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Ones To Watch: ISRA3L


ISRA3L is a 24-year-old R&B musician originating from the vibrant streets of South-East London, with roots stemming from Congo and Angola. As a rising star and one to watch in the R&B scene, ISRA3L captivates audiences with his dynamic performances and innovative approach to music-making.

SDS: Tell us a bit about yourself: who is ISRA3L?

ISRA3L: My name is ISRA3L and I am a 24-year-old R&B musician. I’m from Congo and Angola, and I was born and raised in South-East London.

I grew up as an extremely shy kid but music has really changed my life. Now that I’m older, I definitely see myself as a jack of all trades - someone who’s willing and excited to try new things and grow my creative skillset. So not only do I love to sing but I also dance, play instruments, DJ, write stories, you name it!

SDS: How long have you been singing for?

ISRA3L: It feels very cliché to say that “I’ve been singing my entire life” but I really have! 

I’d say the first professional step for me was joining my church choir from the age of 7, so it’s been about 17 years since I first picked up a microphone and started singing in public. But as a solo artist, it’s been about 5 years since I started going through the church kid-to-R&B star pipeline haha.

SDS: You dropped your debut mixtape last year, tell us about it?


ISRA3L: Yes! So, last year I released my first project called “SONDER (VOLUME ONE)” and it’s an Alt-R&B/Soul record about my personal philosophies on love and life, all from the POV of a black man from South London.

This tape is so special to me because I never imagined sharing these intimate stories about my life outside of my core network but, over the last few years, I’ve strived to be brave in everything I do, and I think this project is definitely a testament to that. From the writing to production to engineering, it felt like an impossible workload to complete but I wanted to bring sophistication and detail to my debut and, at the forefront, I just wanted to be vulnerable with anyone who would take the time to listen to my art.

It was definitely daunting as an independent artist to enter into this industry but I’m really grateful for everything that’s happened ever since the first moment I released this tape.

SDS: Can we expect to see more mixtapes this year, possibly an EP?

ISRA3L: Yess! I love the idea of world-building within my discography, so the SONDER era isn’t over just yet. I’m actually gearing up to release the deluxe edition of my tape in a few months, which I’m really excited about!! 

And in terms of releasing an EP, that’s definitely on my list and I really hope people enjoy what I’m preparing.

All I can really say is: stay tuned this year!!!

SDS: What is your favourite song that you have made so far, and why?

ISRA3L: It’s really hard to pick only one but I think, in this particular moment, my favourite song is 02:38.

I wrote 02:38 as a stream of consciousness during a late-night studio session about my fears of the future and struggles with my mental health. I was quite reluctant to release that song more so than any of my other tracks because it felt a bit too honest, a bit too real. But that honesty of thought is something that I’m so proud of because I never want to hold back whenever I compose music. Music is an art form and I have to respect the good, bad, and ugly that I might explore on an artistic level.

Also, I’m astounded at how well the song’s been received, especially considering I didn’t release it as a single. I will never forget: last year, I performed at a festival outside London and a couple people came up to me and were telling me how much they love the song! I’m still getting used to the idea of people actually knowing, let alone enjoying my music! So, it’s heartwarming that one of my deep cuts has resonated with so many different people, and I love that they're proudly carrying this song in the soundtracks of their lives.


SDS: You performed at Breaking Sound UK for your first performance of the year, how was it?

ISRA3L: I think it was one of the best performance I’ve done so far in my career. I’m all about one-upping myself every time I perform and that can, adversely, make me very self-critical but, after that show, I had almost no notes for myself! 

It was so exciting to have the headline slot, and I got to incorporate so many of the elements that make me who I am into my set, i.e., singing my ass off, spitting some bars, doing some complex dance routines, and honouring my R&B roots with meaningful cover songs!

SDS: We’ve seen that you’re a bit of a dancer from your socials haha, can we expect to see more moves throughout your performances this year?

ISRA3L: Yes, yes, yes!

I’ve always loved to dance, even before I discovered my passion for singing. My older brother is actually one of my biggest dance influences and, if not for his coaching, it would’ve taken me even longer to find the courage to combine the two elements in my performances. And I think that’s become a big staple in my artistry whenever people watch me live!

So it’s safe to say that I’m gonna keep dancing and I hope I can up the ante this year!

SDS: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

ISRA3L:This question is hilarious!

I’ll actually give you two answers: grapes and chips. Or anything made from a potato haha. But grapes have always been my go-to snack, and I love me an English breakfast.


SDS: If you could choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

ISRA3L: Tenacious. No matter how hard things get, I don’t give up. It’s like a superpower at this point.

SDS: What’s a music milestone that you want to reach within your career?

ISRA3L: I would love to win a big accolade like a BRIT award, and even an international award like a Grammy.

But I think the main milestone I’m looking forward to right now is performing on a big stage with thousands of people in attendance. I’m genuinely excited to see what that moment will look like once I get there because I’m already so proud of how hard I work on my performance skills and I wanna beat my personal best!

SDS: What can people expect from you going forward?

ISRA3L: As a music listener, I’ve always appreciated the art of a cohesive album/project, and I think that works better for me than singles because people can get to know me in ways in which I might struggle to express otherwise. So, people can definitely expect more detailed bodies of work from myself.

Plus more genre bending! As much as R&B and Gospel is like my home, I want people to always expect the unexpected from me; whether it’s in my studio recordings, collaborations, or live performances, I hope I can continue bringing something innovative and exciting to today’s musical landscape.

Pre save ISRA3L's new single"Illusions"out Friday 5th April 2024!

Listen to his mixtape "Sonder (Volume One) on Spotify and Apple Music now.

Follow him on Instagram & TikTok @_israelofficial


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