Self-taught musician hopes to help people through music

Natalie AccardiSpecial to the Southern News


The hum of the fluorescent lights mixed with the twang of Holly Izzo’s Mexican-made Fender Stratocaster filled one of the practice rooms in Earl Hall.

Izzo, a sophomore music major, said she began playing guitar with an EJ-160E acoustic named “Daisy” in high school. She said she’s been singing for far longer and her first memory of singing was when she was about 6 years old.

“I remember sitting in a little round chair and singing to a Sheryl Crow song,” said Izzo. “When I was done, my mom’s friend said, ‘Wow, she is going to be a singer.’”

Izzo, who is mostly self-taught, said she believes musicians should be versatile when it comes to their craft, which is why she learned how to play the guitar in high school and the piano this past semester. According to Izzo, her roots are classic and alternative rock and some of her favorite bands are The Beatles, White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, and Cage the Elephant. She said she wants to make music that falls in between classic and alternative rock.

Izzo said she initially was a nursing major because she wanted to help people but decided she wanted to incorporate music into her career.

“It’s [music] the one thing on this planet,” said Izzo, “I would absolutely die without.”

Izzo is also minoring in psychology because she said she wants to do music therapy. According to Izzo, her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s, a disease that affects memory, responds well to the music Izzo plays for her.

“When I play music for her from when she was young, she can sing every line and she’ll bounce around to it,” said Izzo. “It’s really cool to see something like that when my grandmother who’s lived with me for 13 years doesn’t remember my name half of the time.”

Izzo said music helped her because growing up she didn’t have many friends and the music she listened to shaped who she is today.

“It’s taken over my whole life, like everything I do. I wake up to music; my alarm is music,” said Izzo. “I go to bed listening to music. Throughout the day everything I do has music to it.”

Izzo said she has been shy about performing her music because she doesn’t like the sound of her voice in recordings, but has decided recently to work towards shedding those insecurities.

“If you want to do music, you got to be willing to put it out there, said Izzo. “You can’t hide behind the door anymore and make sure no hears you.”

According to Izzo, she hasn’t gone public with her music but hopes to start with covers of her favorite songs. She said she wants to create music that people can identify with because music helps people to release emotions they can’t release on their own.

“It’s like advice from your friend, but you don’t have to feel any kind of shame after you do something wrong,” said Izzo, “because its music and it can’t respond to you.”

Izzo said she advises people who want to be musicians to go ahead and pick up an instrument or start singing if that’s something they want to do.

“Just do it because if you bite your tongue,” said Izzo, “all you’re going to get is a mouthful of blood.”

Photo Credit: Natalie Accardi



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