Photo: Diego Palomino
María Isabel is a name you need to know. Up until this point, the Queens artist had yet to release any music, but she was steadily been building a notable stir, performing shows in her native New York. And with the release of her debut single, those hushed murmurs are set to turn into palpable praise.
“The 1” is as lovely an introduction as they come. Coproduced by Jackson Plut and Jack Laboz, the lofi R&B offering is an unparalleled vibe, pairing subtle cinematic production with Isabel’s hypnotic vocal range. Gentle hints of rain and the spurt of a car engine set the scene for a sentimental recollection that will strike a familiar chord for far too many.
“Driving down the 1 / Sitting shotgun to my love / When I’m alone again / Back on my own again / I roll the memories in my head.” The lyrics float out like gently flowing prose, whisking up a vivid image of the overflowing joy and loneliness that comes hand-in-hand with a long-distance relationship. The result is an undeniably beautiful reflection accentuated by a tinge of underlying melancholy. Isabel spoke further on her debut single, sharing,
“This song is the first part of a bigger story on navigating a long distance relationship. It started off as a poem that later became the song that it is now. By definition, it’s never been easy but it’s always been worth it. For anyone else missing somebody, love doesn’t always mean ‘i’m staying,’ but it always means ‘i’m coming back.’ <3”
At times it becomes difficult to think of “The 1” as a debut single and not as the well-honed, meticulously-crafted work of a seasoned veteran. It is a testament to the timeless appeal of R&B and the innate promise of María Isabel.
Watch “The 1” video, directed by María Alvarez and shot by Peter Hou, below:
Listen to “The 1” below: