She is one of the biggest rising stars of the Swedish music scene. And we have no doubt: her music is ready to take the world! Sounds European! had the honor of talking to her, and the interview is amazing! These are our 10 questions for ISA:
Sounds European!: Our music experiences, when we are younger, usually influence our adult preferences. How about yours? Who were your music idols when you were growing up? Who did you enjoy listening? Do you feel any artist has influenced your work?
ISA: My absolute biggest idol when I was growing up was Beyoncé. And she still is a big inspiration for me today. She has been a role model when it comes to performing, vocal technique and songwriting. In addition to Beyoncé, I listen a lot to Kehlani, Chris Brown, Bryson Tiller and Brandy, to give a few examples. Every song I hear inspires me to improve my songwriting and singing.
SE!: What are your first singing memories? At what age did you start singing and what songs did you like performing?
I: One of my first singing memories is when I sang in our living room back at home. Mom bought a microphone from a toy store and I loved to perform with it. One of my favorite songs at the time was "Mamma mia" by ABBA, so that was probably sung a hundred times every week. Each time we had guests over for dinner, I demanded for everyone's attention. It was always my time to shine, haha.
SE!: You were an early bloomer: your talents were clear and you started having your work recognized at a very young age. How did you face fame and recognition, being such a young person? What are the pros and cons of being a "teen talent"?
I: In 2012, I released my first single, "Bomb", and participated in the Swedish TV show Sommarkrysset. A year later, my second song, "What are we", got out. I started to make a name for myself, but not on a huge scale. Not until I was competing in Melodifestivalen, in 2015, did I have my big break.
The benefit of being a teen artist for me has been to get experience at an early stage. I've got to know a lot of producers, songwriters, other artists and people in the music business. And with over 100 gigs, performances in TV shows and a lot of interviews, I feel professional and comfortable, though I am only 19.
The drawback of becoming famous in your teens is that it can be harder to do the transition of becoming a more adult artist. Because you have to change people's perception of who you already are.
SE!: You had, in our opinion, two excellent participations on Melodifestivalen. We absolutely love both of your songs which were part of it. How was your experience in the festival? What are your memories of it? Is it something you would consider trying again, in the future?
I: It was the scariest but best thing I have ever done. I learned a lot about being in the center of attention in an extreme way, having papers writing about me during a period with a lot of pressure and expectations. Right now, my focus isn't to be a part of Melodifestivalen again. But it's stupid to say never.
SE!: As we see it, you are a complete pop singer: you don't stick to only one kind of pop music. You try different subgenres, from ballads to electropop, exploring several possibilities pop can offer. How would you define your own music? And what other genres do you still plan to record?
I: I would define my music as urban pop. I am a big fan of modern R&B and hip-hop, which will be reflected in some of the songs I am gonna release from now on.
"I plan to be the next artist from Sweden breaking worldwide" (Picture: official Facebook page)
SE!: You come from one of the most important countries when it comes to pop music. How do you see the history and the current moment of Swedish pop? And how is it to develop your work in Sweden?
I: I only see benefits with coming from Sweden if you are aiming for an international career, which I am. We got both fans' and people in the music business's attention. I think that Max Martin, Avicii and Zara Larsson have proved what a talent from Sweden can accomplish. I plan to be the next artist from Sweden breaking worldwide.
SE!: Sweden is a country whose music usually crosses all borders. Therefore, most songs are recorded in English. Is it an established matter in the Swedish market, using English in pop songs? Would you consider recording singles in Swedish, or do you feel more comfortable in English?
I: Since my goal is to make it internationally, I have focused on writing and singing in English. But if you wanna grow big within the Swedish borders, I think it's a smart move to make music in Swedish. It's easier to make people connect with your music. I would love to release something in Swedish some time, maybe like a feature track with a Swedish rapper.
SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?
I: I have been writing a lot of music over the past year, and my fans can definitely expect great releases during 2017 and 2018. It's a new, more grown-up ISA – more real, if you know what I mean. I am more excited than ever!
SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Swedish and international artists you would like to collaborate with?
I: Man, it's hard to choose... But right now, I would love to work with Zara Larsson and Justin Timberlake.
SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by ISA, and why?
I: Oh, my favorite song I have released is probably "Let it kill you". It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it and I get inspired by the lyrics. It's about believing in yourself, fighting for what you love. Even I need that pep talk sometimes.