If you love good pop music, you love Ella Isaacson. Hailing from New York, the singer-songwriter arrives on the scene with her own anthemic ballads, as evidenced in her newest single titled “Out Of My Head.” The heartfelt track displays Ella’s talents as a vocalist at its finest, with lyrics touching on themes we can all relate to in life from career expectations to insecurities we all face from the pressures of society.
Growing up, Ella fell in love with poetry first before discovering her own voice as a singer. In combining the two, suddenly she found solace in songwriting and recording songs… inspired by a wide range of influences from Avril Lavigne to Green Day to Billy Joel. First releasing music under another moniker, Ella spent some time overseas where she came to the realization of what it meant to be 100% authentically herself.
Ella describes her character in one word: time. “She’s a time traveler essentially, she’s era driven,” she explains. “There’s a lot of inspiration both in the world she lives in and the music she writes, that’s all driven by time. Whether it’s on a thematic level of running out of time and the anxieties that come with life, then a visual level inspired by moves through time and different eras. Pull-on different things that way.”
Flaunt caught up with Ella via FaceTime, who was posted inside her home. Read below as we discuss her roots in New York, writing poetry, her sound, writing “Out Of My Head” in Sweden, what she does for self-care, naming her EP Chapters, studio essentials, her fashion sense, forthcoming music, and more!
What part of New York are you from?
A bit of a mixed batch, I grew up in Long Island and Manhattan.
What was a young Ella like growing up there?
For my younger life, I was very much in the suburbs. I was a kid who does what kids do when they’re bored in the suburbs. [laughs] They have too many things to overthink about and they write. I wrote poetry as a kid, I’d curl up in my room or find the backyard or grass. I’d write poetry, I was that kid.
At what point did poetry turn into music?
I was doing music for a while. I did classical training, I was singing as a kid. When I was 13, I realized “Wow, I should put these two things together.” I’d been writing poetry for a lot of years, I started really young. I was one of those strange kids who fell into that at 8 years old. I started to put it together. I had a cousin who was much older than me, who was a producer. I called him and said “Hey, I just wrote a song. Could you record it for me?” That day, my poetry went into full-on recording and I fell in love with it.
Who made you want to do music?
I was the child of much, much older siblings. I was 12+ years plus to my youngest sibling. You became a sponge at that point, my sister started singing. Because she sang, I’ve always had music around my house. My parents were music lovers. There’s tons of videos of me at the piano or grabbing a hairbrush to sing. It was in my world, I just took it and made it my own.
How would you describe your sound now?
[sighs] It’s grown a lot. The EP is definitely an acoustic pop driven sound. It’s called Chapters, I don’t know why it took us so long. We wanted to encapsulate a lot of things in the title. We’ve been releasing Chapters along with the singles as they come out. I literally had a eureka moment the other day: “that is the most perfect name for the EP!” [laughs] Last second when we got there, because I couldn’t settle. I needed it to be exactly right. It really fits in with so many things. From a literary perspective, there’s a lot of influences on the project. Just the fact it talked about stages in your life. A lot of us are always growing but this new generation in your 20’s, you’re growing up in a different way than ever before. The opportunities and choices, it’s moving so fast that things are changing so much for every generation.
For me, that’s really where I felt so much of my growth has happened. I wanted to mark that and Chapters is the perfect representation on a lot of different levels. It’s been really amazing because we’re about time. Of course, things have always been organic. For the new project, in the last month we’ve almost made an album worth of material. Sometimes, inspiration hits. You finish one thing and already have the bulk of another. [laughs] That’s been really fun. The EP was a culmination of things I worked on before and during Covid. While the new project is really where I’m at right now. So much inspiration, so many things that happened and my personal evolution with the project as well. I’m really excited. When we speak of eras, we’re really inspired by main collaborators like Billy Joel, Elton John, Queen. Everything from time signatures to the way the guitars are played and arpeggiation. Really getting specific about the time period and bringing you something fresh and new with it. It’s been really exciting to experiment with that sound because I grew up on that being a New Yorker.
How does it feel to release “Out Of My Head”?
I’m feeling really good about it. One of my big places of inspiration has been Sweden. That song was literally made the first day when I worked in Sweden for the first time.
What were you doing in Sweden?
I wrote that song about December of 2019. That was my first trip there, that’s the song I did that night. That record was really important for me because I’d left LA to go spend time in Europe. I had really felt that I was at a crossroads with so many things in my life, what I was doing musically. That was really the first song that I said “wow, this is really representing the music I’d really want to make.”
It follows a lot of what I had growing up, which is a lot of classical, choir, layers, really musical and theatrical. That’s the first time I got to really explore that. Theme-wise, who hasn’t come to a point in their life where they’re really frustrated where things are at? They planned for how it was supposed to go, and it didn’t go that way. [laughs] The song’s about the feeling of going crazy and you’re frustrated, it’s really nice to have that. That’s something we can probably say we’ve collectively felt in the past few years.
Have you always been vulnerable with your music?
It took a while, I’ll be honest. We all have vulnerability as children, then that goes away. When I wrote music at the start I struggled with that honesty for whatever reason, I don’t know if it’s being shy or the feeling of being watched, or if you grow to be less vulnerable because of life experiences, but it took a long time. The birth of the project this time was where I said “wow, I’m really writing about my life. Things I’m really experiencing on a day to day basis, everything’s rooted from me.” It changed my life and my art, it’s all growing pains.
Can we expect a music video for that one?
I’m not sure. We have a Chapter that came out, that’s a short film that goes along with it. We’ll see, we’re still figuring out the music video side. We really wanted to the film side to have its own life. We’ve been concentrating on those two different avenues in a separate way, but you might see a music video coming soon. We’re discussing it internally.
What do you do for self-care?
There’s a lot of things. Sometimes even when it can all seem really dark when you’re in your apartment, you get caught up in your head. Something I like to do is go walk outside. It seems really simple. [laughs] It’s hard though, sometimes getting out the door or forcing yourself to go take in some sunlight seems like the furthest thing in the world. It’s so simple, you think how’s that going to help me? Getting outside really does help me.
I got into a routine during Covid, I was working at very early hours and jumping on Zoom. I’d be working on European time. Sometimes I‘d have to rush into working from bed, not even get up and have a routine. And wondering why I’d get this emotional hangover from working for 6 hours, when I didn’t even get to wash my face properly before I started writing with people. Having a routine is really important and doing things that remind me I’m a person. I’m a person who works, but I’m still a person.
3 things that you need in the studio at all times?
Granted we record a lot at home lately, usually I need complete darkness when I record. I need it in the booth at least, I need to be with myself. I don’t want to really pay attention to anyone or anything else, I want to have that moment. Lately, it’s been really important to have live instruments. That’s something so crucial. The third thing is a really good couch situation. Like a therapist has to have a really good couch. A good couch is crucial to good therapy sessions, a good couch is crucial to making a good song. [laughs]
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Classic, 100%. I like to make bold choices. I definitely like things that are vintage and from another time, not only inspired by the time. I thrift and go hunting for old fashion clothing, I love it. I love gloves, old pendants and brooches. Anything that feels like it really has a history or story to it, I really love
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Oh god, I don’t know. I don’t think I have any other plans. [laughs] I’m so focused on music. If I wasn’t in music, because I’m so inspired by poetry and film, it’d definitely have to be something in those landscapes. I’m doing that now, it’s been really exciting to try out my hands in different things. I really love that process, it’s something I see myself doing.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not recording?
I like fun experiences with friends or people I love. A great view, a great class, a great dinner. Something where I get to share that experience, see something really beautiful and have fun doing it.
One thing you want people to get from the Chapters EP?
I want them to see that everybody goes through these growing pains. We can really feel alone in that process, in our frustration. I really go there without shame in talking about it, I throw myself under the bus sometimes. [laughs] I really want fans to hear that and feel not alone. That’s why we listen to music, so we feel less alone.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
I have a single coming out, Life Of The Party.” I’m so proud of the whole EP, I really went through so many songs to hand-pick these. I want fans to know there’s definitely so much thought being put into every song, the visuals and the story of it. I hope they really enjoy it. In the new year, you’ll be hearing a lot of new music. Probably a breakup record. [laughs]