Reclaiming 13 and Supporting Compassion:

Bev Zizzy Slides Societal Issues with Acoustic-Soul

Early on in her musical career, Bev Zizzy was pegged unique. Her vocal coach recognized Bev as creating her own style. When discussing her music, Bev paints a layered scene dependent on life experiences. An overall message of her artistic expression: compassion. “Special Days” from Bev’s 2009 Woman in Black issues deep blues, but it’s a specific Bevved-up type of sound that refuses to conform to genre. She’s not quite blues or jazz or run-of-the-mill rock. Zizzy’s acoustic-soul resonates through her voice. When asked which instrument she most related to, Bev said she plays the guitar – but her real instrument is her voice. “Special Days,” like Zizzy’s other tracks, breathes the blues.

“Special Days” by Bev Zizzy from Woman in Black:

Bev’s musical influences are numerous, but when asked about jazz elements, she referenced Melody Gardot’s modern jazz sound. Jazz can be seen as adapting to fit the modern musical environment. Bev Zizzy is definitely part of this musical evolution. Bev sees music as flexible and open to evolving development.

The new album – shrouded in secrecy even from her husband – developed it’s own uniqueness during construction. First off, a reoccurring value continued to surface: the number thirteen. As revealed later in this interview, Zizzy sees signs of connectivity in art and humanity. Bev refers to the number thirteen as “sacred, powerful, and lucky.” The positivity present in Zizzy’s music works at reclaiming thirteen’s original intentions. Wise women of the past gathered in groups of thirteen, concocting natural medicine through herbal remedies to heal the community. The downside – society interpreted them as evil and labeled them witches. Not cool. Like other areas, Bev looks for the good. She noticed while creating Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS that the theme of thirteen evolved inside the music. There are 13 tracks on the album, and 13 contributing musicians. The album is an expression of healing through music and experience.

Zizzy did not plan on incorporating thirteen – it just happened. The venue holding the album release event is called “The Artesian on 13th.” 13 months have passed since she began producing Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS, and its release is #13 for June 2016. Bev said, “Its all coincidental.  For those who believe in coincidence.  I am not one of those.  I prefer to think of it as mysterious and magical.” Thirteen is definitely significant, in terms of the energy in which it builds. For Bev, the number thirteen kept presenting itself, paired with a feeling of deep appreciation for the feminine aspect. She extended the meaning behind thirteen to issue 13 tracks  with 4 videos on the 13th of each month, plus an album single on the 13th of the fifth consecutive month, all leading up to the album’s release.  Click HERE for Album Release Event tix and info.

“Ride into the Wind” by Bev Zizzy from Standing

on a Platform of KINDNESS:

Standing on a Platform of Kindness by Bev Zizzy on iTunes

Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Standing on a Platform of Kindness, including “Ride into the Wind,” “What a Friend Does,” “Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help,” and many more. Buy the album for $9.99. Songs start at $0.99.

 

Sta3201030_orignding on a Platform of KINDNESS metaphorically melds personal experience to societal struggles with Bev’s velvety, smooth vocals and inspirational acoustic-soul. The whole album works as an extended metaphor, describing the journey of life. “Ride into the Wind,” the first track, is a metaphor for her personal life. Using the energy found in meaning, Bev said she sees songwriting as “an opportunity to shake-up and wake-up.” Artists are interpreters of reality, and Bev uses her life experiences, raising awareness of diverse issues. She said, “Musicians are the consciousness of society.” Measuring consciousness is a difficult task, but Zizzy agrees that music can in fact provide a community in which heightened awareness spreads. Music speaks to individuals, a starting-point in building connection. When paired with lyrical reinforcement and charged with collective effervescence, music can move mountains.

“Stay Soft” by Bev Zizzy from Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS:

Standing on a Platform of Kindness by Bev Zizzy on iTunes

Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Standing on a Platform of Kindness, including “Ride into the Wind,” “What a Friend Does,” “Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help,” and many more. Buy the album for $9.99. Songs start at $0.99.

Memories of struggle, like ancient lingering trauma, may harden the individual. “Stay Soft” tells a story of personal growth. The lyrics say: “The wounds still bleed and wear you down / and it’s been awhile since you’ve come around. / But you’ve got to stay soft; don’t let life make you hard. / You’ve got to free yourself, take a load off your heart.” Love is the answer. Bev said, “[‘Stay Soft’] is about preening [the self] for positive change. Its about freedom and filling the void of broken illusions.” The message found in “Stay Soft” reveals one’s ability of “letting go” in that the paling of painful memories creates space for adding love. Freedom from personal hardships happens within. Above all, one must love the self…and that often starts with forgiving the self. Stay soft – allow love’s healing ability the chance of developing something new.

Bev said, “Everyone has a candle with a flame that may be going out.” Looking at her experiences – a journey filled with culture, travel, language, and music – Bev said the energy coming from people she encounters is the main attraction. Using personal experience as inspiration, she builds from the interactions she has with people on her travels. She’s traveled the world, but when asked which location she learned the most, she said Asia – no question. Eastern thought encouraged Bev to develop the habit of smiling. She noted in Indonesia that while people had less that they smiled more than Westerners. Bev and her husband decided to initiate “Collect-Smiles” in answer to those flickering flames. Every smile could relight an individual’s candle, or their spirit. Zizzy wants to fan those flames, spreading simple compassion to others as well as the self.

“You Me and the Chickadees” by Bev Zizzy from

Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS:

Standing on a Platform of Kindness by Bev Zizzy on iTunes

Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Standing on a Platform of Kindness, including “Ride into the Wind,” “What a Friend Does,” “Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help,” and many more. Buy the album for $9.99. Songs start at $0.99.

Zizzy did not initially plan on traveling to Asia. After a tragic family accident, Bev lost her daughter. She had to heal, and looked to travel. On the way to Australia, they stopped in Asia – Bev fell in love. She said, “[Arriving in Asia] felt like being home in a way.” One characteristic of the East, Bev said, is patience. An avid life-learner, Bev is well read and practices yoga. In the past, she was a yoga instructor. However, being in Asia – ready to heal – Bev signed up for a local class and studied yoga at another level.

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Further examining the culture, Bev relied on skills learned from her language degrees and currently speaks Indonesian. Along with songwriting and the slide, Bev Zizzy has a Master of Education Degree, specializing in English Literacy, a Bachelor of Education Degree in French, and a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in French, Sociology and Women’s Studies. An interesting concept she found in the language was Eastern understanding of certain words – as well as a lack of words. In example, Bev could not find the word to translate “expectations” to her language instructor. After sorting out what she was trying to say, her teacher responded that the language does not offer a word for “expectations” because the culture does not “expect” anything to happen or be. To do so would be an imposition of one’s will on that of another. The language teacher said while people hoped, they did not expect. Bev’s lesson suggests one should experience what is before them instead of setting high expectations. Always striving for more in the future affects the quality of today.

When asked about her musical method, Zizzy said she starts from her voice. She read comments from the Greats – like Bob Dylan – and the text Songwriters on Songwriters in efforts to advance her abilities. Bev studied with Pat Pattison (of Berkley School of Music) through workshop, an online course, and personal application of his publications. Ok, the words first. …but wait because the music simultaneously appears with the lyrics. Bev’s true instrument is her voice. The words come out, and they cannot help but to have a melody on their wings. Certain tracks, such as “Still Smiling,” own the ability of autonomic-creation – Bev said, “I am just a vehicle for ‘Still Smiling.’” She said the song created its self. True to form, the lyrics appeared within ten minutes and the track recorded in one take. Phenomenal. The track is a conversation with her lost daughter. She says, “It’s been a long time since you left me, but you have stayed in my heart all the while.” Bev said that when the musician is a vehicle, they open themselves up and let it all pour out. The lasting message of “Still Smiling” is that love lasts, holding the “sunshine of love” despite one’s hardships.

“Still Smiling” by Bev Zizzy from Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS:

Standing on a Platform of Kindness by Bev Zizzy on iTunes

Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Standing on a Platform of Kindness, including “Ride into the Wind,” “What a Friend Does,” “Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help,” and many more. Buy the album for $9.99. Songs start at $0.99.

Bev Zizzy incorporates positivity with her music. She wants people to smile, but she also wants them to become aware of growing societal concerns. Bev’s lyrics are meaningful because they are skillfully crafted and show challenges people meet along the way. The goal is staying positive and embracing experience. She said she looks at every experience as having a possibility for goodness. Some challenges are more difficult than others, but Bev said, “There has to be a positive side to the story.”

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As a teacher, Bev looked at her students and recognized their suffering. They, too, were faced with difficult life issues yet rarely talked about their problems. She did not teach music, but Bev used music as a platform for her students to express and relate personal emotional turmoil. Through eighteen different tribute concerts dedicated to the memory of her daughter, shared with her students over the span of a decade,  Bev consistently presented a place and opportunity of celebration for those who ‘walk beside us now in silence’. Bev’s upbeat attitude inspires her students to develop the self, using art and music as means to express. Bev said she looks for “how to find your smile” daily. For Bev, songwriting is means to fundamentally find a positive side of the story. The music shares the message, spreading the smile with the audience.

 

Bev’s description of Indonesia casts reference to a paradigm shift. She said the general population has little wealth, compared to Western standards, but rich culture – filled with smiling, happy faces. She said Eastern community has a profound connection and sense of unity. A key factor is the absence of anger. Culture dictates that anger – if expressed – is of utmost humiliation. Indonesians avoid anger to preserve value for compassion. Without anger and expectations, Eastern philosophy encourages inner peace, acceptance, and smiling faces. Bev said the people have less but display more or, they look for the good and are content. Seems logical, yet Western thought conflicts. With fast-paced living and constant want of material items, the idea of simply being sounds refreshing.

 

After time in India, she wrote “Parasite.” She layered the track with a metaphor:  a  sort of  ‘Traveler’s Anthem’ inspired by the sacred  Ganges River and a subsequent abusive relationship with one of its parasitical inhabitants. The relationship is contaminated due to abusive problems, and he became a “Parasite.” She described it as a fun song, noting the slide guitar skills she’s picked up last summer. Zizzy loves to learn and evolve. Looking for the good in her experiences, Bev absorbs culture like a sponge, and then relates through transformative music.

“Parasite” by Bev Zizzy from Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS:

Standing on a Platform of Kindness by Bev Zizzy on iTunes

Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Standing on a Platform of Kindness, including “Ride into the Wind,” “What a Friend Does,” “Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help,” and many more. Buy the album for $9.99. Songs start at $0.99.

Dabbling in metaphysical and philosophical concepts, Zizzy hooks into meaning and grabs the attention of ready-listeners. One unique way she makes this happen is through “House Concerts.” The concept:  Bev brings her music into one’s living room in a private show. House Concert styles differ, but she said that required elements are receivers (the audience), comfort, and food. The process is all very subjective, but the idea is rooted in immediate-community and nourishment. Some House Concerts are scheduled around a full, four-course dinner – with music separating the courses. Others are more casual with hors d’oeuvres and constant music. She’s performed on the big stage for mass concerts, but she admitted for this interview that her personal preference includes a smaller setting with a smaller venue. Bev wants to connect and raise awareness. She relies on music as a bond, uniting individuals. Bev said, “[House Concerts] are my favorite form of entertainment.” What Bev is after is a personable, audience. She wants a conscious audience who intimately connect with the social issues found in the music. Bev’s music calls to those who consciously want to hear the message. “Her smoky vocal delivery is intense, innovative, and compelling, and her heartfelt, insightful, stories memorable, engaging, and uplifting” (Bio). Click HERE to view Bev’s page and schedule a House Concert.

“Simple Man” performed by Bev Zizzy from

Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS:

Standing on a Platform of Kindness by Bev Zizzy on iTunes

Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Standing on a Platform of Kindness, including “Ride into the Wind,” “What a Friend Does,” “Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help,” and many more. Buy the album for $9.99. Songs start at $0.99.

Zizzy’s son introduced her to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” The track is his favorite song, and Bev used instrumentation to create an intimate conversation between a mother and her son. She said, “I dedicate this [track] to my son.” Changing up the electric guitar for her slide, Bev also added the banjo, harmonica and box percussion to incorporate the right je ne sais quoi with her intentions. She wanted that “back porch” feel. Bev Zizzy’s voice carries Skynyrd’s heartfelt message to new levels. “Its so nice to have [‘Simple Man’] brought back to life,” a fan told Zizzy. Relationships and connectivity create experience. Click HERE to read Punchland’s recent review of “What a Friend Does” in which Zizzy shows that people and experience go hand in hand. Friends help, love, and laugh together.

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People and their experiences are truly what is important in life. Much is learned through relating with people and expressing the inner-self through the arts. Bev said, “Look at people with more compassion.” Everyone has a story, a struggle, a valuable bit to share with the world. We are all in this together, and Bev Zizzy’s musical message allows the compassionate nature of humankind to blossom in fruition. Societal struggles are real, and what better way to face strife than on the waves of musical effervescence.

 

Album Release:

“What a Friend Does” is available as a single on iTunes. Click HERE to purchase.

Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS released today! Click HERE to purchase.

A portion of Standing on a Platform of KINDNESS goes to Kiva.org to assist underprivileged people around the world. Click HERE to learn about kiva. Click HERE to view Bev’s thoughts on “The Power of Giving.”

 

Shout to Sources:  @BevZizzy, YouTube, Kiva, iTunes, The Artesian on 13th

~ The author extends gratitude to Taron for the opportunity to connect with such talented artists, and to Tag and Punchland staff for keeping music’s message rolling online.

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