University student Isa Lopez chases big dreams with R&B-pop fusion

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Juan Pablo Castiblanco

On a chilly Friday night, the basement of Ella Lounge, located in the Lower East Side vibrates with soul and life as performer and University student, Isa Lopez, warmed the audience with a combination of R&B and pop music that demonstrated passion, love, friendship and humanity within her EP titled Montage.

Lopez was the last performer of the night; however, she was anything but the least. While the crowd seemed to lethargically drag along, waiting for the next act to come up, Isa’s charismatic and bright personality created a shift in the mood of lounge just while doing sound checks, making a previously enervated audience cheer vigorously with excitement.

The act opened up with the song titled “Montage.” The first song demonstrated the singing ability that Lopez possesses, being capable of creating powerful moments of richness and soul while not crossing the fine line that would overdo it. Lopez follows up with “Rampage,” a song about the frustration created after a break up. These song focuses on the anger of a break up, but the music itself transitions through the many stages that the break up can have, starting with the first calm shock that shows almost denial of the end, suddenly switching to a rapid build of anger and irritation that leads to a soft downward emotional spiral created by the viscous and heaviness portrayed by the instrumentals, along with the rich low tones of the vocalist.

Her follow-up songs were performed acoustically with the keyboard, recreating a 1940’s lounge music feeling. These songs spoke about different things, such as friendship, and as Lopez put it “sappy love songs”; however, these were also the songs where Lopez’s voice shone brightly. The raspy and richness that her voice possesses a sound that can be described as the combination of Adele’s finesse with the emotion of Aaliyah.

Lopez closed the night with “808,” a nice transition from love songs to a fun and letting-go mood. The show overall was the best performance of the night as Isa’s incredible performance, formed with powerful vocals, raw emotions and amazing instrumentalists, had people wildly cheering through out the act.

Isa is a communications major at the University and will be graduating this upcoming spring. She started in musical theatre in Dominican Republic, where she was part of a conservatory, and then eventually was to be trained in opera, which can be demonstrated by her amazing vocal control onstage. However, “[She] eventually had to choose between doing opera or my own music,” and she decided to stick with the latter.

Multiple performers inspire Lopez, including legends such as Michael Jackson—whom she admittedly mentioned actively listening to everyday through out her adolescent years—Madonna, Aaliyah, Lola Flores and Selena; contemporary artists such as Rhianna, whom she admirers for being “honest about who she is, which is one of the most important things as a performer,” and even family role models, such as her grandmother, whom she saw performing while growing up.

She has interned for EMI records, where she was able to work with experienced publicists that have done work with famous artists such as Katy Perry and David Guetta. In July, Lopez participated in Faces in The Crowd, a showcase for unsigned artists in the R&B and hip-hop genres, where she became the R&B winner. She has also performed in other venues in the city, such as SOB, The Trash Bar and The Paper Box in Brooklyn.
As Lopez continues to work towards her career, her advice for people who are starting out is “To work hard for what you want. Have an honest inspiration for what you believe you have. You will have obstacles, but you just have to keep your faith. Work hard, believe, pursue and you will get!”