Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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By Sara Gougeon, Contributing Writer

Photo by Emma Kate Rothenberg-Ware

While most run from challenging conversations, indie-folk singer-songwriter from Western Massachusetts, Izzy Heltai, faces them head on. His EP, Day Plan (5 Songs Written 4 the End of the World) addresses the difficulties of toxic masculinity, growing up, and looking towards an unknown future. 

The EP with the title track, “Day Plan.” It’s a song that dives into the transition from adolescence to adulthood; a topic that many 20-somethings can deeply relate to.

“I’ve tried to set up my furniture to seem like a grown-ass man lives herе / I’m pretending to try / but I don’t really carе.”

Izzy Heltai,“Day Plan”

His voice is heavy, and there’s a sort of inviting sadness to it. But the drums march forward and kick the depression out of bed. The essence of “Day Plan” is the struggle of adulting.

The next song, “My Old Friends,” shares similar themes of feeling lost, moving away, growing up, and wondering what the future looks like. His lyrics hit home on the subject, “There’s a part of me that always wants the answers / I should just try living in the moment for a change.”


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Heltai recognizes the need to be present. Something that many anxiety-ridden young adults struggle with. This EP, while warm, upbeat, and catchy, is lined with insight. He writes with raw honesty. He accepts vulnerability in an effort to move towards a world that fosters open conversations and demands progress. 

Heltai closes the collection with “Met on the Internet.” This song addresses toxic masculinity; a subject that he has a unique take on as a transgender man. When Heltai transitioned in his teen years, he struggled with toxic masculinity throughout his battle to find himself and his validity as a man. “Met on the Internet” shares his experience: “It’s the early 2010’s / and I’ve convinced myself she owes me something.” Equating masculinity to emotional childishness, Heltai adopted toxic traits.

He comments, “We have the capacity to act just as badly, or even worse, than cisgender men because society tells us we will never be man enough.” Clearly, he’s done some reflecting since, as the lyrics display a lot of growth. “I know that I’m not the boy I was / trying to be a man I’m proud of.” 

Day Plan is unsuspecting, upbeat, energetic and if you’re not careful it will end up stuck in your head all afternoon. The songs don’t feel confrontational or confessional, but when you dissect the lyrics, they hold a lot of weight. 

You can read more about Heltai here, where he talks about his journey and his experience living in a closet, literally. 

Day Plan (5 Songs Written 4 the End of the World) is available now on all streaming platforms.