Colleen Reviews Dizzy Fae’s “NO GMO”

Colleen Reviews Dizzy Fae’s “NO GMO”

Dizzy Fae’s fluttering vibrato and pulsing beats have made her a staple of the Twin Cities music scene since the 2015 release of her first single, “Color Me Bad.” But recently, the rest of the world has become clued into the St. Paul singer’s fluid, dreamy pop. Just last week, Dizzy’s quiet yet stark confidence stared back at me from the web pages of British Vogue. RPM’s review:

A year after releasing Free Form, the mixtape that introduced listeners to her genre-melding sound, Dizzy Fae has released her second mixtape, NO GMO. It’s hard to define Dizzy’s music as any one genre. Her sound pulls from R&B but also incorporates elements of pop, trap, and house music. She is a classically trained vocalist who grew up singing opera and playing jazz trumpet. Dizzy uses this wealth of resources to her advantage, creating a bubbling cauldron of musical magic that shines on NO GMO.

Dizzy’s musical career has followed a meteoric trajectory. The first time I saw her perform was in 2016, supporting Lizzo, another artist whose career has skyrocketed from Minnesota to audiences worldwide. The 21-year-old musician has since shared stages with Jorja Smith, Toro y Moi, the Internet, and Kehlani. While the rest of the world is just finding out about her, Dizzy has spent years developing her craft and forging connections in her local music scene. 

Like Free Form, NO GMO is a mixtape, a release format that originated in hip-hop’s early days and is still popular among many artists today who prefer to release their music independently, rather than working with a label. Dizzy has been an independent artist from the start, and says that being independent empowers her to “make the art that I want to make.”

Minneapolis producers Psymun and Alec Ness are longtime friends and collaborators of Dizzy. The two produced Free Form, and worked with Dizzy again on NO GMO. For NO GMO, Dizzy also enlisted help from some new producers, including Sir Dylan, KimTee, and Falls.

NO GMO swirls with different textures, from siren-like synthesizers to dreamy vocal effects. The mixtape features a number of energetic, hip-shaking songs, like the singles “Company” and “Lifestyle.” “Company” begins with a warbling, glitchy synth that begs you to bob your head or at least tap a foot along to the beat. “Lifestyle” is a bit more understated in its instrumentation, and uses its sonic sparseness to draw your attention to a syncopated marimba sample that dances around the song’s chorus.

While Dizzy delivers upbeat bangers, Dizzy’s soft voice and rosy imagery drape a blanket of softness over the mixtape. Words like “paradise,” “love,” “chocolate,” and “utopia” fill NO GMO’s songs. Dizzy publicly came out as queer with the release of the music video “Her/Indica” in May, 2018. The song, which describes Dizzy’s first experience of falling in love with a woman, received praise from a number of outlets including Gay Times. Dizzy has spoken openly in interviews about how being a queer, biracial woman affects her work, but she isn’t letting people put her into a box, and the sonic complexity of NO GMO shows just how multifaceted she is.

For such a young artist, Dizzy Fae handles being thrust into the public sphere with grace and confidence. “I am magnificent,” she sings on “Altar.” “If you touch me you’ll be shook.” Dizzy’s confidence also shines through in how carefully she wields her voice. On “Pink,” it enters the song barely above a whisper, and throughout NO GMO, her precise vibrato wavers in and out of songs. Her quiet and controlled approach reflects both the mastery of craft that her classical training has given her and also her self-assured attitude. Dizzy doesn’t need to be loud to make her voice heard and her soft approach illuminates just how intentionally she uses her voice. 

The singer grew up studying classical music and is a graduate of the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts. If she wasn’t releasing music as Dizzy Fae, she says she might have become an opera singer. While Dizzy no doubt would have taken the world of opera by storm, I’m glad she let her singular artistic voice lead her to NO GMO, and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Score: Twirling in slow-motion at a rosy-hued club and locking eyes with a stranger from across the dance floor.

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