This promising young singer and songwriter is someone to keep an eye on
One of the best feelings on earth is coming across a song and feeling like the lyrics came right out of your own head. Isabel Lerma writes and performs in hopes that she can provide this exact feeling. Her music is that relatable.
Born and raised in Manila, Isabel has always dreamed of becoming a musical artist. “I thought I’d grow out of it eventually, but the passion didn’t only last, it grew even bigger as I got older,” she says.
For as long as she can remember, she has always loved singing. “I think I learned to appreciate music in general because both my parents are big music listeners… New wave forever!” intimates the 22-year-old BS Architecture student at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde.
Her parents always believed that Isabel would do great in theater so she would always be enrolled in workshops like Repertory. Her heart, however, just wasn’t into it. “I wish it was, but I knew it wasn’t my thing,” she confesses.
In her early teens, like most of her age group, Isabel would post her craft online as a form of self-expression. “I would post covers on SoundCloud for fun, singing, playing the guitar, and knowing I was being listened to,” she explains. It was at this point that she started getting into writing her own music and lyrics.
In 2019, she worked with a fellow artist on some tracks where she first wrote lyrics for other people’s consumption. One of her first collaborations was with another indie artist, Big J, in songs titled “Overdrive” and “Save Me.” This experience opened up a whole new world for Isabel. “I truly found where I wanted to be in terms of being a musician,” she says. “Though I love singing, I don’t think I would’ve pursued it to this extent if I hadn’t grown a fondness for lyricism and poetry first.”
Her dulcet tone, soulful and mellow tunes, and empathetic lyricism are the musical embodiment of a modern love song, enticing and sensual. The sound is heavily influenced by soul and R&B.
‘There is no mold for being an artist, and that’s the beauty of it! The fun is in the process of finding your sound and evolving creatively.’
Isabel’s songs, so far, delve into the different stages of relationships. Her recent release, “Foolish,” paints a picture of maturity, the willingness to be a better person for the sake of love. Her other single from last year, “Blown,” dives into the feeling of getting into something new with someone, the phase in life when one just wants to have fun, immersing in youth. It is about “being young and your head’s kind of in the clouds still,” furthers Isabel.
While it falls in a different timeline from the other two, “Wait to Love” is what Isabel deems to be the most powerful track. The song talks about not being ready for the relationship you’re in and choosing to stray from it, as much as you wish you didn’t have to. “But that’s a story for another time,” Isabel teases. “I love all my current releases equally, but I definitely have a favorite in the vault!”
“As an artist, you got to be brutally honest and a little melodramatic. I guess because I’m not so good at expressing what I feel upfront through conversation, all these emotions come out in what I write,” says Isabel of her music, which she conceptualizes and writes on her own. In terms of bringing it out in full form, she gives full credit to her producers.
Isabel has been studying music theory and all the different technicalities of music production in her off time at school. “I am constantly learning new things and I’ve found that being in the industry is much more complex than I originally thought, but that just drives me to work even harder, especially as an indie artist,” she admits.
As a creative, her process is spontaneous but also very careful. “In whichever field, I’ve found that my best works just happen without giving them much thought, though I also like to take my time when it comes to polishing my work,” Isabel says.
Because she is always writing, she has unintentionally put together an EP of her life experiences. She is currently working on one to release by early next year.
Isabel’s parting words: “Of all the years I’ve spent navigating my way through music, my best advice is to try it all out and see what fits for you or where you fit into.” She says. “There is no mold for being an artist, and that’s the beauty of it! The fun is in the process of finding your sound and evolving creatively, just as I did myself and just as I am.”
Isabel’s music is available on streaming platforms Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, SoundCloud, Tidal, Deezer, etc. Now and then she also posts casual covers on her Instagram story and IGTV (@_isabellerma).