Mizan Biography

An Ethiopian singer, composer, filmmaker, and producer by the name of Mizan K. Her debut EP, Dark Blue, which she independently released in November 2015 after a string of singles, attracted notice for her understated musical and performance aesthetic. Mizan was raised in the Ethiopian metropolis of Addis Abeba and began studying piano at an early age in a higher music institution. Her family listened to a variety of music at home, including Motown, Soul, and Ethiopian pop music by artists like Aster Aweke, Ella Fitzgerald, Bizunesh Bekele, Tilahun Gessesse, and Bettye Swann.

Throughout her time in high school, she experimented with making lo-fi productions, learnt how to write songs, and gave frequent performances for her friends and at talent shows. Mizan relocated there to pursue a literary education. In 2013, she relocated to New York City. Mizan relocated to New York in 2013 and continued her musical endeavors there.

Her improvisational covers of songs by Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and CeeLo Green, among others, won her first place in the amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. She quickly set up a studio and began recording a number of the songs that would eventually make up Dark Blue alongside longtime collaborator The Brown Ghost.

Together, they used a completely do-it-yourself technique to produce and compose all the music and films. The two mixed “electronic,” “keyboard components,” and traditional instruments to create a work that “looks to minimalism and relatability as the song’s principal goals,” after becoming “dissatisfied” with the constrained and “sanitized romance” of pop music.

By releasing each song as a single with a music video in November 2015, Mizan announced the completion of her EP. This included the songs “Thru” and “Looking For,” in which Pitchfork praised Mizan’s vocals for having a “vibrato that glows over self-discovery.” The album was named one of the 20 finest R&B albums of the year by Rolling Stone, who described it as a “terrific six-song EP” that was “stark and forthright.”

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