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Isabelle Fries in her Element: Singer, Songwriter, and Humanitarian

Inspired by the music of Amy Winehouse, Elton John, The Lumineers, and Maggie Rodgers, Isabelle Fries blends the modern with the classic. A recent graduate of USC has just released her fourth single, “All We Had,” a song about the people in life and the promise of always being there for them, no matter what.

Beyond the music, Isabelle is also the founder of the Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation. She has partnered with the Global Livingston Institute and traveled to Uganda to perform for their annual iKnow Concert Series, where they tested over 30,000 attendees for HIV. Isabelle and her foundation strive to teach the communities in Africa how to sustain their villages from within. She has performed on the iconic stages of the Avalon Hollywood and the Blue Bird Theater, to name a few.

You can hear her singing “Winter Days,” the title song from the Hallmark Channel movie “A Royal Winter.” Isabelle is currently recording with Grammy-winning producer Rob Chiarelli and the fantastic writing duo The Highfields in Los Angeles.

Now, more than ever, we are depending on our fondest memories to get us through these challenging few months. “Hello Christmas,” is the latest single from Isabelle Fries, and gives you a sneak peek into some of her favorite holiday memories. This feel-good, toe-tapping holiday song is sure to be a new favorite to add to your holiday playlist. “Holiday Christmas” is currently streaming on all platforms. 

When Isabelle had a moment to stop, she spoke4 with Gemma Magazine about her singing, future goals, and much more!

WHO inspired you to start singing? Did you have a mentor?

My dad and my mom introduced me to music of all kinds at a very young age, and they always encouraged me to sing no matter what. They gave me all the CDs I wanted, and I would blast them on my boombox as a kid. My parents most definitely inspired me to pursue music. I also had an incredible voice teacher when I was younger, who always pushed me to pursue my dreams.

Did you experience formal training? – Yes, I had a few voice coaches over the years. I participated in a ton of formal and classical training in high school, and I did like it, but I knew that that route was not for me. It did teach me a ton about music, and I wouldn’t trade that training for anything.

Your music has been described as a blend of modern and classic. How would you describe it? I have been asked this question many times, and I always struggle to answer it because I think I am still discovering what my music is and how I would describe it. I do believe that my music is modern and classic at the same time. I never wanted to be a pop singer but rather draw from my love of alternative and old music. So I think my style of music is still in the works.  

Is your family supportive of your career?  My family is beyond supportive of everything I do. They have accepted my goals and my dreams full heartedly and will support me regardless.

What musicians are you inspired by?  So many! All types of music give me some inspiration. Some of the leading artists who inspire me are The Lumineers, Lorde, Maggie Rodgers, Elton John, Billy Joel, Red Hot Chillie Peppers, James Bay, and many more.

What was it like recording “All We Had”? Also, What is the deeper meaning of the song?  It was very emotional but also so incredible. This song is truly something that every person who has ever felt love can relate to. It is about nostalgia, which I have ALL the time, and the longing to go back to the beginning of innocent love. It is also about being okay with letting go and knowing that you will always hold that feeling of love with you.

How did you enjoy your time at USC?  I loved it. The four years I spent at USC was genuinely remarkable, and they ultimately helped shape who I am today. I got to study everything I ever wanted and had a fantastic time doing it. It broadened my love of international relations and work abroad, which has lead me to where I am today.

Tell us a bit about Bulamu Raise Your Voice Foundation.  This foundation is truly not about me. It is about the incredible community of Kable and Lake Bunyonyi Uganda. This foundation gives this remarkable community and its people the means to carry out community-run projects that improve their way of life. The entire point of this foundation is to create sustainability within a community that is more than capable of maintaining it themselves.

What is up next for Isabelle Fries? You have a beautiful voice! – Right now, I am focusing on my career in education and, hopefully, education policy soon, and as for music, I want to pursue whatever comes to me! There are no main goals or end games right now, just embracing the music that I have and letting it lift me during such a difficult time.

If you were not singing, what do you think you would be doing? Well, singing is not my primary career, nor do I want it to be. It is a labor of love for me, and I sing for the sole purpose of loving it. I am focusing on my career outside of music and seeing where that takes me. Hopefully, one day I can blend my love of music and public sector work together.

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