Isa Reyes Releases Debut EP ‘BELS’
Isa Reyes is one to watch.
After the release of ‘Whistles’ last autumn, that helped them reach over 500,000 streams on Spotify, Isa Reyes is back with her long-awaited debut EP titled ‘BELS’.
Growing up in the New York City music landscape combined with their parents’ classic record collection, Isa began creating her own music at 15 and eventually joined musical collective MICHELLE, where she cultivated her own unique sound further.
The EP compliments Isa’s range of musical talents, with the opening title track ‘Bels’ led by soft guitar and contrasted with samba drum patterns. The EP then flows into the hip-hop influenced ‘Whistles’, followed by ‘Black Velvet’, an R&B ballad. The EP concludes with ‘Santiago’, a pop-folk song with the goal of inspiring others.
We were lucky enough to speak with Isa on ‘BELS’, the future, and inspiration. Keep reading to find out more.
What, or who, were some of your inspirations for the EP?
For me, each song is like a location of a time in my life I’m reflecting on or paying homage to. My parents were a big inspiration as well as my childhood and the way it feels to look back [on] stand feel like it was one big dream. Reflections of relationships and processing what love and wanting to be loved is, is a thematic occurrence. Sonically, jazz, hip hop, and RnB influenced ‘BELS’.
What’s your favourite track off of ‘BELS’?
‘Whistles’. And it was a challenge to record because of the content and the composition. I’m recounting the story of losing my parents and the weight of that tried and that was emotionally difficult. Before I got the right recording I kept stopping myself and doubting my ability to perform, and didn’t believe I could deliver what I was signing, but thanks to Caine who co-produced the track, I love the way it come out. Creating ‘Whistles’ is a way o reaching anyone who has experienced a similar weight.
What are some things you would like to achieve in the future in terms of your music career?
I want an EGOT, like Whoopi! No but seriously, I want to be able to do for others what music has done for me - given me a way to express what words sometimes can’t, and be a voice for people that feel alone. For me personally, I don’t need an award made by an “academy” of rich white people to validate that.
It would be amazing to collaborate, perform, or tour alongside Isaiah Rashad, Okay Kaya, Ambre, SiR, Kari Faux, or Tyler the Creator. That’s just some off the top of my head, there are lots of people I admire and would love to work within some capacity down the line.
I also have really always wanted to make a punk/alternative project. I tried to once, under an alias/alter ego and then it ended up being a jazzy and very RnB.. .it’s called Reflex by Scout if you want to dig it up. For right now though I’ll feel achieved once I make/ finish my album…
Has music always been a big part of your life?
Music has always been there. We spun records when I was a kid, from Al Green to Miles Davis. Then I had a CD player and would always burn my own mixtapes - Gnarles Barkley was a consistent appearance on those. But the ukulele was the first instrument that made me fall in love with making my own music when I was 12. I was really into folk and blues and from there I went straight to teaching myself how to play and learning songs. Once I was good at it I started to write my own songs on the back of a lot of the poetry I was doing at the time. As corny as it sounds, music has saved my life- I’m not too sure I would be here without its presence in the heavier moments of my life. Starting to create my own music gave me agency over my voice and expression in a different and new way.
Who are some of your favourite musical artists?
Sade, SiR, Isaiah Rashad, John Coltrane, Dorthy Ashby, Ambre, Ammarae, Leon Bridges, Sam Cooke,Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, Don Toliver (donny Womack tho), Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, serpentwithfeet, Orion Sun, Obongjayar, Noname, Junglepussy, Ol Dirty Bastard, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Minnie Ripperton, and been listening to Baby Keem a lot lately... to name a few…
You can listen to ‘BELS’ here.