An Interview With Songstress RAE ISLA On Her New Single ‘American Paradise’ and More!
Posted On 19 Apr 2019
Ether-pop songstress Rae Isla returns with her spacious and quixotic new song, “American Paradise.” Nestled in the paradisiacal soundscape of Americana and alt-pop, Rae Isla pens a love letter to an idyllic California locale, a sought out destination occupied with luminosity and boundless potential.
“American Paradise” is a translucent effort fueled by Isla’s youthful yet seasoned timbre that ascends after displaying a transfixing lower vocal register. Her warm vocals, which balance on the tightrope of vulnerability and fortitude, gleam from the initial transfer to her final delivery. Rae Isla is the prime example of a budding young artist, fully coming into her own on this latest offering. On the undulating “American Paradise,” Rae Isla has shaped and redefined the persona of the wounded singer/songwriter with a soaring and enthralling endeavor that’s a breath of fresh air, no matter where you are to take it all in.
Rae says this of her new track, “‘American Paradise’ is about the warm and pure feeling of love, before it’s corrupted by the cold inevitability of change. Living on the east coast as a transplant can often feel very cold—literally and figuratively. There’s this desire to travel and find something new and warm, a pursuit that is characteristically American and perfectly embodied by California.”
“American Paradise” follows Rae Isla’s late 2018 debut EP, No Longer Blue. It’s a blissful five-track composition exemplifying a young woman identifying her true symmetry through the unification of profound love, aching loss, and internal acceptance.
Rae Isla worked with her dear collaborator, Sean Smith, on “American Paradise.” The track was recorded in home studios and at Whitewater Studio with Morocco Music Group in NYC. It was mixed by Mike Seay and mastered by Dan Millice at Engine Room, NYC.
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Learn more about Rae Isla in the following All Access interview here:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Sitting on the floor of my apartment in Brooklyn.
Now that we are into the 4th month of the new year, how has 2019 been treating you so far? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
This year has been very transformative. I’m collaborating a lot more. It’s been sort of a whirlwind of making new music, trying new sounds. I’m not going to the gym quite as often as I’d resolved though…
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I didn’t realize how important it was until I left home, and now I realize it got me through some hard times. I started “officially” playing music when I was 3, classical cello, but I hear family stories of me singing as a baby. I realized I was going to be a musician, or rather dedicate my life to music and pray I make rent, when I was about 14. That’s when I started really writing songs. It was less of a choice and more of an acceptance of the right path.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
I love academia and am oddly enough passionate about business development. The act of creating is so beautiful, but I also love building things up. I’d probably go to Harvard Business school if I wasn’t pursuing music right now.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
That in this ever-changing industry, nobody really knows what’s going on. The challenge in this is there are no rules, guidelines or templates for achieving your goals – but I think it’s more fun because you have the freedom to try anything.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
I grew up in Seattle, surrounded by music. I often went to shows, jammed with my friends & family, attended music camps with people of ages and backgrounds. I made all types of music and played any instrument I could get my hands on. Now I’m doing the same thing in Brooklyn, but I’d say the professionalism of this city has made my work more focused and I’ve become more intentional with the music I share.
Let’s talk about your newest song, “American Paradise.” What was the inspiration for it?
It’s inspired by someone who made me feel like I was in paradise. California became the symbol for that feeling, as I tried to hold onto it.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of songs?
Soon! Lots of songs in the queue. I don’t plan to release a body of work for this year. I really enjoy getting behind a single song’s message and having it be the theme for my life for a while. It also means more consistent releases and more creativity for visuals.
What has changed about your style of music? How has your creative process grown over the years?
Quite a lot. If people heard my back catalogue, they’d be surprised it’s me…I used to write songs without editing the lyrics, then bring them to a producer to make. It was kind of a cold process to be honest, because I didn’t fully understand production and how to “make a track”. Now I produce or co-produce all my work, which allows me to stay in control of the sound and be way more collaborative.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Well, it takes up a lot of time, but I like connecting with fans and hearing how they feel, hearing their stories. I’m really into Twitter at the moment — I think it’s the most loving platform.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I’d love to make a song with Weyes Blood. I’d love to record an album with John Congleton. I’d love to perform with Natalia Lafourcade.
Where can fans see you perform next? How is your current tour going? Any favorite venues or crowds yet?
I have a short run of acoustic shows this month in NYC, Philly, Boston, then back to Brooklyn. I just played Gramercy Theater and the room was incredible. Everything’s on my website (raeisla.com/shows)
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
It would involve horses, lots of them, probably shot in one of the USA’s national parks. Then I’d want to shoot in Mexico as well. I’d also want it to feature all the women I’ve ever been in love with.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
My voice! So I can talk to myself and not get lonely.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I’d love to hear it in CW’s Legacies. There’s something so relatable and also cinematic about the music they pick.
Do you remember the first time you ever heard one of your songs on TV, in a movie or elsewhere? What was it and how did it feel? Where were you when you heard it?
More so, I remember when I got a bunch of plays and messages because my song “Mexico” was playing in Denmark H&Ms. It seemed so random and so cool that’s where people were listening.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Hope. Love. A rush of euphoria. And I want them to hear themselves in my songs.