Soulful, insightful, intelligent, fierce — Fritzwa is the emerging force Portland counts lucky to have within their music circle. With roots in NYC's Lower East Side, the R&B-inspired artist’s background is enriched in the arts. Her childhood composed of everything from dance to piano lessons — the perfect storm for relentless creative pursuit in self expression only an artist can fully understand.
Despite her youth, Fritzwa has already shown clear evolution, her music a testament to fearless acceptance of change. Looking to one of her earlier music projects, "FDR Drive" incorporates New York as the living and breathing environment. Vibes open, she takes the audience along for the excursion with an invitation to let loose and enjoy summer in the city. The message is on the up and up, the beats for any chill-out session or jamming in the car with some friends.
When looking to Fritzwa's most recent released project, the beginning of her next chapter could be marked by the artist’s big coastal move. With this change of scenery comes the challenge of being a new face in the music community while also jump-starting new creative relationships. “When I moved from New York to Portland, my intellectual capital was gone. I had to basically start over,” Fritzwa says. "Portland's music community is pretty tight-knit, but once I figured out who I wanted to collaborate with, it became a little easier."
In her "Sittin’ Pretty" music video, the earlier spectacular heights on rooftops from "FDR Drive" are replaced by unwavering nature. The shift? The latter was filmed in Oregon, an embodiment of relocating from a city that never sleeps, to a sprawl of endless greenery — it’s sincere, introspective, embracement of solitude and quietness. Fittingly enough, the piece was filmed by a bare bones, two person crew. It’s a visual exploration of Northwest landscapes in an intimate way. For the Northwest viewer, it can be challenging avoiding projecting one’s own memories onto these landmarks. Nonetheless, the atmosphere isn’t exclusive; instead, each shot is like being emerged into something that feels familiar.
“I really wanted to highlight the different landscapes here,” Fritzwa recounts. “That was a big part of the video that involved careful and detailed location scouting.” The singer-songwriter also stressed the importance of being heavily involved, if not already spearheading her music videos themes and creative direction. If anything, it’s proof that her creative overflow and the thoughtful execution of her music blends into every gap. This is an artist who knows what she wants to say, which intensely reverberates into everything she touches.
With Avenue A being R&B centric, there’s an undercurrent of hip hop, jazz, and vintage soul. The album offers a dose of tribute to New York ("Missed the L"), infusing strong-willed and unapologetic themes with poetic lyrics. If seeking out empowerment, look to “Never Back Down”— it’s wisdom worthy of reciting every day:
Don’t be wide eyed
When they tell you no, then you tell ‘em Bye Bye
This conquering and relentless approach doesn’t come by accident. “I always wanted to do music full-time, and when I moved here from New York, I wasn’t able to put my full energy into creating music at first,” she says. “So there’s definitely that resilience and persistence. It was my way of saying I wasn’t going to quit.”
There’s this familiarity and comfort that surfaces when adventuring deeper into Fritzwa’s music, yet originality is never sacrificed. Pigeonholing her would mean missing out on each liberating element. Her latest album, Avenue A, is so unapologetic and diverse, covering so much ground it’s easy to play over and over again, hoping it’ll sink in deeper on each listen.
Aside from being a singer-songwriter and performer, Fritzwa also DJs around Portland — you can catch her at Holocene on February 14th. Find out more information here.
If you're looking for new, fresh podcasts, you can check out "Playback with Two Wise Jawns" — a biweekly music review podcast. Fritzwa also has her own mix music podcast, "The Shuttle", where she mixes music from all eras based on rotating theme.