LYZZA by Maureen Muse

“When was the last time you wished for the world to change in some way?” asks DIY pop artist LYZZA. Her new EP, SUBSTATE, is a strong call to challenge the difficult situations she’s faced. “This EP is about times I felt frustrated by social rules and laws that support inequality,” she explains. The EP highlights issues like racial profiling, music industry politics, and neglect of emotional labour, all told with urgency and honesty.

Combining the raw energy of her earlier records with the pop experimentation of recent works, LYZZA blends various musical styles like baile funk and UK drill into a unique sound. As always, she’s involved in every part of the process, particularly showcasing her production skills. “This is my vanity project,” she says. “This is me doing me, to the fullest.”

LYZZA works with engineer James Ginzberg to balance her intense sound with compositional nuance. She admits, “I’m quite a maximalist. Sometimes it scares people. James helped find gaps to surprise with new thoughts and sounds.” Her voice is louder and clearer than ever, as shown in the EP opener, ‘Blackball,’ where she declares, “This ain’t no experiment / This is a lane / I’m gonna say what I wanna say.” It’s clear LYZZA has something important to share.

“I used to write about love a lot,” she reflects. “This is the first time I’m writing about everything but that.” Inspired by the concept of ‘umwelt,’ she builds four sound worlds of resistance based on her experiences with broken systems. On ‘Blackball,’ she tackles the challenges of being a Black artist. “People want a part of you, but not all of you,” she says, criticizing style-biters and nepotism.

On ‘Too Slow,’ LYZZA blends pitch-shifted vocals, rap, and drill bass in a furious message about rejecting scene politics. ‘90210’ turns experiences at Los Angeles border control into a fever dream with club music, post-punk distortion, and fierce vocals. ‘Swallow’ rages against gender discrimination and expectations to conform, promoting vulnerability and emotional presence.

“Vulnerability is such a beautiful thing. The music industry forces people to ignore that,” she says. SUBSTATE encourages listeners to stand up and speak out. “I want to be on record, literally.”

Chasing connection, LYZZA has been building her world through music. From uploading music online at 16 to playing clubs internationally, she aims to create safe and inclusive spaces. Her collaborations with artists like Mykki Blanco and SOPHIE, and performances at major festivals, highlight her dedication to music that breaks boundaries and supports her community.