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Meet Isa ‘Machine’ Summers

If you’ve heard of Florence + The Machine, then you’ve heard of Isa ‘Machine’ Summers. Often associated with the high-flying band, Isa is now taking the time to craft her own greatly anticipated debut album.

You’re probably wondering how Isa was set on the path of producing. Well, it all started with a bit of boredom in Hackney. “There was literally nothing to do in the evenings after school. Then, when I was 19, I was like “I don’t wanna watch the boys [produce music] anymore, I wanna do this,” Isa tells tmrw. And as luck would have it, she quickly found her calling. “I was working at a hip-hop radio station and I was like “I need to be a producer, I need to be a little white girl hip-hop producer and smash the shit out of it” and that was it.” It looks like a bit of good old feminist power was enough to drive her towards her career path.

Respect is a big deal to Isa. “I started from the ground up, because I wanted to be respected,” she tells us. The self-taught producer worked her way through vinyl samples and along came Cubase, a recording program. “It was the first time I realised you could see sound, which was like the most psychedelic thing ever,” she says. Learning from the environment around her was enough to kickstart her passion and set her on track for working with Florence Welch. Although her story is admirable, we ask why she threw herself in the deep end. “Story of my life,” she quips, “go hard or go home. Actually, go hard AND go home, and have a cup of tea.”

Isa has been on tour with Florence,  but she has mostly been working on her own project – a debut album. “It’s so exciting. I made a plan to do it at the beginning of last year and I cockily thought I’d have it done by now. But I haven’t,” she laughs. “After 10 years of smashing it with Flo, it’s really nice to get back in and work with all these amazing people. I can’t wait to share it with everyone!” From what she tells us, Isa’s debut is striving to be different. She firmly states the debut is definitely not a pop record, although some of it is really pop. “I don’t think anyone else is gonna make a record like this. When it’s finished it’s gonna be this awesome, weird world you can step into”. As our conversation unfolds, it’s clear there’s only so much she can say, but she does open up about what the untitled album holds, “I think half of it is gonna be like “fucking what? “She thinks like that?”. That’s basically what I want to do.”

Isa’s recently chalked up some impressive industry relationships. “I lived with Beyoncé and Jay-Z for a minute and worked on a writing camp with Beyoncé”, she tells us. “It was in this writing camp Beyoncé invited me to work with Chloe and Halle”, who are signed to Beyoncé’s label. These upcoming R&B artists worked with Isa to produce music in her studio. “They came with their Dad to my studio in LA and we just had a really good time. I went back into writing with them, in the middle of last year, and we wrote these three meaningful little kinds of a breath of fresh air songs and they love it!” she recalls. Fast forward a few months, Chloe x Halle featured Isa’s song on their record, which later got nominated for a Grammy, and they performed it on Jimmy Fallon (‘Down’). “It was an awesome little journey after, which is also super encouraging for my own record too. That was like an extra “aw, yeah!” like look how far a thought can go”

On a final note of inspiration, Isa offers some advice for tmrw readers. “Everything you ever wanted in your life is in your mind. Keep believing, whatever it is you wanna do, as long as you work at it and concentrate, you’ll do it. That’s what I think and I’m definitely living proof of that.”

It looks like 2019 holds big things for Isa Summers. Summers’ debut album is due to be released in 2019.

 

 

Words by Zoya Raza-Sheikh

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