Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter Izzy Heltai has shared “Songbird,” the second single from his forthcoming debut full-length album Father, due out October 9th.
“I spend a lot of my time on the road, playing wherever anyone might listen to me. Whether or not this is the most strategic move for my career is yet to be determined, but I can say I have a lot of fun,” Heltai explains of the song’s inspiration. “I end up sleeping in my car a decent amount and am no stranger to the luxuries a Walmart parking lot can offer when on the road. I was in Pittsburgh one night in early June. At this point, I’d been touring for about a month and a half and was pretty drained. As a rule of thumb, many of us road trippers, car campers, or just plain ole’ masochists know that it’s Walmart’s common practice to allow overnight parking for the purposes of a good night’s rest. This was the night I learned it’s apparently not a nationwide policy. Thankfully, the security guard who found me, cozied up in my sleeping bag, half-awake and reading a book by flashlight, took pity on me and gently encouraged me, while profusely apologizing, to try the abandoned parking lot adjacent to the one I was currently in. I thanked her and went on my way,” he recalls. I woke up the next morning with this melody in my head. The lyrics came pretty quickly, and after about an hour this song came into existence.”
With brutal honesty towards himself and forgiveness for those around him, Izzy Heltai’s music walks the elusive line between confessional and relatable. On his debut album Father, Heltai dives deep into his fascination with human relationships, and specifically the way that those relationships change and reorganize themselves over time.
Heltai sees his own coming of age reflected in the album, which includes songs written over the past four years. “Finding myself as an adult has largely been about how the people who have always been there for me can fit into my life in a new way,” he explains. On the album’s opening track “To Talk About Yourself,” Heltai, who is trans, looks back at the way society fixates on his identity as the only story that he has to tell. “Being trans is a part of me that is worth talking about” he says. “It’s a really cool thing that happened in my life, and informed a lot of how I see the world and how I know myself, and how I reflect on things… but as a marginalized individual, there comes a point where you feel commodified and exploited for your identity, and I’ve always had a fear, as an artist with many stories to tell, that my being trans is the only aspect of my work that people would take interest in.”
Throughout the record, Heltai braves the exploration of not only interpersonal and societal relationships but also his own relationship to himself, and reckons with the ways that periods of depression have caused him to abandon those he loves. The production is raw and full, with subtle harmonies and guitar lines weaving their way unexpectedly through the mix almost as if they were grown in the song. There is no sign of musical overthought, allowing Heltai’s emotional vocals to shine organically.
At a time when any conversation with a stranger can quickly become a sociopolitical battle, Heltai’s introspective and thought out songs are a breath of fresh air. With an overwhelming empathy for humanity, and willingness to search for personal responsibility, Heltai’s Father will not leave your heart or your ears unchanged.