An Interview With: Isabel Dumaa

Recently, Saint Audio had the opportunity to interview Isabel Dumaa about her new single, “Quarter Life Crisis,” as well as her artistic process, her influences, and what we can expect from her in the future. Check out what she had to say below and be sure to listen to “Quarter Life Crisis” on your preferred streaming service.

What are your artistic influences?

I grew up listening to a lot of Emmylou Harris, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, Billie Holiday, and the Beatles. All of those artists have served as huge sources of inspiration for me, and I think have contributed a lot to the music I make. Growing up, I discovered Taylor Swift and have been hooked ever since. She has served as an incredible influence for me both as a writer and an artist. 

What was the inspiration behind “Quarter Life Crisis”?

I moved to LA when I was 18—fresh out of high school—and I found myself feeling completely and utterly lost. I think there is somewhat of a culture shock a lot of people experience after graduating school. For most people that’s around 22 after college, but for me it was at 18. I really had a long year of learning how to be an adult and who I was as an adult and an artist. I was exhausted and burnt out and realized I was spending time and energy on things that weren’t important to me simply because I felt like I had to. 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”!

What led to the imagery of the video for “Quarter Life Crisis”? In particular, how did you approach this melding of modern and vintage imagery?

Melding modern and vintage is my favorite thing to do not only for visuals, but in my music and even my clothing choices! I’m a big lover of anything vintage and I believe nostalgia is a really powerful feeling, so I like to play with it whenever I get the chance. “Quarter Life Crisis” though talks a lot about the experience of a young adult in today’s world, so I tried my best to blend the two. I still wanted it to be relatable in today’s world, while evoking the feeling of nostalgia of previous generations. 

What is your creative process? How do you go about building a song?

My creative process essentially is my sitting in my room with my guitar in hand or at the piano and just letting whatever I am thinking or feeling come out. I normally start a song with either some concept or lyric already in mind, or some guitar riff or progression I want to write to. Lyrics and melody tend to come simultaneously for me, and although I do love getting to write with others, I have found the songs I hold dearest are those that have come to life just by me sitting in my room alone and writing what I’m feeling.

How do you overcome writer’s block or struggles in the creative process?

As an artist it is both fantastic and frustrating when your job is also your art. I feel so blessed that I get to make music and do what I love for a career. But it is also difficult when you need to finish a song and the inspiration just isn’t there. I’ve gotten better at understanding there is no linear path to a creative process and allowing myself to be okay with taking a break when I’m really struggling with writer’s block. Sometimes all you need is to take a step back and gain a little perspective. 

How do you think your childhood in San Francisco has influenced your artistic aesthetic? And have you taken new inspiration from Los Angeles?

It is hard to pinpoint exactly how growing up in San Francisco has influenced me, but I can safely say I would be a very different person and artist if I had grown up anywhere else. I feel unbelievably lucky I got to grow up there. I was exposed to so many different kinds of people, music, food, art, cultures, etc., all of which have shaped me into the artist I am today. 

As far as LA, all the people and musicians I have met have had such a huge impact on me. LA is a whole new city, with a whole new set of people, lifestyles, even weather, so it has served as such a wonderful new surplus of inspiration for my writing. 

Do you have any advice for young people such as yourself that are interested in pursuing music?

Not to quote Nike but: Just do it. You will never know if you don’t try. It is a really challenging business, so you have to be prepared and aware of that. But if deep down in your heart you know you love music and want to pursue it, you’ve got to at least try! You owe that to yourself.

What do we have to look forward to from you in the coming months?

Lots of new music and some live shows! I have my next single coming out super soon and I’m working really hard to get my debut EP out by the end of the year. I have a few shows around California this summer but am hoping to do many, many more very soon!

Follow Isabel Dumaa on Spotify.

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