Speaker

TEDx Speakers | Troy IronsTEDx Speakers | Troy Irons

Troi Irons refuses to be pigeonholed. Irons makes music that grabs, urgently, influences from all over the map—the pointed lyrics of Alanis Morrissette, the sinewy churn of The Dead Weather, and the in-your-face wail of Shirley Manson are just a few of the reference points that come to mind when listening to Turbulence, Irons’ debut EP.

Irons’ lyrics speak frankly of defying boundaries—”Maybe I’m screws loose, maybe it’s you/ Some say I’m too blue, so what if it’s true,” Irons spits over the sitar-led maelstrom of “Peculiar”—and tackling hard situations head-on. The electric blues of “Fool” are turbo-charged by Irons’ wail recounting 2 a.m. arguments and a wavy guitar riff that sounds summoned from the world’s depths.

Growing up in a musical household in Nevada allowed Irons, who graduated high school at age 12, to be similarly prodigious in making music. “My parents got me a keyboard when I was nine,” Irons recalls, “and my grandparents got me a guitar that I never played until we moved to L.A.—I had a lot of time before school started and was bored, so I picked that up and I started playing.”

Irons’ attraction to the churning guitars and confrontational stances of rock was clandestine at first. “There was a little radio on top of a table,” Irons recalls. “and I’d sit underneath it and listen to the radio. I would dial until I heard something that I liked, and just hang out by myself.” Stumbling upon a radio station that played a mix of classic and modern rock—Journey alongside Green Day, what Irons calls “pre-teen angst music”—opened a door not only to music outside of the family’s normal listening habits, but a glimpse at the up-close way artists interact with their fans.

“I grew up going to Warped seeing Boys Like Girls and Panic! at the Disco,” says Irons. “I was in those crowds, and they were talking to me. When someone mentions Brendon Urie, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah. I kind of know that guy. I was 100 yards from him a few years ago.'” That reflexive memory doubles as a reminder to her that intimate environments can have a long-lasting effect, one that she hopes to pass along to listeners when they see her play out.

Irons’ raw voice, super-distorted riffs, and beats that have just enough of a robo-funk edge to get listeners’ combat boots dancing are a heady combination; add to that the way Irons smashes to bits the ideas of who makes and listens to rock, and you have an immediate connection with listeners looking for a release valve. “I realized that it wasn’t about me—I’m a very small portion of what’s actually going on here,” says Irons. “Once I was able to get outside myself, then I was able to focus on giving. I think when you give your world gets larger, cause it’s like the universe recognizes, ‘Oh great, there’s someone I can funnel blessings to everyone else through.’ Then, you get more than you need. Once I realized that, my goal was, ‘How can I change things? How can I be more and help everyone who’s around me?’ That’s when everything started getting super easy.

“If you have real music, people will listen,” Irons states emphatically. “It doesn’t matter if they know who you are or not—these kids who look and live outside the norm need this, and the kids who dream when people tell them not to need this. They need to know that you can still be who you are and do what you want.”