Isabelle Brown is an old soul trapped in the body of a fearless fourteen year-old; as inspired by the rich emotions of Nina Simone or the force-of-nature energy of Tina Turner as that blend of old-school R&B, jazz and hip-hop influences found in A Tribe Called Quest. Isabelle’s curious, contemporary twist on these classic sounds is explored playfully on her second track, ‘Hey Romeo’: written and recorded when she was aged just twelve (and bootlegging Eric B and Rakim), ‘Hey Romeo’ was effectively conceived as a fantasy about singing to someone in the crowd who has no idea of your existence (nor the fact the song is about them). The refreshing, immediately-infectious results suggest a songwriter and vocalist of incredible promise.
Isabelle Brown’s story thus far is not that of your typical, potentially-precocious teen star-in-waiting: hard graft, grit and vulnerability, those core values of true Soul music, underpin even her most powerhouse vocals. Born and raised in Brighton, she wrote her first love song at the age of seven (“which when you think back,” she says now, “is an absolute laugh, as I’d never even kissed a boy but thought I was the number one romance guru”). Brought up between two creative, unconventional households – her parents separated around the same time – Brown’s irrepressible voice slowly began to draw on experiences of her own. She has spent the last couple of years singing, writing, performing or recording every weekend or school-holiday, with a close-knit circle of friends, collaborators and family protecting her (largely from her own furious ambition to “get on with it”) every step of the way. A debut project, assimilating these early recordings, is expected early next year.
Balancing youthful, restless innocence with innate musical maturity, the strength of ‘Hey Romeo’ and ‘Pot Of Gold’ suggests Isabelle Brown is quite simply born to do it.