#DISCVR is an artist introduction series dedicated to bringing you the rising acts before they make their break. Our unlimited access to music of all kinds is both amazing and overwhelming. Keeping your playlists fresh, we’ll be doing the leg work to help you discover your next favorite artist.
Who is Mizan? Well, she’s a New York City-based “wannabe revolutionary,” one who wants to make “innovative and meaningful music that speaks to people who’re alienated by misogynistic and unfulfilling mainstream/popular culture.” (So, not just a pretty face and stunning set of lungs, then). “This notion,” she adds, “informs a lot of my work as well as fueling my motivation, to be a sort of antithesis of the sex-sells, sensationalism-wins approach in the entertainment industry. My attraction to music has always been as political as it is recreational.”
Citing ‘70s indie rock, ‘90s pop, and R&B as her musical points of reference, the singer of Ethiopian descent’s eclectic, minimalist approach could see her being filed next to a SZA or even a stripped back Kelela or BANKS, in times to come. But while you’re likely to find said experimental songbirds kicking it at Heartbreak Hotel (be it in the club, in the basement), Mizan is more interested in chilling with her filmmaker, illustrator friends, who find joy in the “exploration of the human condition.”
Today, Mizan shares the video for her sun-kissed, Str8nge co-produced track, “Thru.” The home video-styled, hazy visuals capture Mizan strolling through NYC on a (surprisingly) bright afternoon in a reflective mood. And, thanks to the clip’s glitz and fuss-free construction, the warm vocals and life-appreciating songwriting of this future chanteuse is able to take full lead.
Mizan is enlisting a whole new set of rules for artists, before and after her, to follow when it comes to music. The singer and songwriter doesn’t listen to the radio nor does she follow a traditional release of an EP – her songs come from pain and draw a conscious message. For her, music shouldn’t be about the money, cars, clothes and hoes – a lot of what mainstream radio is today – it should touch minds and hearts; make you think and feel.
Mizan started her musical journey at the tender age of two-years-old, at least that’s what her parents have told her. Witnessing her lovely gift at such a young age, her parents decided to enroll her into music school to learn the piano. “I was really young and I hated it then but I think it had a really big influence on me. Just the sound of the piano I fell in love with it,” Mizan said. “When you get into something that young you tend to attach yourself to it.”
Her musical epiphany began the day she started lessons despite disliking the actual “practice” portion of learning the piano. While her love for music and singing was steadily rising, family and friends weren’t necessarily aware of her passion. While at the University of Delaware, Mizan studied all things far removed from music. “I studied legal studies, philosophy, American literature – everything but music but I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
To feed her musical hunger, Mizan bought a keyboard into her dorm room and played when her roommates weren’t there. “I was really passionate about it and that’s not something my family would expect of me or my friends.”
Unlike most other artists, Mizan admits that the majority of her writing comes from moments of darkness and pain. “I think the most powerful writing comes from being vulnerable. When I have my moments of darkness, that’s when I start writing.” Not wanting to sound as though she is depressed or that her music only caters to those who are always feeling down in the dumps, facing those feelings allows her to write honest lyrics and relate with her fans.
Mizan controls every aspect of her musical process. From song writing, to musical compilation and production and even video directing, this young starlet literally does it all. She prefers handling each process so that she knows the product she is putting out is up to the quality of her own standards and not someone else’s.
A major factor in her first release of an EP is doing something that stands out amongst the rest. Instead of releasing four to six songs and maybe one or two videos, Mizan is taking her fans on a journey. For each month, Mizan is releasing one song and an accompanying video off her Deep Blue EP. “Usually, people put out an EP and that’s it; I wanted to elongate the process.” Uploading to Soundcloud, YouTube and her Facebook page, fans are able to look out for the next release keeping a constant buzz Mizan is looking for.