Second-year Speech and Language Therapy student, Isabelle Siaki, is a polymath. When she’s not busy with her studies, something which she genuinely enjoys due to the diverse range of people she interacts with on a daily basis, Isabelle occupies her time with all things creative. PDBY conducted an online interview with Isabelle to speak about her YouTube channel and her music.

Isabelle says her YouTube channel (isabellesiaki) was born out of curiosity (and a little bit of boredom) during a period in her life when “YouTubers were like gods”. She looks to social media platforms for ideas from fellow creators and takes direction from people who reach out to her, either personally or in a comment on a video. If all else fails, Isabelle relies on her own creativity and intuition by making videos that she would want to watch and that make her laugh. Isabelle’s YouTube channel is equal parts original songs with deeply personal lyrics and feel-good videos that are sure to bring a smile to your face (one of her latest videos shows Isabelle following a Bob Ross tutorial, using her own face as a canvas). While she is completely comfortable doing obscure things in her videos, there are some things Isabelle wouldn’t do – admitting that she’s “pretty embarrassed when it comes to public videos” and that she’s wary of doing anything for YouTube outside of her own house. For Isabelle, it’s never been about the numbers; she creates her content to make people laugh and because she genuinely loves to do so.

YouTubers were like gods

Isabelle’s videos give an inside look into the fun-loving and quirky person she is in real life while her music demonstrates how multi-dimensional she is as an artist. The same girl that makes viewers laugh is able to connect emotionally with listeners through her sweet voice and a musical style that is deeply personal. Each song is inspired by personal experience but relates to universal experiences such as love, loss, and confusion. Summed up in three words, Isabelle says her music is “sad, honest, and pretty”. She is always listening to new artists and music to prevent her own style from stagnating and always looking for ways to stretch her creative limits and break out of her comfort zone. Her biggest inspiration comes from fearless female artists, like Lorde and AURORA, who are raw and honest in their music and vocals. A standard question when interviewing a musician is “what’s one song you love that you wish you’d written?”, an artist’s answer to this question can tell a lot about their musical style and lyrical aspirations; Isabelle’s ‘one song’ is Even If It’s a Lie by Matt Maltese, which she says “hurts so good”.

Earlier this year, Isabelle’s EP For You became available on Apple Music and Spotify. The six songs which make up this EP are a strong start for establishing Isabelle’s sound – vulnerability and emotion grounded in gentle instrumentals. Her clear voice is backed by layers of harmonies, all of which emphasise her mature and clever lyrics. The light instrumentals and the lilt of her voice gives Isabelle’s music a Billie Eilish-esque tone.

Each song is inspired by personal experience but relates to universal experiences such as love, loss, and confusion.

If she could recommend one of her songs to someone who has never heard her music before, it would be Fade Away (the closing track of the EP), which she describes as a melancholic, nostalgic ‘young love’ ballad. This song sounds like the closing of a chapter, like the post-mortem examination of a relationship gone wrong. The soft refrain of “I know I’ll never be strong enough, You’ll go forget for the both of usand other cleverly-crafted lyrics in this song, along with the gentle strumming and clarity of Isabelle’s voice, all make it easy to understand why she calls this song her personal favourite. The content of this EP would be right at home alongside artists like Lorde and Billie Eilish, the only difference is that this content is being made here on our shores. Isabelle reminds PDBY that the UP community can support artists like her by watching, listening, subscribing, and sharing.

Isabelle says she gets antsy when she’s not creating something and she loves challenging herself and learning new things; creativity makes her feel fulfilled and helps keep her balanced. The extra time afforded to her by the national lockdown has only enhanced her creativity, which she says is often hampered by the time constraints of varsity life. Isabelle has been making good use of the lockdown period to experiment in her creativity and make new music, which will be on its way to listeners soon.

For those wishing to embark on the same artistic journey Isabelle is on, her advice is simple: “Have fun with it! Remember: every like, every comment, every little part of your creative process is special”.

Image: Provided

KENDRA CONNOCK