‘Life is crazy, bro’

It’s still fresh in Iza’s memory her first time at Rock in Rio. And it wasn’t on stage. It was 2011, and the carioca was enjoying the crowd eager to see Rihanna (“And also Claudia Leitte, Katy Perry and Elton John”, she recalls). The international pop diva was late but made up for it by relentlessly singing the string of hits. “I was happy with my life”, says the Brazilian, who was still studying Communication and was far from breaking through the country with “Pesadão”. Since then, the creation of Olaria, in the North Zone of Rio, has been to all subsequent editions of the festival. The difference is that it changed sides. In 2017, she was invited to do a cameo alongside CeeLo Green on the Sunset stage. Two years later, in the same space, she became the main attraction and invited Alcione to share the vocals. Today, September 4th, Iza takes a new step and debuts on the main stage, the World.

IZA as a fan, in 2011, and on the Sunset Stage, in 2019 Photo: Personal archive and Brenno Carvalho / Agência O Globo

— It’s crazy, it makes my head tilt to think that I’ll be one of the attractions on such an iconic stage. And I always liked Rock in Rio. It’s straight talk, not just because I’m going to sing. I like the shows, the experience, it’s a nice and safe place to be with friends and family. I also see this invitation as a special moment and a celebration of my trajectory. Which to me almost sounds like a miracle. Life is crazy, bro — says Iza, who still sees the show as a “gift” for her birthday; after all, the virginiana turned 32 years old this Saturday, September 3rd.

Divine help can even weigh, of course. But the artist is also contributing hard work. Not only what made it reach this level of prominence. Also take into account the intense preparation that she has undergone to deliver a great show to the public, on the night that still has Justin Bieber as the main attraction.

— Now that it’s getting close, I’m anesthetized (laughs). I’m working, rehearsing, because building a show is infinite steps, and I’m involved in every process. We think about the stage, how many people can fit on it, the content that will be on the LED screen, the narrative, if we will have changes of clothes, when they could happen… It’s a lot of work! That’s why I’m anesthetized. It’s a lot and I’m focused. And everything is fine. I’ve also been doing a lot of therapy,” she said, laughing, in an interview a few days ago.

Psychological sessions have been precisely to treat anxiety, the singer says. It even has to do with the feeling raised by the proximity of a great show. But it also affects other parts of the singer’s life:

Photo: João Kopv Styling: Bianca Jahara Styling assistant: Luana Maria Fashion production: Alan Gomes Beauty: Mary Saavedra and Maia Boitrago.

— (Anxiety) It’s basically the theme of all therapies (laughs). Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been very anxious. So staying at my own pace is important. When it gets too frantic, I know it’s not healthy for me. I’ve already felt how harmful it is.

At the end of 2019, Iza suffered burnout, a disease related to mental exhaustion resulting from excessive work. After that period, she shut up. The pandemic came, and musical releases gained greater intervals:

— It was a complicated amount of work. I was living on the road, far from home, from my husband, the reflux pumping. In addition to the shows, I had stuff from my team to approve all the time. I was distressed. I made songs, but it wasn’t in that pile to share with others. We have to put work on the street when we are well, satisfied, because we don’t know what others will think. And in difficult times, if they criticize us, it’s easy to believe that and misrepresent what we would like to communicate. It was then that in the pandemic I started therapy. I started to accept myself more.

The process of self-knowledge has also helped to deal with the expectations of others. Fans, not realizing what the artist was going through, frequently charged her for new music. The orders remain constant, even as the singles arrive. In June came “Faith”. The day before yesterday, the artist appeared soon with an EP, with three songs: “Mole”, “Mó paz” and “Droga”. The first is to enjoy on the track; the second brings a more romantic mood; and the last one packs an elbow pain. Everyone can be satisfied, right?

Publication of the EP
Publication of the EP “Três” Photo: Guilherme Nahban/Disclosure

— If I get into the frenzy of meeting the expectations of others… There was a moment at the beginning, right after “Pesadão” (released in 2018), when things happened very quickly. There I felt pressured. If I release a song, they would immediately ask: “And when is a more serious one coming?”. If answered, it was followed by: “And one more farofa (slang for more danceable music)?”. They always want more, and it’s not worth listening to. I’ve had many bosses in this life, I’ve taken a lot of buses and subways. Now that I’m autonomous, am I going to be crazy about hitting imaginary points for others (laughs)? That’s not the case, right? He responds with a good laugh.

Iza understands that the buzz also has to do with the curiosity surrounding the second studio album that she intends to release later this year, which does not mean that she accepts criticism that she is not very productive for not releasing singles on an almost industrial scale:

— I do the music, the creative direction of the clips, the script, the clothes with Bianca (Jahara, stylist), I design the scenery… And I’m quoting this not to say “I do everything”, but to show that everything takes work same. I can’t do it fast. Art is a process, not just what comes to an end. And for me not to get stressed, not to hit imaginary points, all this needs to be pleasurable. This is my time. Also, there are so many people working and delivering various things, why do I need to follow this pace? The cool thing is that we defend the individuality of each one.

Despite being well resolved, the owner of the hit “Dona de mim” makes a reservation:

Photo: João Kopv Styling: Bianca Jahara Styling assistant: Luana Maria Fashion production: Alan Gomes Beauty: Mary Saavedra and Maia Boitrago.

“Obviously, there are days when I wake up crazy. I’m here saying a lot of things in the interview, I forget to say to myself and I’m like: “Oh my god, I’m a fake” (laughs). But I sit, breathe, have a cachacinha, do yoga, have a girlfriend and pass. It’s days and days. It’s a walk, an eternal exercise to do what I want.

Around the world

The current scenario is no longer as vibrant as the one mentioned in the “Ghetto” clip, but what also helps Iza get back on track is going back to her roots. Olaria, the neighborhood where she was born and spent her early childhood, is one of the addresses.

— Unfortunately, the neighborhood is no longer as colorful as it was in my childhood, but I still have a special affective memory. I have family that lives there and very close friends who are from there and from the region, like Penha, Ramos… I was at the house of one of my godmothers. It’s great to be able to come back, and I stay there quietly and nobody finds out (laughs) — she says.

It doesn’t mean it always goes unnoticed. But that’s not a problem, of course.

Singer Iza in the music video
Singer Iza in the music video for “Gueto” Photo: Disclosure

— I leave the house already thinking I’m working. But it doesn’t bother me. Being recognized is one of the arms of my work. I live off of music thanks to this support. And my fans are so cool! Of course, there are people who end up stopping me while I’m eating or wake me up (laughs), but, in general, this affection is nice. It’s all very recent for me. I stayed at home for two years and entered the pandemic and came out of it at different stages professionally and receiving affection in a different way. I have nothing to complain about,” she analyzes.

This leads to the next question: is Isabela Cristina ready to tread international paths? The first partnerships with foreign artists, such as Ciara, Timbaland and Diplo, have already been launched. The most recent are with Argentine rapper Tiago PZK, in which the Brazilian singer sings in Spanish; and another launched yesterday with Ivandro, a Portuguese man he met at Rock in Rio Lisboa.

“If it happens, it will come naturally. It’s not a huge focus. Because I feel that I only have six years of career and a lot to do in Brazil still. Music gives me wonderful encounters and in other languages ​​too. I think it’s cool to have the opportunity to sing abroad, to know that there are people who listen to my music… I have a dream of singing for as many people as possible. But you know I keep thinking about being famous in other places than here? I don’t know, it’s crazy. When I travel, I can go to the pharmacy, market, fair, talk to strangers. It’s not always like that around here.

Partnership at work and in life

But the best feat that the singer has been doing at work and in life is with her husband, Sérgio Santos. The couple met working together in 2017, when she was dedicated to “Dona de mim”, her first album. At the time, no kisses, she guarantees:

— I took the initiative. Sérgio has always had a very professional attitude. And he was always very polite, I didn’t know if he liked me or not. I was still dating at the time. When I started to get interested in my husband, I realized that the relationship I was in was already shit. I finished, I sent a message to Sérgio, he got a fright. I remember well: it was a Monday. We met the next day and we never stopped talking.

The professional partnership is maintained. Now, with a studio at home, the routine is quite different:

Photo: Ahmed Jailam/Reproduction/Instagram/Sérgio Santos

— We joke that now we can catch up in the studio (laughs). Sérgio is also my sound engineer, so sometimes he comes to adjust my microphone, then I steal a kiss, a bite, a hand swipe. Things got better, didn’t they? It has that intimacy. There were days when I recorded in a bikini. It’s my husband, everything is ok.

Iza, however, says that they try to divide their work and private time well:

— There are hours to work and a WhatsApp group just for professionals. If we need to ask any questions outside of these business hours, we ask beforehand. Because we’re indoors. If it becomes one thing, it can only cause problems. We know how to deal well, we always share properly.

In intimacy, the two, who have been married since December 2018, are also taking time to “practice” raising the family:

Singer Iza with her husband Sérgio Santos
Singer Iza with her husband Sérgio Santos Photo: Reproduction

— We train and practice all the time. It is necessary (laughs). We both have this big dream of having a family. We’re just thinking about the ideal time to do it healthy.

Therefore, news that came out at different times saying that she would be pregnant saddened her:

“It hurt me a lot. Last time, my father and family members who live in the Northeast called me, because they don’t really understand how social networks work. It also worried me because it seems like I won’t be able to protect myself until three months into the pregnancy, when there is a high chance of miscarriage. I also found the news that said I was pregnant because of my body was cruel. They mentioned a belly. Guys, I spent two years without doing a show, at home, obviously I’m going to gain weight. It’s a good thing I gained weight and I think I’m pretty to keep my belly out. Don’t worry, when I get pregnant, I’ll make a fuss (laughs). I’ll think I’m the most beautiful and hot person in the world. I’m going to walk around. It will be a moment of total celebration.

It doesn’t matter how big the mannequin is: it’s good that Iza’s appearances inspire self-esteem:

the little IZA
The little IZA Photo: Reproduction

— People have an image of me as well resolved, but those who work with me know I’m insecure, how much I charge myself. Being the only black girl in school is something that has been with you for life. I have my questions, but it was around the age of 22 that I started looking at myself more fondly. And it’s a daily build. It’s not easy being a black woman in Brazil. But, for sure, Isabelinha would never imagine experiencing this when people look at me today and think I’m so beautiful.

IZA releases EP
IZA launches EP “Três” Photo: João Kopv Styling: Bianca Jahara Styling assistant: Luana Maria Fashion production: Alan Gomes Beauty: Mary Saavedra and Maia Boitrago


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Life crazy bro

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