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Ify Iwobi - Better Than That

Wales’s finest singer/songwriter keeps reaching higher

It’s difficult to produce something creative that works on every level, and even more difficult to do it on your debut. Three years ago, music lovers agreed that Ify Iwobi had achieved it. Her debut album Illuminate was one of the most refreshing and accomplished releases of 2019. This gifted young woman discovered her talent and vocation at the age of seven, overcame the obstacles that life put in front of her and matured into the musician and composer who is helping make Swansea a cultural hot spot for the 2020s.

COVID and lockdown limited Ify’s performances in 2020, but in 2021 she became one of the voices of our recovery from the pandemic and our gratitude to the people who’d helped us through it when all proceeds from the song We Won't Forget, written and co-produced by Ify and featuring herself and six more of Wales’s most innovative young musicians, were donated to NHS frontline workers.

And so to 2022, a series of acclaimed live performances, notably at September’s BBC Wales Live Music Day when Ify’s performance at Broadcasting House in Cardiff’s Central Square was the highlight of a national celebration, and the release of Better Than That.

Anyone concerned that Ify might suffer from second album syndrome had their minds put at rest just a few bars into the vibrant title track. Building on the success of Illuminate, there’s something joyous and irrepressible in this release, heard most clearly in History and Pretty Thing and creating a narrative through each individual song.

We can’t be sure of what the future holds for this country – the challenges we face are exciting and daunting in equal measure – but we know for sure that we’re going to need role models. We’re going to need inspiration, and we’re going to need music that makes us think and makes us feel. The good news is that someone very talented is already delivering precisely those things and reaching higher with each new song and performance.

Whatever you’re listening to right now, Ify Iwobi is better than that.


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