Every voice carries and relays a story. Gianna Isabella learned this as a child in New Jersey. Upon discovering her impressive vocal range, she also developed a keen intuition, powerful presence, natural empathy, and songwriting eloquence. Gianna Isabella ascended to the Top 10 of American Idol, Season 15, while captivating an audience of millions around the world.
“I’ve gone through a lot in my life. I’ve dealt with bullying and tough situations. The story I want to tell is relatable. I came out on the better side of it and made it into something beautiful—music. My mom taught me you’re telling a story when you’re singing. If your voice cracks or you mess up a little and you’re feeling it, that’s okay. I learned it’s more important to tell a story and make people experience emotions rather than simply have a pretty voice.”
This particular lesson would be passed down through generations of musicians in her family. Her late grandfather Harvey Kaplan co-founded sixties pop sensation Spiral Starecase renowned for the hit “More Today Than Yesterday.” Meanwhile, her mother—a.k.a. Brenda K. Starr—rose to the forefront of the eighties freestyle movement with smash hits such as “I Still Believe” and “What You See Is What You Get.” Mom even brought a young Gianna on stage to sing during dozens of shows.
At the same time, the budding talent cultivated her own palette, drawing influence from jazz pillars such as Etta James, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles as well as powerhouse voices like Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, Ariana Grande, and Carrie Underwood. She cut her teeth by appearing in competitions around the state and developing her abilities in a high-pressure environment. This set the stage for a successful run on American Idol as she enchanted viewers everywhere. On the heels of the show, she focused on sharpening a signature style of her own rooted in an unbridled soul.
“The path I’m going in is to be 100% raw and truthful in my work. I’m never going to hide who I am or my thoughts. I want to be an open book. I channeled all of that in the music to be totally open.”
That’s exactly what she does on her 2020 single “Nights With You.” Over a soundscape of nocturnal piano and rich production, she paints a vivid picture within the lyrics, building towards a head-turning hook. “It’s about being cared for and having fun. You're able to be with the person you love or your friends and family members. We definitely wanted to get into that feeling of fun, carefree, young, and endless nights.”
With a debut EP on the way and more surprises in store, Gianna’s story has only just begun. “At the end of the day, I hope people will be reminded they’re not alone, when they listen to me. So many musicians have healed me. I want to be the musician who you can lean on.”
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