Updated: May 12
With over 30 multi-Platinum, Grammy Award-winning artists to her credit, Patrice Isley is a 5-Octave Singer-Songwriter! The following are just some artists that have participated in the award, Andrae` Crouch, Jermaine Dupri, Israel Houghton, El DeBarge, Mikolas Joseph, Barry White, Philip Bailey, Coolio, Gladys Knight, and other notable artists.
As well as touring, she has worked in studios worldwide. Other appearances include TBN, ESPN, Soul Train, UK's Chocolate Radio, The Tonight Show, The Arsenio Hall Show, and The Grammys.
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from, and how did you get started in music? I am from Houston, Texas! I started singing at four years of age. I would “put on shows” in the living room every day. I would lay out my show clothes (at times!) and sing and dance. When my two sisters were old enough, I would dress them, give them ‘makeshift’ instruments, and have them perform with me!
When did your professional career begin, and how did it happen? My professional career started when I moved to Los Angeles, CA. I studied for a few years with David Lee Brewer in Houston, TX (vocal teacher of Beyonce` and the girls from age nine until Destiny Childs’s initial fame). I moved to LA, auditioned, and was booked after my 1st five days in town. I was in a group with the Broadway performer Jannie Jones and Nina Simone’s daughter (Lisa Simone).
What genre of music do you enjoy singing the most, and what genre would you like to try that you do not usually sing? I want "Soul Music." Okay, let me explain that one! I love singing songs that 'move the soul' regardless of their genre. I am blessed in that I perform R&B, Classic Rock, Soul Rock, Blues, Gospel, Latin (I sing in Spanish), Jazz, Neo-Soul, and on. Growing up, I was exposed to many genres and was gifted and trained to sing in different genres. You don't have to be in a box if you have the talent to perform multiple genres. Prince and Stevie Wonder are not in boxes. My main thing is the "heart" and intention to convey passion and to be a blessing to the people I serve with my voice. As far as a genre I don't usually sing but would like to try, that would be Reggae.
What does it take to succeed in this industry? Making it in the business requires preparation, persistence, and favor.
Throughout your career, who have you worked with? I have worked with over 30 multi-platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning Artists. A partial list includes Barry White, Philip Bailey, Gladys Knight, El Debarge, Jermaine Dupri, Coolio, Death Row Records, MC Hammer, Chante Moore, Ashford & Simpson, Glenn Jones, Andrae` Crouch, Marvin Winans, Israel Houghton and more.
As an independent artist, what is the best and worst part? The best part is the freedom to record what I like and release music when I want. I get to choose my team and outlets and have creative control. There are no presupposed limits. The earnings I receive are mine outside of any predetermined splits.
The worst part of being independent is doing everything on my own. Having a label behind me would provide more support, a larger team, marketing, sophisticated videos, and concert bookings. I could list many pieces it takes to produce, release, market, and promote a record. Having a major label would take a lot of pressure off and provide more exposure faster.
Have you ever released a song you thought would be a significant success but didn't do as well as expected? I released a song called "Better" during the pandemic. It is a fantastic song of hope. It was co-written and produced by a Billboard charted Producer, Erik Dennis. Legendary drummer for Marvin Gaye and many major Artists named Bugsy Wilcox played on the song. He even selected the track as one I should write to and record.
Focus groups responded well to it. I received personal testimonials of people playing it while in the hospital, sharing it with people recovering from various conditions, and people crying when they heard it. I knew of a gym class that would use the song as a 'cool down' to recenter after working out. The song still has wings and will take off. I just thought it would happen sooner.
Are you a full-time musician, or do you have a daytime job? Music is my full-time job. I do side jobs, at times, to supplement my income.
How important is it that your friends and family support your music by purchasing and downloading your single? How crucial is their support for the success of your career? My friends and family don't need to buy or download my music. I would love for them to download and purchase my music. However, more people stream music in our current musical climate. I may be wrong, and I am open.
People stream, share clips, watch YouTube, add songs to their playlists, and share their lists. That is the current music real estate. I would be happy to deposit money from downloads. However, the support of my family and friends has been very appreciated and even crucial at times. My husband, Myron Isely, encouraged me to "go on" at critical times in my career. Outside of him, I have had to develop a "resolve" to know that music is my call whether I have consistent support from friends and family. I have a few key folks that pray for me regularly, also.
In your opinion, are likes and dislikes on social media an accurate assessment of the artist's talent, worth, or ability? I think that likes and dislikes are subjective. Consider the post or content to direct future exposure or choices if something is heavily skewed. It doesn't validate an artist's true worth.
What do people who hear your music say about your vocal style, and What sets you apart from other vocalists? "Patrice's voice is erasing boundaries around music. If you can find a song stylist of the past ten years who mixes varying decades of music, captivating the listeners with her fluid and diverse interpretation, then…. A Star is Born…. Patrice Isely remains a consistent interpreter of songs, and her voice is outrageous, pure, and expressive." Bridgette Lewis, Editorial Director, Coffee Talk Jazz Radio "Voice of an angel…." Steve Edwards, previous producer 91.5 KUNV Radio, Las Vegas, "Most amazing voice I've ever heard…unparalleled vocals…." Charlie Bass, Host Vegas Talk Radio."
As far as what sets me apart from other vocalists, I have "something" in my voice, my tone that people find moving. My "journey," mixed with God's touch, makes me unique.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it? I tell people my music is "Soul Music." It is good and moving for your soul. I have a unique sound that sounds "familiar" in some way…relatable…fills you with hope, whether I am singing the Blues or the most beautiful Gospel Worship song.
Do you write and produce your music? Yes! Creating music/songs is my "happy place" on this planet! Being in the studio creating is my favorite thing!
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the music industry? I know you hear this all the time, but I would love for Artists to get paid more for their music…the streams…the views, and so on. They do receive pay, but the algorithm is way out there. It would help if you had tons of spins or views to receive a tiny portion of the value songs and music provide. I would also like to see concert tickets be more affordable for everyone.
In your opinion, what's the solution to illegal downloading? Unfortunately, I have become anesthetized to songs being downloaded.
What is your opinion about vinyl records, and do you think they will ever come back as strong as they were before? They are great. I know they have resurged in Europe. Young people use "flip phones" now, so nothing is impossible…. It would be cool if vinyl records came fully back.
How would you rate the current state of the music industry? I like that music is more accessible and that the field is open for people to have opportunities to get their music out (digital distribution). Dislike how specific genres are oversexualized. I miss some of the mystery in love songs, for example, versus all the lyrics being so overt. I also wish the audience over 45, for example, had more presence on the radio and digital music play. I know each generation has to make room for the rest. However, a vast audience still misses the "Love Songs, Dance Songs" we grew up with. Finally, I wish Artists would get fair pay from streaming companies and that live concerts were more accessible to everyone. Tickets are high for top Artists, for example.
In preparation for a new song release, how do you mentally prepare for public opinion (positive or negative)? I pray and make sure I release what God wants when He wants. That is my cover for responses received. If things are extremely positive, for example, I remain humble. The same people that clap today may throw stones tomorrow. I don't live in fear of that. I understand that we are human (while being spiritual beings).
Have you ever felt so discouraged in this business, for whatever reason, that you just wanted to throw in the towel? Yes. Thankfully, my husband encouraged me to keep going.
How many singles/albums do you have out presently, and what is your favorite album/song to date? I currently have two singles released: "Better" and "Patrice's Groove featuring Tom Schuman" of Spyro Gyra, on streaming platforms. I have songs recorded to release a complete album, but I am currently releasing singles for the time being.
My favorite song is the title track from my first album, "Just Believe In Love." It is a remake of the Dazz Band's song by the same name. That song kept me alive when I was young, during a dark time. As a tribute to life, I recorded it on my first album and named my album "Believe In Love."
Tell me about your latest album/ song and what was your inspiration behind it. Is it out now, and where can people buy it? My favorite song, to be released soon, is "Fly High." It is an autobiographical song that encourages people to "keep going" and to "fly high" over people or situations that try to keep you down or that could cause you to want to stop. It is a Soulful, groovy song with a recognizable sample in the hook! I even rap a little in it! Song has a solid/heavy bass soulful, danceable beat. I am looking forward to its release.
If you could speak to your fans from your heart and tell them one crucial thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be? Study the business of music.
What advice would you give to new artists entering the changing industry? Don't quit.
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