Mike Izon: Setback returned him to music
Writer: Dahvontae Elzey
Photographer: Azure Ng
The life of a musical artist always seems so glamorous on television. However, many of those artists faced incredibly damaging hardships.
Mike Izon, a past student of Leeward Community College, has managed to make his lifelong aspirations a reality despite various life obstacles. Izon grew up in Whitmore in a home flooded with great music and two parents who instilled an everlasting passion for music into their young son.
“My biggest music influences are my dad and my mom, I grew up with them singing around me all the time.” Izon, 22, explains that his dad toured with several bands throughout Hawaii. Apparently the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Izon plays an incredibly diverse array of instruments such as the trumpet, French horn, percussion, ukulele, and guitar. Although the trumpet, French horn, and percussion were picked up in his middle school band class, his guitar, ukulele, and vocal skills were all self-taught. However, his high school band teacher seemingly dashed his passion when he was removed from the high school band for not coming to summer band camp.
Despite the setback he began to use his musical talents for worship at Grace Bible Church. “I just stopped altogether; then I started going to GBC and joined the worship team, which gave me a better reason to play music,” Izon said. Through the GBC worship team Izon subsequently regained his craving for music.
That Halloween in 2010, the versatile musician decided to put his vocal talent range on display in a local karaoke contest where he blew through the competition. He jokingly explains that this is the where “I not only met my producer, Josh Yafuso, but where I beat him.”
His career has since taken off, however yet another tragedy impeded on his newfound success. Izon suffered from two slipped discs which resulted in the loss of use in his left calf. The physical constraints kept him at home for some time, which led him to record his first demo CD. However the solitude of the recording sessions led to feelings of depression. In spite of the emotional trauma of the situation, he exclaims joyously that “I’ve made it past that and I’m greater than I’ve ever been.”
His trials and tribulations are the inspirations behind his self-written and composed debut album “Book of Clichés.” Based on his album he has had the opportunity to tour around Hawaii, playing in various venues almost every night. Excitedly he reveals that he will be touring in Japan soon; while also gearing up to travel to Los Angeles to try out for the hit television show “The Voice.” Izon plays every Tuesday night from 9 to 11 at Hard Rock, Wednesdays from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the Sand Box in Waikiki. He can also be found at Indigo in Chinatown on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.