Singer-songwriter Issa Rodriguez Shares Tales of Hope Through Her Music

Aug 12, 2021 0 comments


Like novels and short stories and even poems, songs are a form of storytelling. They’re tales of love and heartbreak, of mundane experiences and life-altering events, of the stillness of life and the chaos of the mind. It’s a sensory experience too. You hear the music just as you feel the emotion behind each note and lyric.



Issa Rodriguez considers the music she writes as storytelling. From each word she writes down to each note that accompanies her words, the works of this singer-songwriter always have a tale to share and emotions waiting to be felt.

We caught up with Issa to get to know more about her and her music, especially the stories that have inspired her through the years.

The Beginning

It all started in fourth grade.

Ever since, Issa always had a passion for writing, may it be poems, essays, and even letters for her loved ones. It also happens that she loved music too. “When I realized that I could do both while having a platform to express myself, I fell in love with songwriting,” she says of the time she realized she wanted to be a singer-songwriter.

She started listening to Up Dharma Down, Ebe Dancel, Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, Brooke Fraser, to name a few, and currently counts them as influences to her music. But there’s one more source of inspiration that actually hits closer to home.



“One would definitely be my dad,” Issa replies when asked about her music influences. “I grew up watching their small band practice at home, and I would watch their videos since I was too young to go to bars then.”

The Sounds and the Tales

Issa describes her music as “a mix of pop, folk, and soul. Or whatever it is that I’m into while I write my music.”

“At the end of the day,” she adds. “I just really want my music to sound as raw and genuine as possible.”

She says she doesn’t follow a specific creative process when she writes. “Most of the time, I come up with a story or a concept, then the lyrics and the melody come together. Then I spend a lot of time revising my lyrics and melodies,” she explains. “I do spend a lot of time on my lyrics, though. I enjoy wordplays and I make sure that the lyrics are cohesive and easy to understand, but still very personal.”

It’s not a secret that she draws inspiration from personal experiences and that of her loved ones when writing music. But picking the most poignant she’s ever written about is easier said than done.



“This is a hard question to answer because I feel like all of my songs are very personal, but I would say that Stuck really hits hard,” she says. “I wrote that when I was thinking of giving up on music. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere and that I wasn’t good enough. So I told myself I’d write one last song, see where that takes me, and if it doesn’t work, then I’m done.”

What she thought might have been her swan song ended up being the exact opposite. It ended up being her third single and her first song to reach 100,000 listens on Spotify. “I guess that was my sign that I should continue,” Issa says of Stuck. “It’s a cycle that I go through almost every year. I think almost all artists have those moments, but I just remind myself that I don’t make music just for myself.”



But regardless of what the inspiration of each song is, Issa has one message she wants to give everyone through her music.

“Hope. Definitely hope,” she declares. “I know that most of my songs sound sad but if you read the lyrics, you would see that I always try to include a sense of hope, whether it’s in the form of a new beginning or just a realization. Hope doesn’t have to be big. It could be in the small things. And I know how powerful music is, and so I always try to come up with songs that I know I would want to live by.”

Her new EP



Her recently released EP, Ready, counts as Issa’s favorite release thus far. She finds it hard to pick just one favorite song from Ready and she likens it to choosing a favorite child. But if she really had to pick one, she would choose Ready or Habangbuhay.

“Habangbuhay is a very personal song. I cried while writing it, while recording, while listening to it for the first time, and while watching the music video for the first time,” she explains. “I guess it’s because it’s so raw. It was born out of anxiety of not being able to provide for my future family, but in the end, acknowledging that love can be simple and beautiful at the same time.”

As for Ready, it’s actually a song born out of a dream. “I was socially isolating myself, thinking that I could live through this pandemic on my own, and just cope the way I know how. Then I had a dream that Jesus was handing me a ladder from the top of a very big well,” narrates Issa. “I realize that I can get out of the situation I put myself in anytime, but I have to want it too. The song came naturally, and it’s still a reminder that God is always there, waiting until I’m ready.”

Moving Forward



Speaking of the ongoing pandemic, it actually had an impact on Issa’s music and creative process. “The first few months were tough: I couldn’t seem to come up with new songs, I had a lot of unfinished lyrics, and it was very frustrating,” she describes. “But I think as it stretched on, I have learned to find inspiration in the simplest things, and to find that balance of still coming up with music without forcing myself or pushing myself too hard. This pandemic definitely taught me to be kinder to myself when creating. It’s a new and unfamiliar situation for everyone, me included. I don’t have to have it all together.”

So what’s next for Issa Rodriguez? “I’m currently working on my next single with my band, and we’re planning future releases too, so surely, we’re coming up with new music,” she shares. “Hopefully, I could collaborate with my favorite artists in the future too.”

And to close this particular tale on her and her story, here’s what she has to say to aspiring artists out there: “The best way to start is to start. Be kind to yourself and take chances. Put yourself out there, and if you get to reach at least one person, then you’ve done your part. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s worth it.”




━━ Written By  Bella Javier
━━  Art By Metroscene Mag 


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