Close your eyes and imagine yourself in street soul heaven listening to a rootsy, soulful and unique voice. Now open your eyes and meet Iva Lamkum - this outstanding 22 year-old Wellington singer/song writer is bursting to make an impression on the NZ music scene. Born a Kiwi, Iva has New Zealand, Samoan and Chinese blood running through her veins. She is the complete package who pens lyrics and finds melodies that match her soulful sounds, beliefs and original sense of fashion. But it is her voice that is her greatest asset. As soon as you hear it, you know it is something special. Her rich tone gives her a truly unique sound that makes you want to sit up and take notice. Iva comes from a soul and jazz background with a touch of underground hip hop, but she prefers to call her style "street soul". She is an all round performer, who can not only sing and write but also plays guitar and drums. "Music is a problem solver. When I'm angry I listen to a lot of rock, I listen to gospel songs to keep me on track. Music has become more personal, it's a means of expressing myself in all situations. No matter what you do in life, music will inspire you." Iva attended St Anne's Primary and St Catherine's College, both in Wellington, before leaving after her seventh form year in 2003 to study music, business and computing. Music has always been a hobby since realising she could sing at the young age of 9. But it wasn't until people approached her later in life with compliments about her abilities that she started to realise she could take her hobby and passion further. She has become an integral part of the Wellington music scene in the past few years and has played with some of the city's finest musicians at gigs, concerts and festivals. Iva now has her own band of professional musicians who are respected in their own right, giving her a consistency of sound both at live gigs and in the recording studio. This year will be a big one for Iva. The skilful artist is about to release her first self-titled EP featuring six tracks, produced by independent label Base Promotions Ltd in Wellington. The EP follows her first recording last year on the Nuclear Free Nation Aotearoa New Zealand compilation singing DJ/producer Benny Tones' track, Within The Clouds, the lyrics written by Iva. Iva's track sits on the compilation alongside top names such as Hollie Smith, Anika Moa, Katchafire, Herbs, Kora and Trinity Roots. Iva is currently working on adding her soulful sound to Sola Rosa's new album due for release later in 2008.