Naia Izumi (SESAC)

Abe Olman Scholarship, 2020

With a combination of soulful vocals and complex rhythms, Naia Izumi creates prolific and passionate music that reminds its listeners of the magic that exists in expression of sound.  His rich, unique sound immediately caught the attention of NPR, who chose the Los Angeles-based artist as their Tiny Desk Contest winner in 2018. Selected from thousands of video entries, Naia’s winning track “Soft Spoken” captivated the panel of judges, including All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, who applauded his “mind-boggling, unique style of guitar playing” and “multi-octave singing range.” 

Since his win, Naia has toured nationwide, was invited to perform at TED Talk’s TED Salon: The Next Wave event, and secured an Original Penguin brand endorsement.