Sometimes discovering new talent can come from the most obvious of places. In the case of Naia Izumi, the guitarist, soul singer and producer, winning NPR’s Tiny Desk contest in 2018 was the jolt the talented musician needed. But his story goes far beyond being the victor in a competition in an esteemed contest on public radio.
Born and bred in Columbus, Georgia, and diagnosed with autism at the age of 16, Izumi is a wizard on the guitar. Prior to his big break in 2018, he dazzled audiences in Hollywood as a street busker and when he wasn’t working on his music, Izumi was an electrician.
Now, all of these years later, Izumi is doing the thing he knows best: playing great music. As you can see in his 15 Minute Performance below, he seamlessly blends futuristic-tinged R&B with spacey rock to create a sound that’s genreless in the best of ways.
Watch previous performances from UPSAHL, KANDLE, Cha Wa, Rozzi, Nick Waterhouse, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Sub-Radio, Cedric Burnside and STACEY, and check back on Fridays for more stripped-down sets from artists we love.