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Meet I’zaya

Today we’d like to introduce you to I’zaya.

I’ZAYA is a gifted singer, songwriter, and once-in-a-generation performer.

Hailing from Long Beach, California, he began his musical journey singing in churches across Southern California and Houston, Texas. Finding true freedom on stage, I’ZAYA used this foundation to develop his infectious performance style, ability to conduct and work with live bands and connect with diverse audiences.

At age 12, I’ZAYA began to battle a muscle disease which kept him hospitalized for almost seven months and wheelchair bound throughout his high school career. During his hospitalization he wrote over 70 songs and realized his passion and destiny to change people’s lives through music.

Since his release from the hospital at age 16, I’ZAYA has been on fire! From California to Florida, where he attends the University of Miami, and everywhere in between, I’ZAYA is a highly sought after entertainer known for his show stopping stage presence, heartfelt lyrics, and live band experience.

Tackling the universal topics of love, happiness, and overcoming obstacles, I’ZAYA’s inspirational art crosses the boundaries of race, age, and musical genre. Shaped by Pop, Jazz Fusion, Hip Hop, Funk, R&B, Gospel, and Neo-Soul, in his presence all audiences let go, get free, and become converts. I’ZAYA’s music doesn’t just touch the surface, it reaches the soul and leaves the audience changed and wanting more!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Battling with my muscle disease and being wheelchair bound for seven years has been one of the toughest struggles on my journey.

As a “handicapable” artist, I defy the odds every time I get on stage without my chair. I don’t know how I do it, but I am able to stand on stage for over an hour at times. Off of stage sometimes I can’t stand for even a minute.

I like to wish performing made me void of pain but it’s not the case. Although you wouldn’t expect me to be in pain while I perform because I get free. I dance. I run. I jump. We dance. We get free. We jump. That moment of freedom we experience as collaborators (myself and the audience) makes the days of immobility after a show worth it.

While I still struggle with my disease on a daily basis, it gives me the fuel to write and share my experiences, pain, and struggle with the world. For that, I am grateful.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am a singer, songwriter, and performer specializing in the live band experience. I am the founder and director of the Iconic Experience Band Los Angeles, and Miami. The Iconic Experience Band Miami is composed of Miami’s most premier young musicians. We are known for putting on a show! With a nine person band you cannot help but catch a vibe. Regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender. Everyone dances, sings and gets free.

I am proud that I am able to provide musicians a platform to express themselves and showcase their gift. I am an open-minded director, and allow my musicians to contribute their ideas in the development and production of our live shows. I pride myself on creating an atmosphere where they feel comfortable being who they are, and proud to share the song within their spirit.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents deserve the greatest shoutout I can give. My father, Dr. Daniel E. Walker, professor of African-American and Latin American studies, and mother, Janee’ Walker, vice-principal. My childhood was rough. My parents divorced when I was three, and it forced my mom to move to South Central Los Angeles (the hood) to raise my sister and I. For eleven years, I moved around constantly throughout Compton, South Central, Carson, and Long Beach California, and that was just with my mother. I moved 13 times as a child.

Despite the instability, my parents gave me the greatest gift of all; support.

They traveled with me every weekend all over the state to perform. They got me piano lessons, came to every concert, and bought my production equipment. They exposed me to music from all over the world. Even though they both can’t sing, they would rehearse with me and tell me when I was flat lol.

You would think a child who grew up as religious as I did, their parents would be strict and close-minded, but it was the opposite. They kept me in church to keep me out of gang life. In the moment, I didn’t understand, but if I wasn’t in church like that as a kid there is no way I would be the talent I am today. It if wasn’t for my parent’s support and persistence for me to do the best at everything I do, I wouldn’t be here today.

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Image Credit:

Dominic Holmes, Kayla Hippolyte-Wade, Kiky’s Vision

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