10 Questions With Isabel Dumaa on Her Latest Single "Quarter Life Crisis" [Premiere + Q&A]
Likely you are too young to remember the first time the Impala made your grandparents swoon racing through Topanga canyon, but everything about this California-based 19-year-old has that same classic sound and sonic momentum, especially for an artist who has now three singles out, the vibes are as strong as an offshore Catalina breeze. Wanting to know more about this fresh artist with a retro sound, we reached out to find out about her latest video, single, and a very memorable concert.
Ones To Watch: Who is Isabel Dumaa?
Isabel Dumaa: Honestly, I'm still figuring that out myself. On a superficial level, I’m a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from San Francisco. I was singing before I could talk, and my life has always been filled with music. If I’m not writing in my room, or in the studio recording, you can probably find me buying clothes I do not have the space for or hanging out with my dogs!
What is “Quarter Life Crisis” all about?
"Quarter Life Crisis "is a song about the undeniable and universal feelings of confusion, loneliness, and self-discovery that we all encounter in one way or another as we learn who we are as adults. I wrote it after moving to LA at 18 years old. I was feeling overwhelmed figuring out who I was, not only as a person but also as an artist. I was exhausted and realized that I was spending time and energy on things that weren’t important to me simply because I felt like I had to or everyone around me was. I think 18-24 is a really weird time for people because we are in this limbo period between childhood and adulthood, and there is a learning curve that I don’t hear acknowledged enough in the media. So that was the basis of the idea for “Quarter Life Crisis.”
Any collaborators on the track? Who produced it?
Yes! I got to work with the wonderful Drew Polovick from ‘Friday Pilots Club’ and songwriter Olivia “LIIV” Cargile. None of us had ever met so it's honestly a wonder that this song came to life so easily and quickly. All three of us sat down and just kinda started tinkering around with sounds and ideas. Drew came up with the guitar progression and then pretty quickly thereafter the lyrics just fell into place. Drew Polovick produced the track and then James Krausse did the engineering.
For the music video, you leaned into west coast Americana. How’d you settle on the styling?
I’ve lived in California my whole life so I’m a west coast girl to my core. For me personally, “Quarter Life Crisis” is partially about wanting to leave the stress of LA so I knew I wanted to show the other side of California. The one that I know and love and would love to escape to. I really wanted the video to capture the feeling you get when you leave the city and go out to the countryside. That breath of fresh air! Aesthetically, I am also a big fan of anything vintage so I knew that was an element I wanted to incorporate, and that ended up resulting in the rustic/Americana feel!
Who directed the video? How was that process for you?
Stephanie Silas directed the video. It was my first time ever shooting a video for one of my songs so I was super excited and nervous. I had an overall idea for the video that I pitched to Stephanie and she did a wonderful job of expanding upon it and bringing it to life! The shoot itself was somewhat hectic and quite the adventure though. We rented a 1960s Impala and the car broke down not one, not two, but 5 TIMES along the PCH and up the Topanga Canyon. I was super grateful though because everyone involved really just ran with the punches and made the best of it! Ended up getting some hilarious shots of us pushing the car off the road!
Can we expect more of this sound in the future, potentially on an upcoming album?
Yes! I am currently working on an EP that will have a few songs with a similar sound but also some more stripped-back and raw songs as well!
Besides this excellent song and video, what else should we be on the lookout for?
Besides new music on the way, I have a couple of showcase performances coming up! Writer's Block on June 6th and Uncut Gems on June 28th, both at Hotel Cafe in LA. Also, I’m always posting new music on social media and try to go live frequently as well! I have been consistently doing a TikTok LIVE series called “Spotlight” which has been a blast and a great way to reach new people!
What's inspiring you right now outside of music?
After all of this rain, California is more beautiful than ever. I’ve really been trying to go on as many hikes and walks as I can while it’s still green and all the flowers are in bloom! Nature is so replenishing and I will never cease to be amazed by it. It is an ever-growing source of inspiration for me and such a haven for me to clear my head and take a step back from everything.
Best concert you last attended?
Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday! Absolutely AMAZING!
Who are your Ones To Watch?
Oh my gosh! So many! Ella Jane, Samia, Jensen Mcrae, Peter Mcpoland, and Adam Melchor are all incredible writers and I just can't get enough of their music. I went to high school with Stephen Dawes and it has been incredible to watch him and his music grow! Christian Gates is a friend I made after moving to LA and is absolutely crushing it too.