We caught up with the brooding newcomer, talking new single “Who” and her dreams for 2021.
I don’t know about you, but we think 2021 has been distinctly void of left-of-field pop tunes thus far (granted it has only been two weeks) – but thankfully newcomer Issey Cross is here to deliver the goods anyway. Nestling comfortably into the world of BENEE and 070 Shake, the emerging talent champions a bitingly sharp blend of RnB, hip-hop and 00’s pop, chewed up and spat right back out again in a formation of sonic greatness.
With flourishes of pessimism and reliability, today Cross releases her debut single on Cult Behaviour, introducing herself to the world as the queen of the heartbreak anthem. “Who” commands all those love lost souls to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and take heed of her prophetic lyrics. Her voice emerges on the track like a fresh blade on ice, cutting through dark, fragmented synths and syncopated drum beats before asking: “Who the fuck is this bitch? And how the fuck she know your name?”. We just got chills!
With the accompanying, neon-streaked video celebrating all the nearest and dearest in her life, Cross seems fully aware of her power, exuding an air of confidence that you can’t help but admire, the no-fucks-given popstar we all want to be when we grow up. We can only imagine where this year will take her, COVID-permitting anyway, so we decided to catch up with the star below, talking future dreams and the inspiration behind her dark sound. Take a look…
Hi Issey – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
I’ve been okay! I’m so happy to finally have released my first track – it’s been a long time coming. Being in and out of lockdown has been hard, but I’ve stayed busy writing and working on my production
How did growing up in Kent influence you sonically? Who were your musical heroes growing up?
We lived in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and I couldn’t drive, so I would spend most of my time inside on logic making music. When I was younger I used to be obsessed with Lorde, I think she is such an amazing writer and it would be my dream to collab with her one day. I grew up on Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Adele but moving to London at 18 and gravitating towards more hip hop and R&B has definitely influenced my style now.
How would you describe your genre?
I would describe my genre as pop structured with RnB and hip hop influences. Quite dark and moody with relatable lyrics.
Congratulations on your latest single “WHO” – it’s an empowering track calling out a partner on shady behaviour – where did you pull the inspiration from?
The song “who” was actually inspired by a story Ebeneezer (co-writer and producer) was telling me at the time about someone being cheated on in the past and how it made them feel. Straight away I thought it was such a sick concept to write about as so many people can relate to it – even though I have never experienced it myself I can imagine the pain and heartbreak of going through that.
And the music video is this vibrant fever dream showcasing all these powerful females – what did you want to convey with it?
As the song is quite in your face, I wanted the video to have a powerful feel. All the girls in the video are close friends of mine and my little sister is also in it too! Having the girls in the video helped bring the feeling of empowerment and sisterhood that I wanted to get across.
What’s the most unusual place you pull inspiration from?
Probably sitting by my window at my old flat in Tottenham! I moved to London on my own at 18 and was living by myself so evenings could feel a bit lonely sometimes. I used to sit looking out the window and have a drink feeling sorry for myself.I would go into the studio the next day and think back to how I felt the night before and write a song about it
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I’m hoping to release two EP’s by the end of the year and would love to start performing at festivals in the summer if coronavirus dies down a bit! I’m looking forward to going on tour when that’s possible, and hope that people like the music and support it. Other than that, lots of writing!