artist who merited a bigger venue. Intimate, most definitely, but she’s an artist that possesses the potential to attract an even bigger crowd to a venue such as Albert Hall.

Her vocal proved both delicate as she effortlessly glided into a falsetto and also a sharper, husky sound which proved soothing and had an alluring vocal antithesis.

As the temperature began to rise – not just Bizu’s natural beauty – inside the cafe, the singer was forced into a plea to females in the audience as she was in need of a hairband to tame her “out of control” hair.

Hair tied back and the show, as they say, has to go on and thankfully it did…

It is well documented that Bizu has taken influence from one of her musical idols, Ella Fitzgerald, and it was evident throughout the set the influence taken.

Give Me Love‘, ‘Mad Behaviour‘ – her favourite song to perform live she confessed at the end – and her biggest hit to date ‘White Tiger‘ got fans singing along in tandem creating a giant chorus of jazz and funk vibes which, no doubt, could be heard throughout the Northern Quarter.

The vocalist also has an album set for release in June and she treated fans to one record from the album entitled ‘Circles‘ which was back to the start for Bizu. A stripped back record relying largely on the lyrics and her absorbing vocal which worked impeccably; the countdown for the album began thereafter for many in the room!

With an abundance of polaroid’s available to audience members upon arrival there were very few attached to the pegs come the final song of the evening which, unsurprisingly, was ‘White Tiger‘.

Fans go to gigs with expectations but it is rare to speak to so many upon conclusion and hear them say that their expectations were beaten by a mile.

Bizu left a lasting impression on everyone, it would be fair to say, and as she mingled with fans and her band before the cafe closed she jammed outside the entrance with a studying songwriter called Jamie McCool who she then invited to come to London and write with her.

It was a night that promised so much but delivered more than many could have imagined when the tickets were purchased.

Izzy Bizu you were a delight.

By: Nathan Salt

Fancy taking in a gig in Manchester between February 8-14? Check out our guide to what’s on that week…

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