Latin Dancehall with Isa Marina: "Faith is the evidence of the unseen"
The artist from New York surprises with a new dancehall track that seeks to heal, inspire and empower. AL DÍA interviewed her about how she artistically experienced the pandemic.
An explosive mix of perreo, sisterhood, Latin flow and the spell of someone who knows she can conquer all dance floors.
"Down" is the single released today by Isa Marina, a Latin artist based in the Bronx who claims her Cuban roots on rhythms, which takes shape this time in a proposal of dancehall genre.
Vibrant beats and silky vocals for a track Isa co-wrote with African-American singer and dancer Chandra Rhyme.
"I had to write a song for all the girls in the world," shared the artist along with the release of the song. Feminine power that unfolds in her discography and is concretized in the song in the celebration of the female body, sisterhood and the empowerment of desire.
She also demonstrates that she moves very comfortably in electronic pop genres that are not afraid to bring her voice to the forefront. In her EP called Montage her voice works as the main anthem despite the powerful bases that by themselves would already be great tracks, a strategy replicated again in this single that shows her vocal power.
Her music is rich in cultural roots and impressive vocal ability so it is no surprise that she has often been compared to Selena Quintanilla or Mariah Carey.
In fact, she is the granddaughter of famed Cuban vocalist and actress Isaura Mendoza, something that is evidenced by her Afro-Cuban and Dominican heritage.
Her trajectory has been impressive. At the age of nine she began investigating instruments and textures, at 14 she joined The Marianela Shanchez School of Music in the Dominican Republic and she has been trained as a soprano.
Isa later returned to New York, where she was born, to continue her rich musical career: "It has been a very long, uncertain, and difficult journey, but yet and still a very rewarding, character building, and enlightening one. It has not been linear at all - a true winding road, but my love for music and my warrior spirit haven't allowed me to give up."
She added: "I've also been blessed with a small, yet key support system that constantly reminds me to keep going no matter what. "Faith is the evidence of the unseen": that has been a primordial mantra throughout my journey that has filled me with perennial hope, despite the obstacles I've encountered."
In addition to performing for MTV she already has three albums behind her in this short span, all produced by herself — Montage (2013), Mirrors, Vol. 1 (2016) and True Colors (2019). Being so prolific and now returning we wanted to also ask her how she experienced artistically this pandemic:
"At first, I was literally on artistic autopilot. Constantly rehearsing solo, taking virtual voice lessons, attending virtual music business seminars — you name it! These are all things that I would normally do, but I was taking it to the point of overkill. I released two singles and multiple videos, and eventually I burned out severely. I put myself under unnecessary and imaginary pressure to constantly be "in front" of people so that I wouldn't "fade away". Though those efforts showed me how much I was truly capable of achieving totally solo, it also showed me that I was unnecessarily running myself into the ground. I needed to actually pause and reflect: why do I love music? Why do I do what I do?"
Luckily she had the answers:
"I had to take it back to basics and build a better relationship between myself as a person and my art, in combination with the business aspect of my art. I feel like many artists, and people in general, felt this way during lockdown: that somehow not being productive 24/7 made you some sort of "failure". When in reality, we were all navigating historic, life-changing events worldwide. Once I reflected and realized that me "pausing" didn't mean my art would "fade away" or that I was less of an artist, so much anxiety was removed from my life, and it made it so much easier to balance out my needs as an artist, and most importantly as a person."
She is currently still working on new music but for the time being he leaves us with this little sisterly musical bomb called "Down."