NYVC Artist Spotlight: ISY
Posted Monday, June 14th 2021 by Kacey Velazquez
Hey, ISY! Tell us a little about yourself!
Where are you from and where are you currently based?
Hey! I’m currently based in Brooklyn, NYC. I grew up in a small town a few hours north of the city near Albany.
How did moving to NYC help shape you as an artist?
In every way! I moved at 17 from a rural town, so I was very impressionable, also lost and lonely, so I was even more open to all the experiences. I met a lot of artists and fellow street performers, and had some wild experiences of the city that I might not have had if I were less lost and desperate for companionship. I also got really into hip hop. I’d listened to rap here and there as a kid, but it wasn’t til NYC that I really got obsessed, being exposed firsthand to the birthplace of hip hop, and all the vibrant culture and history within it.
You're an amazing singer! Tell us a little bit about your vocal journey and how you came to be a part of the NYVC community!
Thank you! I was an avid choir member in highschool, I’ve always loved singing harmony. I found NYVC on YouTube through Voice Lessons to the World. I’d had lessons with various teachers, but it wasn’t until Justin that I started studying seriously. His comprehensive approach to voice/music and his dynamic background are what I think made him such a good fit for me, and such an integral part of my journey. Everyone else I’ve met at NYVC since has been great—the rest is history!
You first and foremost identify as a songwriter. Where do you find inspiration in your music? What singer/songwriters have influenced you the most in your career?
That’s a good question. I’ve gone through many music phases, each of which has had an influence. I’ve always loved the hits, more so the older ones—Motown, classic bands of the 60s and 70s, and the OG rappers. I was obsessed with grunge (Pixies, Nirvana) for a minute in my pre-teens.
I love anyone doing things a little bit weird/different, while retaining some “commercial” appeal— across the spectrum, from Joni Mitchell to Flatbush Zombies. I like creators who are courageous in their inventions and style.
You produce your own music. That's amazing! What motivated you to start learning about music production? What's your creative process like in the studio?
I could hear how much worse my production quality was than the music that I like, and that became a puzzle I’m still infatuated with solving.
It’s funny, I think I also got sick of guys telling me what to do with respect to engineering. Audio is such a male-dominated (and gatekept) field, but I thought I could do it too!
My process usually starts with a piece of a song lyric and/or melody. Or a bass line, and the more I produce the more I hear rhythmic elements from the jump. Other times I stumble upon chords I love and then just freestyle, record, and listen back— I think whatever you’re walking around the house singing is the gold — you never know what it will be, so I try to record every little idea I have.
Congratulations on the release of your new single "Airplane Mode"! What was the inspiration behind that song and its production?
Thanks! "Airplane Mode" started as me trying to create an audio version of a feeling I’ve had. The most universal way I can describe it is driving to the airport at the crack of dawn. A range of emotions—solemn, peaceful, the vibe of an urban highway as the sun rises.
I also always put my phone on Airplane Mode when I stream on Twitch, and a lot of this song was created live there. I really came out of my shell on Twitch, and am starting to feel like it’s ok to be who I am. In some ways it’s a love song for that community, and the world at large.
What can we expect next from you in 2021?
More singles and videos—I’m enamored with video right now. I’ll be livestreaming on Twitch, but also hope to be doing more in-person shows!
Listen to ISY's music here.
Connect with ISY on social media here.
Kacey Velazquez is a seasoned vocal coach, songwriter, and recording artist from New York City. Kacey has been involved in the arts her whole life, getting her start in musical theatre. When she was just thirteen years old, she began songwriting, recording, and performing her original music at acclaimed venues in New York City including The Bitter End, 54 Below, The Cutting Room, The Astor Room, and the St. George Theatre.
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