2020 – In the footsteps of Isha

December 7 2020

For the Belgian rap phenomenon, Isha (34), 2020 was not a year completely lost. Despite the undoubtedly most difficult and most challenging year for the entire music scene (and, by extension, the entire artistic world), the Belgian rap king has taken this ‘free’ time to regain focus and develop his creativity even more. A new album, a new studio… he just couldn’t and wouldn’t be beaten. Together with him, we look back on the past months.

The long-awaited album

We had been waiting for it since 2018, but the third and final part of his album “La vie augmente”, finally saw the light of day on February 7, 2020. But a few days later, Belgium and France announced the first lockdown. Every day, the cancellation of concerts was being confirmed. But in spite of that… Isha considered himself a lucky guy. In fact, he was able to show and distribute his work via the media and continue to promote his latest project!

“I heard and saw how many of my rap friends could not do anything… projects that flopped because of Corona. At least I could still present my project in Paris. So, yes, I considered myself a lucky guy.”

The hardest part was, of course, the cancellation of the festivals, ideal meeting opportunities for artists with their audience. Fortunately, Isha managed to give a sold-out concert at La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris, in between two waves.

Moreover, by not being dependent on distributors, the closure of the (record) stores was not a major disaster for him. Thanks to streaming, his new tracks could still reach his audience, in spite of the harsh conditions that many artists had to endure.

A lockdown well spent

Taking time… A lockdown can also turn out somewhat positive for a solo artist like Isha, that’s what he has proven! After being stuck for a long time and having to participate in the machine of studio work, promotion, clips, concerts, and so on, the first lockdown was finally a chance to rest and take the time to create!

“I had done more than a hundred concerts in 2 years’ time. I needed a break to regain some inspiration!

From this forced break, an idea arose. But it became more than just an idea, it became rather a total concept. Isha realized that recording studios did not forcefully have to go through the same crisis! On the contrary, artists need to vent their emotions in difficult times, so a studio was the ultimate anti-crisis weapon!

More than a studio – an art gallery for Belgian rap

This is how the idea sprouted in Isha’s mind to establish a freely accessible rap studio. A vibrant art gallery that was supposed to restore the glory of rap and rappers. Isha had a deep desire to destigmatise the genre. The hip-hop culture exists and is very much alive, and rappers are artists in themselves!

“We must be proud of ourselves! We fill entire concert halls, festival sites… so we deserve a studio to put our creativity into real creations!

The idea is also to offer a new generation of rappers an amiable place that radiates the right energy to create. “It’s just a matter of respect!” No more dark studios settled in grim basements. The rapper wants to offer a pleasant and freely accessible place for creation accessible to all artists in the rap world.

Isha rap belge 2020

A story of transmission from generation to generation

But the project does not stop there! Papa Shango – the open studio – also aims at getting the very youngest excited. Ensuring that younger generations establish an interest in music, as musicians, but also an interest in other, more technical aspects of music, such as the work of a sound engineer.

“It is a matter of ‘transmission’. Sometimes you just don’t have the right reflexes and resources as a young artist.”

As the ‘big brother’ of rap, the transmission to the younger generations is essential. Isha wants to offer them advice, artistic direction, while also making use of the connections forged by the previous generations.

Fundraising that exceeded all expectations

With the help of the platform Kiss Kiss Bank Bank, a fundraiser was organised to raise the budget that was necessary for the creation of the open studio.

“In just 36 hours’ time, we reached our goal! That was pure magic!

In the end, 17.500€ was collected, while the original target was to raise only 10.000€. A huge success, so the real deal could start and Isha could even afford some luxury in the studio, such as hiring an acoustician to improve the studio’s sound flow.

The studio is scheduled to open at the end of January 2021. Stay tuned via the PlayRight Facebook & Instagram pages!

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