TJF’s Hazin Interview with Izzy Dunfore
Izzy Dunfore is a genuinely talented and exciting hip hop artist who has the drive, as well as the charisma, to be the next big thing. His influences begin in the Midwest of the U.S. and reach out all over the globe. He has collaborated with over 100 artists, written over 200 songs, and continues to wow audiences everytime he takes the stage.
TJF: You recently did a show in Des Moines with ABK and AMB, and you will be at this years gathering. What do you have to say about your experience with the juggalos and lettes so far?
Izzy: It was great to do a show in Des Moines, where I started my hip hop career, and to be on the bill with ABK and AMB was an achievement. I’ve been a fan of Psychopathic Records for a lot of years, and to be able to entertain their fans at their show was an honor. If things go as well as they did in Des Moines, I think the Gathering is going to be a pivotal moment in my career.
TJF: Some people are scoping this out right now, going who the hell is Izzy Dunfore? Give us a quick bio if you will.
Izzy: Izzy Dunfore is an honest, hard working, hip hop artist who will stop for nobody and won’t take no for an answer. Basically, I’m a walking contradiction to what the stereotypical hip hop artist looks like, acts like, wants to be like, and I’m having fun while I’m kicking ass everywhere I go. Izzy Dunfore = NEVER!!
TJF: Who are your major influences?
Izzy: I think any artist who has had enough success to get their record on the radio has been an influence, but more than that, the underground artists who have the grind to get their music into my hands and NOT be on the radio. As a teenager, I was big into West coast rappers like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Eazy E, and Tupac Shakur. After 18, Kottonmouth Kings, Tech Nine, and ICP are definitely the three that I have spent most of my time listening to over the years. I would say that those artists, all together, inspired me to try and write my own music.
TJF: Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Izzy: Dunfore Records is my label. I am the only artist on it at this time. I am a member of ASCAP.
TJF: What can you tell me about your mixes and beats? (Who does em, what program you use, etc)
Izzy: I have worked with Grammy Award-winning Slipknot’s turntablist along with Mustache Pete on most of my songs. I’ve also had beats produced by Fate, B-Side, J-Flo, Eric “Eman” Henderson, and Lee Bell, who are all from Iowa. Pro Tools is what we are normally working with for software. I prefer to use hardware when creating instrumentals rather than programmed software.
TJF: Your pages shows you’ve opened up for quite a few people, Who’d you like opening for the most? Any good stories about them?
Izzy: I think the highest I’ve ever felt was when I opened for Too Short in Hollywood, CA at the Key Club. I got to perform for a packed house and see one of my favorite rappers from when I was a young person, plus he had the Arch-Bishop Magic Don Juan on stage with him. There were so many people there with so much smoke in the air, I don’t know how the whole crowd wasn’t high as me.
TJF: Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you have a set play list?
Izzy: I don’t have a set playlist, but there are songs that we do more than others. I’m The One, Get High, Riot Gear, Down For You, Do What I Want, and Home are probably the most performed or requested songs. Bud Heavy is a hometown favorite that has really grown on people over the years.
TJF: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Izzy: I’ve always written my own lyrics. I think that the struggles I’ve gone through in my life are the motivations that I keep inside me. I have been through a lot of negative things, and my music is the only thing that has ever helped me turn all that “crap” into something positive that I can build off of. I’ve been told time and time again that I wasn’t going to be able to do what I’m doing today, and that has pushed me and helped me to stay on the grind, to be busy, and to achieve what people said it would be impossible for me to do.
TJF: Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
Izzy: I like to write to a beat at least. There should be a drum pattern. You can always build around that later. I also like to have a completed instrumental, because then you can accent what you are writing to fit the song. There are lots of ways to write, or transfer thoughts, or just freestyle and see what comes out. Everything that I write is what comes from inside of me, and it’s normally my first idea or gut instinct that ends up being the keeper or the best idea to work with.
TJF: How has your music evolved since you first began?
Izzy: I was getting in a lot of trouble when my career first started, so I was really trying to be as “bad” as I could be or sound. Lots of profanity, disrespectful lyrics, diss tracks about other people, some artists, some not, but it was very focused on defiance. I would say that today, my lyrics are more about how I went through that to be better at life today, and to be able to handle whatever I might be dealing with at the time. I guess it became my own personal therapy in a way.
TJF: What has been your biggest challenge? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Izzy: My biggest challenge is trusting in others too much. The music business is not a “nice” one. People want everything for nothing and will take it if you let them. I come from a very small town where people have each others backs. That isn’t the way the industry works, so I’ve taken a lot of lumps for trying to “be a part of something.” For every artist, there seems to be 100 people trying to get what they can get, for nothing, if they can. It isn’t easy to separate what’s real and what’s fake, and who is really in your corner and who isn’t. When it comes to music and money, everybody’s funny. I’m not sure I’ve overcome that yet, or if I can ever fully “overcome” what is known as the music “business.”
TJF: What’s your ultimate direction and goals?
Izzy: I would love to win a lifetime achievement award like a Grammy, but just to be recognized as someone who does genuinely work hard for himself and others would be fine too. One day I hope I can play Saturday Night Live, the Today Show, and the late night talk shows. I hope to get into larger touring circuits and be able to entertain for thousands of people at a time, all around the world. I have invested the better part of my life into my career, not to mention the amount of money, and hopefully, when all is said and done, I will be able to sit down with my family and say, “I did that so you could have this.”
TJF: What advice do you have for people who want to get started in the industry?
Izzy: Don’t trust anyone except yourself unless you have a family member at your back, and even then be careful. Everyone wants the shine and if you have it, hold your ground because they are going to come at you from all directions and try to tie you down and to take it from you. Once you actually get into the business, if you make it far enough in, you find out that everything isn’t what you thought it was going to be like. There isn’t always a reward waiting for you at the end of the day, so you better be good at motivating yourself, and even then, it might not be enough. Get everything in writing so everybody understands what their roles are, and make sure you enforce your contracts.
TJF: Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering support?
Izzy: Anyone and everyone who I’ve encountered in this journey so far. If you love what I do, if you hate what I do, or if you don’t even know who I am at all… Every bit of it matters and makes a difference to me because this is all I’ve got. People say you can’t take money to the grave with you, but when I go, Izzy Dunfore goes with me. So as long as I’m alive, I appreciate the entire world as an audience.
TJF: Any last words?
Izzy: Yep, I think the juggalos have more power as a network than any other fan base in the world. It makes me sick to see how many rip offs and copy cats there are trying to make their way through you by manipulation. I do not want to be that guy. My name is Izzy Dunfore and I only know how to be me. If you give me your support, I will shed blood, sweat, and tears to show you mine in return. See you at the Gathering!!! MMFCL
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