Music means so much more when you’re able to connect with people on a personal level, and Isabel Dumaa has definitely mastered the art. As an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Isabel has already built a loyal fanbase who appreciates not just her enchanting voice but also the relatable narratives we’ve grown to love in her music. Now, you’re probably wondering how someone can be so relatable, so of course we had to pick Isabel’s brain on her creative process and inspirations!
The exclusive interview below helps us see the artist behind the music and what inspires her creative process! And if you don’t love Isabel by the end, we’re going to categorize it as a you problem.
@imisabeldumaa Chronically exhausted #quarterlifecrisis ♬ original sound – Isabel Dumaa
Your debut single, ‘Call My Bluff,’ garnered comparisons to artists like Clairo, Remi Wolf, and Maggie Rogers. How do you feel about being mentioned in the same breath as these talented musicians?
It is so amazing to hear your name in the same sentence as incredible artists who you look up to. Being compared to other singers who I listen to and have admired for years is just such an honor.
Being compared to icons is always great, but what icons shaped you into the musician you are today? Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant influence on your musical style?
I’d say the artists who have had the biggest impact on me as a musician are Taylor Swift, Carole King, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt, and just to name a few. I grew up listening to a lot of folk and jazz music. One of my moms was a big lover of all the 60’s and 70’s kinda hippie folk music, and my other mom loved all the doo-wop bands and female jazz signers of the 60’s. Growing up listening to all those incredible musicians has definitely had a huge influence on me and my music.
As a San Francisco native who relocated to Los Angeles, how has the move influenced your music and artistic journey?
I think location has a huge influence on a person’s perspective and mentality, so I definitely am a different artist now than if I had stayed in San Francisco, or chosen to go to New York or Nashville. I have met so many incredible people in my time in LA who have aided in my artistic journey and helped me to be the artist I am today. LA is not a city for the faint of heart though and I’ve definitely had to learn to grow thicker and get better at advocating for myself and my music.
How do you approach the songwriting process? Do you have any rituals or techniques that help you get into the creative mindset?
Inspiration will hit when inspiration hits. I don’t really have much rhyme or reason for my process, it is just what seems to make sense for me. Lyrics and melodies tend to come pretty simultaneously, so when writing I tend to have some idea or concept that I start with, and then I’ll just run with it. My songwriting process pretty consistently looks like me sitting in my room at my piano or with my guitar, and just tinkering and playing around until I have a song.
Is there a specific message or theme you aim to convey through your music?
I write about experiences in my life or what I’m seeing around me, so I feel I cover a pretty wide range of messages. I have put a lot of focus recently on mental health and the struggles of overcoming that. I write from a very truthful place and just hope there are others out there who can listen to my music and not feel so alone.
And congratulations on the release of your single and video, ‘Quarter Life Crisis!’ Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the song?
Thank you! ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ is about the universal feelings of loneliness, and self discovery that we all encounter in one way or another as we learn who we are as adults. I wrote ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ after moving to LA at 18 years old knowing absolutely no one. I was feeling really overwhelmed figuring out who I was, not only as a person but also an artist. I was exhausted and burnt out and realized I was spending time and energy on things that weren’t important to me. I think 18-24 is a really weird time for people because it is this limbo period between childhood and adulthood that no one really warns you about. I knew I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling, so I sat down to write a song about it and out came ‘Quarter Life Crisis!’
Would you say you’ve been through your ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ and if so, how did you pick yourself up after it?
When I first moved to LA I went through some form of a ‘Quarter Life Crisis,’ but that’s not to say I won’t have another or even a few more in my life. Moving to LA and beginning to pursue music full-time was a huge change in my life that prompted a fair amount of challenges and self-discovery. I felt really burnt out, really lonely, and really lost. I think I’ve grown a lot in the two years I’ve spent here, and have developed little habits such as journaling, or making time for hobbies like cooking or hiking, which have made such a difference in my mental health. I also have a better sense of my boundaries when it comes to social engagements and have gotten better when it comes to not experiencing fomo and being okay with spending time by myself.
‘Freshman Year’ became a viral hit on TikTok and helped you amass a strong following. How did it feel to see your music resonate with so many people on the platform?
It still blows my mind that people (who aren’t just family and friends) not only listen to my music, but can resonate and relate to it. I write from a really personal place and so seeing my songs be able to touch or affect people is truly an indescribable feeling.
You had your first-ever live show at The Roxy opening for Smallpools. What was that experience like for you, performing to a sold-out crowd? And can we expect any live shows coming up soon?
Absolutely INSANE. There is no way to describe how it feels to get to stand on a stage and sing your music for people. I’ve done a lot of work with Michael Kammerman from Smallpools and was ecstatic when they asked me to open for them at their show. Every time I get on stage I just want to do it more and more! the more music I am able to put out, the more shows I can do, and you can expect a lot of both in the near future 🙂
Can you share any details about your upcoming projects or future releases? What can fans expect from you in the near future?
I have a few songs in the works and I’m working hard to get my first EP together, so you can expect at least a few more songs by the end of the year. Also, I have a few shows in California over the summer, but am hoping to add many more soon!
We love to hear from artists dropping debut projects and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t anxiously waiting for Isabel Dumaa to drop an EP! Sign us up for alerts right now and take our money. As we wait to hear more songs and stories in her unforgettable voice, we have the videos above on a repeat cycle in our heads!
Did your ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ simmer down after listening to Isabel’s single? Let us know how you’re coping in the comments below or drop us a tweet over @TheHoneyPOP! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook!
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