Kelly Izzo 

About Kelly

"Writing songs has become a part of my daily routine, like brushing my teeth or taking a shower.  I just don’t feel right if I don’t take time to sit in the morning with an instrument, clear my head and write.  It has become my way of energizing my day. Writing daily has allowed me to become less self-indulgent. If I wrote about myself everyday, I would quickly run out of things to say, so I write about the people and things I see around me and their delicate moments. By focusing on individuals, I can begin to understand the human experience more personally. I believe through these intimate looks larger truths are revealed."

Kelly started writing when she was 12 years old. Throughout middle and high school, she performed in school talent shows, local coffee houses and festivals.

"I instantly fell in love with the ability to connect with an audience through song. It is amazing to be able to sing something to multiple people but connect to each person in a unique way. Everyone interprets music in their own way and therefore the song will resonate differently with each person, but ironically, it is this unique perception that brings people together."

In 2008 Kelly enrolled in the Music Conservatory at SUNY Purchase and spent the next four years learning as much as she could about the art of songwriting. It was at Purchase that Kelly began writing at least one song every day. 

 "I find it beneficial to sit down and commit to a song until it is completed. I cannot leave a song in fragments like many other writers. If I let an idea sit for too long it can escape. Songs are like butterflies, if I don’t catch them, they fly away."

During college Kelly wrote almost 2,000 songs and continues to write daily. At the end of her freshman year, she entered the Woody Guthrie Songwriting contest and won an opportunity to perform in Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, OK at the Woody Guthrie Festival. 

"It was an amazing experience being able to sing in honor of one of my musical heroes, a man who dedicated his life to telling the story of the common man."

In 2009 Kelly partnered with a drama group in Rochester, New York to work on an original musical, which became Alice Unraveled, a story of a young girl struggling with post-traumatic stress after a sexual assault. Her concept was developed prior to production but she wrote the script and music one scene at a time and sent it to the director using online media.

"It was inspiring to work in collaboration, to get immediate feedback on the scenes and songs. The frequent critique kept the writing process fresh and alive and taught me to view my work from multiple perspectives."  

In May 2010, Alice Unraveled was performed for the first time.

"It was an incredible experience.  I have never been more nervous and excited."

Writing musicals has since become her passion. The next two years were dedicated to refining Alice Unraveled.  In 2011, Kelly teamed up with fellow Purchase Studio Composition Major Michael Hart who added arrangements to the show. During their Junior and Senior years, Michael and Kelly worked along with Professor Jim McElwaine in an independent study course that focused on writing for the stage.  Jim McElwaine read her script, liked it and introduced Kelly to TONY Nominated Barry Keating, the writer and composer for Starmites. She met with Barry multiple times to discuss the show and he encouraged her to produce it at SUNY Purchase.

Following Keating’s advice, throughout 2011 and 2012, Kelly worked vigorously to assemble a talented production team. The show went up in March 2012, fully arranged.

"With every reiteration of the show I find new ideas, parts to tweak and places that need expansion. I continue to look at the script with a critical eye and plan on making improvements, but I am proud of how audiences have responded to it so far. Many people have told me that it has moved them, and I am most pleased that it has opened up conversations about the problems associated with teenage sexual assault."

Currently, along with trying to produce Alice Unraveled again, Kelly is also working on a concepts for a new musical, co-writing a pilot for a children's TV show and promoting her second CD entitled Bad Shark, which was released in August 2012.

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