Led by last autumn’s ‘Whistles’ that helped her reach over half a million streams on Spotify, and her recently released new single ‘Santiago’, which has been met with rave reviews and is being championed by KALTBLUT Magazine, Impose Magazine, IGGY Magazine and Ones To Watch, among others, to build on the recent support she has received from the likes of NPR, SXSW, RFB Magazine, and New York Foundation for the Arts, 22-year old New York City multimedia artist and songwriter ISA REYES is proud to unveil her long-awaited debut EP titled BELS. FIZZY Magazine interviewed Isa Reyes to dig deeper into her new EP and more.
Written and recorded by Isa Reyes, and co-produced by Gamal Abdu (Nyck Caution, Thutmose, Alex Mali) and Caine Casket, who comes backed by Complex, Office Magazine and Lyrical Lemonade, among others, with Reyes also collaborating with Julian Kaufman and Layla Ku from NYC collective MICHELLE on ‘Black Velvet’, the third song on the project, the 4-track BELS EP is music that connects, heals and empowers, driven by Isa Reyes’ enchanting vocals, atmospheric compositions, compelling songwriting, and alternative R&B / indie-pop sensibilities.
The record opens up with the intimate title track ‘Bels’, which is led by contrasting soft guitar arrangements and samba drums patterns, and sees Isa attempting to make peace with her childhood. The EP then flows into the hip-hop influenced ‘Whistles’, where Isa takes a self-reflective and appreciative look at the struggles on her journey so far, and the sassy sultry R&B ballad ‘Black Velvet’, over which she tries to reclaim her self-worth in a relationship, before culminating in the gripping pop-folk ballad ‘Santiago’, which serves to inspire others to navigate their path freely, and as a reminder to Isa that she still has so much more to offer to the world.
Speaking about the inspiration behind her BELS EP, Isa Reyes says, “Thematically, ‘BELS’ takes you on a journey of vulnerability, nostalgia, love, belonging, grief, depression, heritage, generational trauma, and coming to terms with the past. Each song is like a location and time in my life that I’m reflecting on or paying homage to. It is also an embodiment of processing for me. ‘BELS’ is the culmination of that journey, one that we are all on, one of the processes of self-growth and acceptance. For me, each track is a step into that process”.
Despite being a quiet kid, Isa Reyes grew up enmeshed into the New York City music landscape, as well as her parents’ classic record collection, and she began composing music at 13, intertwining her poetry with self-taught ukulele arrangements. Fostered by her multicultural household and surrounded by music from Sam Cooke to Nora Jones, Isa began creating her own music at 15 and eventually joined musical collective MICHELLE, where she cultivated her own unique sound further. Now 22, the NYC native is making genre-defying music to make people feel less alone in the world, and to inspire others to look beyond their circumstance and create within it.
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