Album review: Little Grown Up Child by Izabel

November 18, 2020

Little Grown Up Child is a body of stories, mostly sad stories (or at least stories that evoke sadness in the listener), told by a highly perceptive, and now vulnerable, songwriter. A few months ago, Izabel released four pre-listens that formed an EP of the same name. Now, the highly anticipated album is here. The album is a collection of reflections, the calm after the battles. Izabel nails it on all fronts and manages to create a truly and delightfully sad masterpiece

The production is next level, almost futuristic. It was handled largely by Sam Lamara and TheSeptemberKid aka Isaiah Ahabyona (her brother). There is additional bass on some songs by Robin Malinga and Izabel herself plays acoustic guitar on some of the songs. It’s a wonderful orchestrated piece of music, so much so that it would dazzle even without words. In fact, on some listens one can tune out the voice and still be transported away into another realm.

And yet, the voice is something special. Izabel’s voice is rich, spanning a very wide range. For this album, she stretches it to its limits, paying careful attention to each aspect; the tone, the notes, the ad libs. The tone is sometimes warm and sometimes dark, but all times it’s sincere. The notes are sometimes frighteningly high and other times, they are strongly low. The adlibs are songs of their own, disappearing into their own melodies but, in some way or the other, still sounding in harmony with the main song.

The lyrics are where honesty meets maturity. She vulnerably tells stories of being friend zoned, and of being disappointed by what age 25 has brought forth. In another song, she genuinely admits that it “lasted a minute but it could have been more”.

Her style is unique because she is unconstrained by the need to focus primarily on a stereotyped local audience. She is fluent in local languages but the world is her audience. Therefore she lets her creativity guide her, without brakes. The result is a project quite unlike any we have had in Uganda before. It has global reach.

Izabel makes it all seem so simple but, in conclusion, one is left wondering about which experiences she had to go through in order to be able to put out such an epic tale, layered with music that succeeds in summing up emotional complexities.

She officially releases the album on the 21st of November. She will have an IG live show on the 20th (3pm) in which she shall play the songs. There is a lot to look forward to from the Little Grown Up Child. As usual, The Clan will document one of the brightest elements of Uganda’s urban scene, and bring you all the action.