iZem, real name Jérémie Moussaid Kerouanton, is a French globetrotter with Moroccan roots. His career is influenced by travel. Songs on his new album “in ze early morning” come with many surprises.


iZem (the acronym of “in ze early morning”) is the alter ego of the French-born music producer Jérémie Moussaid Kerouanton. He has been relentlessly exploring new horizons, in a constant search for links between cultures through music and technology. He has been producing and deejaying under the name iZem from every corner of the globe for the last 10 years, and his efforts to travel off the beaten track have long been supported by some of the greatest tastemakers, including Gilles Peterson, Bonobo, Mount Kimbie, Lefto, Quantic or Branko…In the past he has recorded several remixes for Soundway, Gamm, Agogo, or ZZK.

After working in record stores and radios in Paris at the beginning of the 2000s, and in a hurry to experience the world, he left France in 2005 to work as a guitarist in musical projects in Spain and in Recife, Brazil. During his South American experience, and while spending one year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he co-founded the online radio Groovalizacion. He continued to document his musical adventures through radio shows recorded in various places of residence. After spending several years working as a DJ in Dublin, Ireland, he moved to Lisbon in 2013, a cosmopolitan and sun-filled port city, with the idea of putting the finishing touches on his first album “Hafa”, released on Soundway Records in 2016. “Hafa” is a vivid analogue-digital, genre-defying soundscape experiment drawing from the afro-centric sounds of his journey to-date and incorporating modern, soulful songwriting and hybrid beats.

The last couple of years have seen him debuting his live performance both with a full band and as a solo electronic act. He also collaborated with artists such as Brazilian legend Elza Soares, Cape-Verdean global stars Mayra Andrade and Sara Tavares as well as French beatmaker Guts. In 2018 he released an EP on the Lisbon-based Enchufada label and a single on Heavenly Sweetness which was playlisted on French Radio Nova. Injecting percussive and syncopated beats into jazz and hip-hop aesthetics , iZem has established himself as a unique and vital voice in the global music scene.

New album graced by various guests

In line with iZem’s philosophy, the new album features contributions from many international artists, such as Flavia Coelho, Lucas Santtana and Dino D’Santiago. iZem currently lives in Montpellier and told us: “I recorded this album in different places. I started it in Lisbon. Some parts were recorded in Colombia and Brazil, and I finished it in a studio in the south of France, in Montpellier. And there are many singers and contributors on this album. Some of them are from Brazil, some from the UK, Portugal and Colombia”.

The album is called “In Ze Early Morning”. He says this is the time of day when he feels most inspired. That’s when he has the most creative energy. The greatest inspiration for the lyrics were writers such as Jack Kerouac, Paul Bowles, or Tahar Ben.

From a global perspective, iZem has developed his own musical signature that could help him become a true global star. Although his music is not played massively on dance stages, it is presented by selected world radio stations and “DJs” in their specialsised shows. And since we’re not about the masses, but about the quality that his music truly embodies, we’re happy to present it to you in the “album of the week” feature of our mixcloud online broadcast

NMR (foto: press iZem)