The Reason I Rhyme: Alex Isley

In the latest episode of The Reason I Rhyme we meet Alex Isley. Does the name Isley ring a bell? It should, as this artist is a descendant of the famous Isley Brothers. Who's that lady? Let's find out, learn about her current projects and what she's looking forward to. Watch:
The Reason I Rhyme: Alex Isley


I'm Alex Isley, singer, song-writer, producer, artist. Growing up as an Isley was... I think in the moment, it was just very much the norm for me watching them on stage, watching them in the studio. There was always music in the house but my Dad played quite a bit of Isley Brothers but he also played a lot of Chicago, War, Ohio Players, The Spinners. I knew when I was five or six that I wanted to be a singer. I think I was five when I performed for the first time in front of an audience. I just knew I really liked that feeling of being on stage and I just, I knew that I wanted to do that as much as I could.


Going to UCLA, I still knew that I wanted to be a recording artist. I studied ethnomusicology, the study of world music. And so that was so much information covered in those four years. But I think what I gained from there aside from just studying that field, I just really found myself in college. That's where I rediscovered J Dilla. And while it wasn't essential for me in regards to, you know, I wasn't going to be an ethnomusicologist. It was essential for me just, being and thinking like a musician.


I just enjoy singing covers and other people's songs sometimes. And so I started taking suggestions, like what should I sing this week? And it just, I kept it going for a little bit. Oftentimes I am doing something that I know, but to really pick it apart and hear the parts, and really listen for stuff that I've never heard before. That's where the fun is, I think for me. I am just grateful for the reception that it gets and so, I'm just going to keep it going for you know, as long as I can.

Current projects:

Currently working on some more stuff with Jack Dine. We put out an EP in November 2019 and still working on more stuff with him now, and I have some stuff with Terrace Martin and 9th Wonder, too. Which that's like a full circle moment for me because I wanted to work with him in college. And here it is, so you know we have a collective of stuff that I would imagine we would be releasing soon hopefully so I'm excited.

Creativity during the pandemic:

During 2020 I just really made it a point to focus on my mental health. I think taking time for me, as a person, allowed me to just approach creating and that whole process just more genuinely and just allowed me to be more mindfully there. Creating when it was time for me to create. Of course, I want to be able to create in the same room with other artists and so, I haven't done a whole lot of that. But I'm hopeful that we're slowly, but surely like getting back to that a little bit more.

The reason she rhymes:

I rhyme because of the love that I have for what I do and what I've always wanted to do. There's nothing else I'd rather do for life. I'm just grateful to be able to do this for a living.


I want my legacy to be that, you know, I'm a firm believer in DIY. And you know, with my Mom's help I came to see that I can produce my own music. So I want to be an example of that. That it's possible to produce your own music, even if you're just you know, if you're starting from square zero. It can be a real thing.

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Last updated: 17 Jun 2021, 02:16 Etc/UTC