University student sharing her story through music

Izzy Burns playing her guitar
Izzy Burns playing her guitar(KKCO)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 11:10 AM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - A Colorado Mesa University student is sharing her journey through music; a path that many thought would be unlikely.

Izzy Burns grew up in Moscow, Idaho. As a newborn, she aspirated from pneumonia and ended up getting a tracheostomy. Throughout her childhood, she had multiple surgeries to clear out the scar tissue in her throat to give her the best chance of breathing freely.

“They didn’t really think I’d be into singing or volleyball because they didn’t really think I’d be able to do both,” says Burns. “But I worked really hard with my big support system to be able to do the things I wanted to do.”

Now in her sophomore year, Burns came to Grand Junction to study music business and play volleyball. She even got a volleyball scholarship.

Burns said her family has always been her biggest support system. Her parents encouraged her all along the way, and eventually connected her with a voice coach.

“I met her, and she thought it was going to be more of like vocal therapy, because my voice was really raspy. It still is, but it was it was worse then,” said Burns. “And so, once we started working together, I kind of just took off and fell in love with getting better at singing and music.”

And that desire to sing got her performing in front of live audiences when she was just 11 years old.

“I had really bad stage fright as most people do when they start and I think my mom encouraged me to start going to some open mics where I could connect with other people doing the same thing,” said Burns. “And I think creating that community really helped me feel more comfortable when I perform.”

But for Burns, just learning to sing wasn’t enough. She wanted to write her own music. While in middle school, she began writing her own original songs. It got to the point she had a catalogue of songs in her repertoire but hadn’t done anything with them.

“I feel like songwriting is like my type of diary, like someone has their different form of expression. It’s really how I get my thoughts out and how I understand them,” said Burns. “I love music, and it’s my favorite thing to do.”

Burns said she got to where she’s at thanks to a great support system and meeting the right people at the right time. One of those chance meetings happened while she was still in high school.

“I was on a plane to a volleyball tournament actually, and I sat by a producer when I was a sophomore in high school,” said Burns. “We had this conversation, and he was like, you should try recording some of these originals.”

Burns said with her producer’s help, she was able to refine her songs and by the end of that summer, they recorded an entire album of original songs. Her music is online at various streaming platforms.

Though her journey through music hasn’t been an easy one, she said it’s her hard work and determination that got her there. “I would hope that people who maybe feel like they have some disadvantages or hurdles ahead of them, that if they keep working hard, good things will happen,” said Burns.

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