Unwrapped: Issara – 222

We had a chat with Issara about her long-awaited empowering debut album 222

Having endured a long and taxing road to get here, Issara has finally released her debut album 222, an album that she claims is almost three decades in the making, and what a release from the rousing and soulful pop artist it is.

The album showcases the distinctive and nuanced appeal that the artist possesses in abundance, packed full of life experience, lyrics surrounding themes like empowerment and originality, and rawness and deep introspection surrounding the path that the artist’s life has taken and the journey that she has been on. There is nobody better to articulate the story of this album and the process that she has been on than Issara herself, so we had a chat with the artist to find out some more about it and how a lifetime of work has culminated in this moment.

Hey! We love your debut album 222, what more can you tell us about it?

Thank you so much! It was truly a labor of love. I first dreamed of this album when I was about 13 so having finally done it at 39 and as a mother of 2 feels like I’ve climbed a musical mountain. The album is a reflection of myself in other women and particularly women in my family or close friends. I wanted it to be a celebration of my own journey as an artist, as a woman and as a human. This album all about love and connection to one’s self and to others.

It was made with Jack Bowman, who was the drummer, musical director and producer in this journey. We named it 222 after a lucky angel number that’s been with us since day 1 of us meeting and co-creating this album together. It shows up constantly and in the funniest of ways so it only felt fitting to name this beautiful collective creation “222.”

What was the process like putting it together?

We spent many long days and nights writing and recording over and over till everything felt and sounded just right. We had incredibly talented musicians come and record each part. I really wanted a very live and vintage sound and so Jack really made an effort to respect the recording details and sounds of the 60’s and 70’s to really keep a retro aesthetic while still using the advantages of modern studio technology to bring the album to 2024. One process I’ll will always giggle about when I hear the song “Home” is how we recorded all the choir vocals ourselves. We just sang in different voices around different parts of the room with ambiance mics and we got away with it! It really sounds like a choir! Plus we had a lot of fun…

What were your biggest influences when creating the album?

Every song on this album was influenced by a woman or women in my life, except one which I wrote for my kids. Women are so interconnected and share so many experiences and growth and change, just like myself as a woman and as an artist. The album cover is me looking through a three way mirror and the songs reflect that as well, each lyric is a reflection of them and myself, each song is multi-faceted and about the many facets of women. My children were integrated in the album because they were such a driving force in me becoming the woman and artist I am today and they inspire me daily.

How do you hope that the album inspires others or makes them feel?

I love that question Kieran. This is precisely what drove me to make this album and how I conceptualise my live shows – inspiring others and making them feel alive and good. I’m going to turn 40 this year, I’m a mother of two and I feel like I’m just getting started on a new magical journey. I want this album to serve as a testament that it’s never too late and that art and creativity and things that come from your soul don’t have expiration dates. I also want to inspire women to see that we don’t have expiration dates either. I’m not gonna lie, it hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to hustle and my family has had to be flexible but where there’s a will there’s a way. I believe that if you go forth with the best of intentions, the universe or god or people will rise to meet you and hold your hand along the way. I want this album to feel like soul food. I want people to hear themselves in the songs and for the melodies and lyrics to hold a space for them where they can feel free, authentic and fulfilled.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

I plan to continue doing live shows, that’s where the magic happens. I plan to continue creating more music, doing collaborations with others and I plan to keep going with my gut and my heart and see where those lead me!