Izzi Ray is the daughter of CCM legend Crystal Lewis and producer/record label executive Brian Ray. She began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of eleven. In 2012 she released her self-titled debut. A press release says: “Her rich, warm, and vibrant voice brings a clear message of faith, hope and love through her songs. With great poise and zeal, this 18 year old writes and sings with the precision and depth of someone twice her age”. Izzi shares: “I want to be a voice in my generation that stirs revival”. Now, Izzi is back with her second album MAKE MUCH OF YOU (2014). It was produced by Blaine Stark.
The first song ‘Rend the Heavens’ is one of five she wrote alone. It is a good rock song that utilizes B3, mellotron, and piano. On it, Izzi cries out to God: “Oh, that You would rend the heavens/Oh, that You would come down and change us/We tremble before You/Oh, that You would rend the heavens/Oh, that You would come down and change us/We’re desperate for You/I need to see Your face”. ‘My Song’ is one of five co-writes with Blaine Stark. This strong rock song utilizes Wurlitzer, B3, omnichord, mellotron, strings, and harmonium. It is a song of testimony: “Keep me from being conceited/I will gladly boast of my weakness/So You would be greater glorified/Jesus is the only Name that I will lift high/You are, You are/My love, my song/You hold my heart/Though I’m weak, You are strong”.
‘Something New’ contains both words of confession and request: “I’m sinking deeper/Down into the depths of negativity/Can’t reach the surface/I’m losing consciousness/At war with arrogance/So take my withering heart/Make me something new/Search me and convict/Only to be like You/Shatter all my pride/I lay me at Your feet/For the sake of Your great Name/Forgive my iniquities”. Next up, is the title track, ‘Make Much of You’. It is a ballad with an 80’s pop feel to it. It is a song of humility: “We are all the same/Proclaiming Jesus’ Name/With one voice we will sing, with one voice we will sing/Humble me, humble me/You have set me free so You can use me to make much of You/It’s not about, not about/How much honor we receive/Even my own faith was gifted to me/All I am, all I am/I will lay me at Your feet/Destroy every bit of pride in me/Everything, everything, I want everything I do/To be used to make much of You”.
‘Soon’ is a lazy love ballad that uses pedal steel guitar and bells: “If my dreams come to life/I just wanna be by your side/You’re men among men/Being near you makes me sing/Can’t contain the joy you bring/I’m blessed beyond belief/I can’t wait to see you again/I miss you, I miss you/I love you/And I’ll see you soon”. ‘Ezekiel 16’ is a song about Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness and God’s faithfulness: “You saved me, made me stunning, legendary beauty/But I trusted, abused, and relied only on my beauty/I completely defiled and degraded everything You gave me.../Yet You put aside all Your wrath, all Your anger, all Your jealousy/You remembered our covenant/And showed me grace undeservingly/You redeemed me and restored me/Gave me life, love, and atonement”.
‘Heaven is Your Throne’ is a cheerful song of praise with claps by Blaine Stark and Izzi, and additional vocals and claps by Crystal Lewis. Here are some of the lyrics: “My Lover, Comforter/You teach me through my trials/The Victor, Defeater/You triumph in my troubles/Heaven is Your throne/Can’t help but stand in awe/You bring me to my knees/I’m on my face/Everlasting Light striking through the sky/I’ll see the Son of God come back again”. Solomon Ray, Izzi’s brother, contributes keys and programming to ‘Lead Me On’. This energetic pop/dance number is one of dedication to God: “I’m spreading the fragrance of Your ways/Take me Father by the hand and lead me on/Bind my wandering heart to Yours forevermore/Though I make plans, direct my steps to bring You joy/I want Your will so have Your way/My life is Yours/So lead me on”.
‘Grace’ speaks of one of God’s greatest attributes: “I’ve run away/Hidden from guilt and in shame/Turned from Your love, betrayed Your trust in me/But You found me, tired and on my knees/Love of a Father, grace of a Savior/Fall on me.../I’m redeemed, filled with a peace so deep/I am forever changed so I will see/I’m restored, showered with grace like a storm/Pardoned from all my past/Rescued from death”. ‘Still Hope’ ends the album on a quiet, positive note: “I know that You are strong/I know that You are loving/You satisfy my soul/I find rest in You alone/I know that You’re my refuge/My anchor through the storm/I know that You are mighty/I trust You through it all”.
Two things are quite clear upon listening to this record. Izzi Ray takes her relationship with her Creator God very seriously. To her, He is an active, living Presence in her life. Secondly, Izzi Ray is very serious about putting out top quality music. Fans of Natalie Grant and Kelly Clarkson should pick this one up. I’m rating MAKE MUCH OF YOU 100%. For more info visit: www.izziray.com and www.metro1music.com.