At the helm of any EP is a defining track, one that embodies the sound of the entire project. “How To Be A Woman” is that track for singer-songwriter Greta Isaac’s new EP “Pessimist”. Filled with emotional-yet-kooky lyrics, the song touches on topics of depth, but in a way that references back to the signer’s vibrant personality. Featuring sharp bursts of sound, electric vocals and fanfare-esque vibes, “How to Be a Woman” is a shining example of the punchy and exaggerated charm that laces the entirety of her EP.
“I think ‘HTBAW’ is a tiny snippet of a huge tornado of feelings and thoughts that I ruminate around pretty much constantly,” explains Isaac. “I’ve touched on the subject a couple of times in my songwriting and my images but I really just wanted to try and embody that brash, bratty, ‘gross’ glorious femininity in a song. That song’s the biggest eff off to the people or structures in my life that have told me I needed to change my face or dress a certain way or smile or whatever.”
While this new music drop is putting Isaac firmly on the musical map, this is not the singer’s first successful offering. From gracing the BBC Radio 1 airwaves to landing a spot on the prestigious Big Weekend 2021 lineup, Isaac has been making her musical presence known for a while now – and, very successfully, we might add. With both the “Pessimist” EP and “How To Be A Woman” streaming now, it is clear that her accolades and success are only set to skyrocket.
Hey Greta, how has this past year been for you? What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself?
What the heck is up! This past year has truly been life-changing in so many ways, and I’m sure for many others too. I was lucky enough to feel generally quite safe during the pandemic and tried to make the most of the abundance of time and space that I’d quickly acquired. I really began figuring out my position in the world and what I actually needed and wanted from my life.
You’re originally from Wales, do you think growing up here impacted your sound?
We have this thing in Wales called The Eisteddfod, which is a Welsh language sort of national arts competition. I think competing in that and singing in various choirs definitely celebrated the craft of music and intricacies of culture and history through song – especially hymns, harmonies and folk music. My family are musical too so I was pretty much surrounded by music straight from the womb. I think I still carry that with me in my songwriting – I love writing melodies that really make you want to sing along with your heart and soul. I think you can hear the same at a Welsh rugby game.
What is your earliest memory of music? What made you want to make it into a career?
I started singing at the age of 5. My parents would get me to stand on our big wooden in the kitchen and perform Welsh hymns as if I were in a male voice choir. I’d usually be dressed in woollen tights and a ruffled tutu and sang so hard once I got a nosebleed lol. I think the performance element of music is a huge part of why I do it, alongside the visual aspect of film and stills. I love collaborating with people to birth something new into the world that might inspire and connect with other people. Teamwork makes me emotional as most of my friends would know.
Congratulations on your EP and new single, take us through the EP, what was your mindset going into the project?
Thank you! So I started writing it about two years ago now with Matt Zara and Martin Luke Brown. Both insane songwriters and producers and dear dear people in my life. I got Mark Elliot and Phil Cook in along the way to sprinkle some love on the EP too. I was excited to start it to be honest – new bodies of work allow me to check in with myself and figure out at what stage I’m at in my life.
What song means the most to you on the project and why?
Probably “FU” and “Like Me”. They both feel like quite integral parts of my growth over the past couple of years. They’re like bookmarks in my life – folded corners of a very unpredictable book haha. “Like Me” feels like a point in my life where I realised why I was doing music and tbh I figured out it was just cause I was a massive people-pleaser with a huge need to be validated but I think the song says that in many ways – lyrically and sonically. “FU” kind of mirrors that in the same way. It’s very childlike and was a chance for me to process some stuff that happened in a very vulnerable and honest way. I can try and understand and philosophy why bad things happen usually but I think that song gave me the chance to say to myself “yeah that shouldn’t have happened that’s shit.”
It has been in the making for quite some time, why did you choose to take your time with it?
I just wanted it to be right. The pace of my life changed so drastically, especially during the pandemic, that I learnt that I actually worked best when I allowed myself the time and space to create with zero pressure. I found I was actually making what I actually wanted to make, not a rushed diluted version of that.
What do you want people to take away from the project?
Well, I think I’ve come to terms with knowing that I can’t control how people listen to the music or whether they like it or not. It just is what it is. But I hope people can see themselves in these songs in some way and that they want to dance and sing along and feel alive listening to it.