Ian Isiah is my name, 26 is my game and Brooklyn is where I am here to stay.
FF - Five years ago what were you doing?
II - Five years ago I was singing and starting a career in something that I didn't think I'd be starting a career in… being an ambassador / creative team member for designing stuff with Shayne from Hood By Air. I never went to school for art or fashion so it was cool growing up with Shayne and watching him really, really do his thing and it pushed me to learn that process. And him being my best friend for all these years we kind of think alike so

it was just easy to create ideas, it was easy talking to him about concepts. And the results of all those concepts were crazy

so something is going right for all of these things to go how it's going. And it's just a great experience, it's basically like I'm learning without paying for it. So it's a blessing.

FF - You're learning from life?
II - I am actually learning from life. So five years ago I quit my job working in retail, at a retail store which is where I met most of my friends that I still know today because they're all still around… but anyway I quit my job and took control of myself and took control of my passion and decided to go out and start doing what I wanted to do, which is singing and writing.

FF - How did your musical interests begin? In choir right?
II - It started in the choir! Brooklyn, New York… two, three years old, I'm in the kitchen… actually it may have started in the kitchen! I wanted to be a drummer first, I'm three years old, I'm in the kitchen, I'm making a drum set out of pots. I was learning the theory of music really young because

by five years old I'm singing in the choir and playing the organ so I developed this thing for music when I was really young.

By junior high school it couldn't get away from me at all, I went to private school where I didn't do anything but sing and play basketball a little bit, from like kindergarten to eighth grade… still singing, creating glee clubs just so I can sing with other people, a bunch of gospel music, R&B music all at the same time. I feel like I listened to that whole thing come together because obviously gospel music is an influence for every genre but in the 90s there was some sort of weird connection where it got even deeper and you really couldn't tell the difference and it was also during the age that I was growing up. Then, in Brooklyn at that time dancehall went insane… dancehall changed the game, it changed life for me, for fashion, style, music, attitude… dancehall basically changed my life in high school. So I started dancing and within me dancing I got a little comfortable with being flamboyant in public, around my normal people, being myself. I met a few people who helped me get started or just helped me realize that it's time and I have to put something out. Not that I wasn't ready and didn't want to do it, I just didn't want to rush anything. So I waited and met a few people I felt confident in as far as producing and co-producing and I made a mixtape called 'Love Champion' last year, which was great.

FF - What was your first project 'Love Champion' about?
II - It's about… the new generation needs to not only be lost in the hook and the lyric, they need to also be lost in the affection of the music, the chord progression and how that intertwines and fucks each other to create a beautiful track. That was kind of the inspiration for the video 'Mind Fuck' because the whole video I'm basically fucking Boy Child, who is an amazing person and amazing performance artist herself.

But basically we fucked the whole video, it was like a soft porn that was immediately taken off of YouTube, because they couldn't handle it.

When I put it out I hosted it on YouTube and YouTube was like get the fuck out of here, basically… I don't know what both of you are, I can't tell if you're a girl, I can't tell if she's a girl, I can't tell if you're a boy, I can't tell if he's a boy… basically being like this is too much for YouTube. So Vimeo tweeted me and was like this video is awesome, everyone check it out. So I put it on Vimeo, I felt like I kinda started a war between YouTube and Vimeo!

FF - Good! As you should! Stir it up…

II - Yeah! The response was really good, a lot of people enjoyed that video and from that I started doing the 'Love Champion' mixtape, which is the first mixtape I actually put out into the world. It's full of a bunch of love songs with a futuristic touch to it. There's a lot of auto tune… because I'm used to singing live, I wasn't used to doing so much studio time and when I saw all this fun auto tune equipment I was like this is fab! It's fun to use auto tune when you can actually sing, because it's actually an instrument.

FF - Tell us about your writing process.
II - I learned to respect that I was also a writer, I learned that if it's corny it's only because I said it was corny. And once I learned to do that is when I actually started writing things down, keeping them and nurturing that. It's a process… I'm still trying to learn how to write better. My process for writing, honestly right now is just like if I have an idea instead of me writing it down I tweet it and if somebody likes it then someone likes that lyric.

FF - Any upcoming projects?
II - I've been writing a lot and working on some brand new music, working with brand new people. I put 'Love Champion' out with Uno Records and I'm now working with new people as well as Uno Records. I'm really excited about it…

there's no titles to anything right now but it's really beautiful music.

I have so many songs already… I have like 50 songs in iTunes already done and recorded, which can possibly be sold, I'm in that process too of learning how to sell my songs and working with other artists and writing for them and stuff like that, it's going quite well.

FF - If your life was a movie what would be on its soundtrack?
II - If my life was a movie I don't know if it'd be a soundtrack, it'd actually be a link to like a 48 hour Spotify situation where you're able to have like twenty playlists that would involve my whole life. Playlist's full of like Brandy 'Full Moon', Beyonce… all of them!, Jasmine Sullivan, Ella Fitzgerald… these are my people I listen to daily. Uh… Jodeci, John Legend, so many people I can't even name… I would just have a playlist of everything I cried to, smoked to, fucked to, laughed to. And Sizzla Kalonji! Everything!

FF - What are the qualities of a life well lived?
II - (1) Love for yourself. (2) Understanding that the answer to a relationship equation is 50% on both parties. And (3) accepting learning, accepting failing, accepting obstacles.

FF - What is your message?
II - The message is to activate, that's my message that I believe in. Like you talk a lot of game bro… but it's not going to come to pass unless you activate it. I understand activating might be hard, it's a process, but you have to… I think that's my message to the youth. Also, nothing is new under the sun, everything that we're doing now has been done before on different terms, you can modify or update something but honestly the sun did not change… it goes up, it comes down, people die, people were born and the mind just elevates, it's about elevating your mind.

Nothing is new under the sun, we're all creative people but it's about the force that you put behind your creativity and how you activate it that is going to make it different from someone else who might have that same talent or same gift that you have and have done nothing with it.

You don't want to be that person, you want to be the person that activates that. And then you'll reap the harvest and the benefit of that. All these great, creative people that I appreciate and learned from, like McQueen and all these other great people that really can't handle it in their mind so they commit suicide… no! I'm not doing that. I do believe in destiny, I do believe in living it out, I do believe in reaping the harvest that I put in. It's your gift, respect your gift! And activate it! Boom! Once you activate that gift you lit! That's it!

you can listen to Ian here and follow him here.
as told to: Olivia Seally // video: Olivia Seally