Exclusive: Pop singer Izabelle

Interview with French-Canadian funk/pop artist Izabelle

Today on What On What’s Good with Host Jovin Tardif, I am here with French-Canadian funk/pop artist Izabelle.  Fun fact: the Quebec singer-songwriter has been touring internationally for over 16 years with various international showbands.  Izabelle just recently released both a French and English Music video of her latest single, “Self-Talk Session“. In our interview, we discuss her sound, the girl group A.K.A., touring, her online album release party coming soon, and much more.

Izabelle just released both a French and English version of her latest single, "Self-Talk Session"
Izabelle just released both a French and English version of her latest single, “Self-Talk Session”

1. Tell us about some of your favourite pop songs growing up and why?

I grew up listening to The Beatles a lot! The album ”One” especially. I remember enjoying dancing and singing along to those catchy tunes. My dad was a big fan.  He was telling me so many stories of when he used to perform rock and roll music with his band when he was younger which made the music even more special to me.

2. How would you describe your sound to others?

It is definitely pop music but with a funky/groovy twist and a dash of electro. It is inspired by artists I like a lot such as Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Jamiroquai.

3. You were part of the girl group A.K.A. Can you tell us some fun moments with the group or some behind-the-scenes stories?

OMG! This journey lasted 10 years (under different band names) so I have so many fun memories! Performing on New Year’s Eve in Dubai was pretty epic, the many tours we did in Asia were always an adventure! Especially that time we were in Thailand right in the middle of the 2010 Thai protests: It was pretty scary but what an experience! We had so much fun touring and being together! Singing a song on Just Dance 4 (video game by Ubi soft) was pretty dope too.

4. What was it like performing across many countries around the globe? Do you have favourite place to perform?

It was challenging at times but such a rich and fun experience. It definitely brings you outside of your comfort zone but it was so fun and I learned so much. My favorite place to perform is Canada of course because nothing compares to the feeling of being home. That’s the reason why I decided to come back to Canada to start my album process after living in Asia for 2 years and touring across the globe for 10 years before that.

I felt I needed to reconnect with who I am and where I come from. But let’s say outside Canada, my favorite place was definitely Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) the public is so supportive and they love live music so much! We went back there so many times, the hype for the band was more intense there than anywhere else in the world. People recognized us on the streets, magazines and tv interviews, singing in front of a full house so many times. We had the best time! I really hope I can go back to perform there one day.

Izabelle just released both a French and English version of her latest single, "Self-Talk Session"
Izabelle just released both a French and English version of her latest single, “Self-Talk Session”

5. Can you describe your process for creating/writing music?

I normally start with a basic music base and then I create the lyrics and melody. Afterwards I work on the music arrangements with my musicians. I write a lot about things that really matter to me, things I need to get off my chest. I write to inspire myself to get better or to overcome hardship. Music empowers me, helps me believe I can, reminds me that I am enough, that I am worthy and so much more. It has a really positive effect on my life, it’s like a therapy for me and I really hope it can have that effect on others too.

6. You tend to switch from English and French in your songs. What is that like?

Actually I write most of my songs in English first…My first language is French but I’ve only sang in English since the beginning of my career. Although, I really wanted to do some French adaptations of my songs so my French speaking supporters in Quebec can really understand the powerful messages I carry through my lyrics. I gotta admit, doing the French adaptations has been a bigger challenge than I expected. I really wanted to keep the essence of the songs, the flow and the vibe intact while keeping the same topic.

I had to start over so many times…at one point I almost felt like giving up. I wanted to release something that I would be proud of and that would sound as good as the original version and not release something just for the sake of it. I had to postpone the French release twice because I wasn’t 100% happy with the result, but I worked hard and in the end it paid off: I am so proud of the result, I learned so much in the process and I can’t wait to do it again. Maybe more languages eventually, who knows?

7. What was it like producing the Self-Talk Sessions music videos in both French and English? Any fun stories?

It was a lot of planning prior to the shoot…figuring out which plans we can keep for both versions and which one we need to shoot twice. But I feel that my experience as a director on several shows I did in the past helped me a lot. I really had a blast creating the synopsis and planning the whole thing with my team. I do a lot of visualization in general and the idea I had in mind for the music video was really clear and precise.I am so happy with the team, they really captured the essence I wanted the video to have and even went over my expectations. Having the right team is everything! This whole process is like a playground to me and I just can’t wait to do it again.

Fun story: we got kicked out of the alleyway where we filmed the scene with the dancers. A lady working from home called the police because the music was making it hard for her to concentrate…There was no trouble with the police, we just had to go elsewhere to finish the shoot. Thank god we were done with shooting that scene.

Izabelle just released both a French and English version of her latest single, "Self-Talk Session"

8. Can we discuss your online album release party on November 7, 2020? What can we expect?

I am doing a live concert that will be broadcast live on http://www.whiteboxplay.com . I am so thrilled to be performing on the same stage where so many big names in Quebec’s music industry have performed before me. I will be performing live on stage with my musicians, all of the songs from my album ”Version 2.0 Deluxe” but also 6 exclusive new songs from my next album which will be released in spring 2021.

Thrilled to be back on stage with my whole crew. We haven’t had the chance to perform together much for the past few months and we miss it so much! Especially since we used to perform 3 to 4 nights a week before this pandemic, so you can expect something intense and electrifying! I’m telling you, it’s payback time for all of these cancelled shows, we’re gonna give everything we got and you sure don’t wanna miss it!

9. Any other plans for 2020/21?

Many plans for 2021!!! We are getting in the studio in January to record my second album, which will be released in spring 2021. We are also currently working on my show for a tour that will be ready to hit the road as soon as this pandemic is over. You can expect a few collabs as well but unfortunately I can’t reveal any names yet, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out. The beauty of the pandemic is that I’ve had so much time to create and to get ready for what’s next… so you can expect a lot of new stuff and movement in 2021! You can’t keep me locked up in a cage for too long…performing on stage is vital for me and trust me, I’ll be ready!

Version 2.0 (Deluxe)

(English) Self-Talk Session Video  – Izabelle

(French) Self-Talk Session Video

Album Release Party (Online) – November 7 2020

Izabelle will be celebrating the dual language release of “Version 2.0” at her official online album launch concert on November 7 2020. The concert is in partnership with WhiteBox Play – a broadcast venue that supports live and in-person shows. Taking place at Scène Éthique in Varennes, QC, Izabelle will perform the album in its entirety as well as some songs from her upcoming album, due out in Spring 2021. You can purchase tickets here.

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Jovin Tardif

Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.

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