In the latest of our series looking at rock’s hottest artists we feature Frontiers’ fabulous Issa.
The Norwegian burst onto the melodic rock scene with here debut Sign Of Angels last year and we’re tipping her for big things in 2011.
HOT METAL will be back soon – featuring pint-sized pocket rocket Marya Roxx! For now enjoy another rushonrock exclusive.
rushonrock: Were you born to rock or are you a late developer when it comes to big choruses and even bigger riffs?
Issa: Through the years I’ve sang just about everything. When I was about 22 I started experimenting a bit more, especially on stage. I vividly remember hearing TNT’s 10,000 Lovers (In One) and that was the turning point for me as far as rock music was concerned. I loved the energy and the rhythm and I suppose I fell in love with rock and the possibilities it offered me as a singer on stage. I’d always listened to and performed every kind of music but I suddenly found myself hooked on the energy of rock.
rushonrock: Were you musical growing up?
Issa: As a child I was actually paid to shut up! I used to sing along to radio shows and I even used to start singing on the balcony at home as people got off the bus. I played the guitar and the flute as a kid and I’ve just been surrounded by music all of my life. My mum always said I’d be a singer or some kind of performer when I was older.
rushonrock: Have you always had the backing of your family?
Issa: I have always had incredible support from my family where my music is concerned. But I don’t think they ever expected me to go this far. I think they often thought it was just something I was into at the time because I was young – I was always in choirs and things like that but nobody could really imagine where I’d end up. My mum’s always been so supportive and she always comes to my concerts now but I don’t have any particular family members who I have inherited my love for music from. That’s the strange thing.
rushonrock: Are you happy with the way your Sign Of Angels debut sounds?
Issa: This is my first album and I’ve already learnt a lot about myself. I think I’m only just realising now how hard it is to make an album. I’m very pleased with the reviews I’ve had but I know it’s not perfect. It’s just the start for me and there’s a lot more to come. In the future people will see that I’ve got a lot more to give but this was an important record for me to make and to get out there. I can’t wait to start on the next record and it will be happening this year.
rushonrock: What about hitting the road?
Issa: As far as getting out there live is concerned it’s something I’m working very hard on. It’s always difficult as a solo artist. I don’t have a band and the musicians who played on the album are away doing their own things. We’re trying to put a band together and work out a schedule and some of the guys who featured on the record will play with me on tour. They want that to happen.
rushonrock: Who’s signed up so far?
Issa: Uli Kusch suffered a slight injury last year and was never going to be fit to play again until this year but he played drums on the album and wants to get out on the road with me. But I’m more of a live artist than a studio singer and I’ve always been at home on the stage. It’s where I belong. I’m on stage pretty much every weekend. I’ve always played with a lot of cover bands and I love it. That’s how I learnt my trade. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get up on stage with a lot of different people and I try to learn from all of them.
rushonrock: Do you feel as if you’ve missed out on a career as rock singer for the past decade?
Issa: I wouldn’t want to be where I am now eight years ago. Experience is a great thing and I’m ready for this stage of my career. I’ve just turned 27 and I couldn’t have done this properly as a teenager. It’s a tough business and you have to know your own mind. As a 17-year-old you don’t really know what you want or what’s best and you don’t seek advice from people who do know.
rushonrock: But are you making up for some lost time?
Issa: There’s a lot of exciting things going on right now and I’ve been writing a lot with the Martin brothers. The new songs have been inspired by stuff like classic Aerosmith, Heart and Robin Beck. I love te big female rock singers of the 80s and that’s the sound I’m aiming for with the next record. I want to be in that company but I know I have a long, long way to go.
rushonrock: It is any easier or more difficult being a pretty woman making her way in the rock world?
Issa: As a girl it’s even harder making it in the music business. Well, in some ways it’s harder. As strange as it sounds I do think it would be easier for a less pretty girl – people judge you on whether you look like this or you look like that. And if you have blonde hair you get judged because of that. People think that good looks are an obvious advantage but it’s not always that simple when you want to be judged on your ability as a musician.
rushonrock: How do you approach the issue of finding the right image?
Issa: One of the great things about facing this in my late 20s rather than as a teenager is that I do it with my eyes wide open. I make all the decisions about the image – I decide what to wear and what the photos should look like and I have to be comfortable before I go ahead with anything like that. Ten years ago I might have let other people influence me too much. Right now I have control and I let people see what I want them to see.
rushonrock: What they see is a very beautiful lady – is that what you want fans to see?
Issa: If you play rock music you should have the courage to be who you are. If you want to be sexy you should be sexy. I have an idea of the kind of strong image I want to convey. I don’t want to be some kind of gothic girl – I want to be strong but show off my feminine side too. I want to show that pretty girls can rock and I don’t think that’s wrong. I want to look good – looking good makes me feel happy and if I’m happy I’m a better performer.
rushonrock: If you hadn’t become a singer where would life have taken you?
Issa: I’d have loved to have been a stripper…only kidding! I always wanted to work with animals but I don’t have the right education. Music has always taken up so much of my life that there’s not really been room for anything else. If I had the education and the qualifications I’d love to work as a vet, or with a vet.