Jazz duo Richard Isen and Sarah Isen are bringing us a striking ballad, “Into the Blue,” paying homage to Janis Joplin. Into The Blue is a timeless and welcome ode to the hits that made the decades, with admirable, enjoyable vocals from Sarah Isen throughout and a clearly well-crafted array of arrangements from Richard Isen.
Richard Isen is a multi-talented artist who previously worked as a jazz cocktail lounge singer, television composer, musical theater experimenter, software engineer, & web pioneer. Richard Isen studied jazz piano as a teenager and credited Joni Mitchell, Bill Evans, Shirley Horn, Tom Waits, and Tori Amos as influences. He has released several recordings, including “Let It Fall,” “9 Songs,” and several original cast recordings of his musical theater work. He has an MFA in Musical Theater from NYU, has been nominated for an Emmy Award, and has received numerous awards and grants over the years.
The singer Sarah Isen in “Into the Blue” is the nephew of Richard Isen, who Richard Isen influences after recognizing her talent in singing from her childhood. Sarah Isen is a recent UCLA graduate who was accepted as a vocalist at Oakland Institution of The Arts, a charter school. She was a member of a number of Capella groups, including the award-winning Scatter Tones. In 2021, she was cast as Fox’s ALTER EGO avatar “St. Luna.” Sarah has a large Instagram following and has over 500,000 Spotify track listens with just two singles.
Into the Blue, as a project, is undoubtedly motivated by an emotional need to express specific ideas. This song’s composition offers simple yet beautiful melodies and ideas that grow more and more immersive as the journey progresses. It feels like a longer-than-average experience at nearly five minutes. Still, the benefit is that the various elements and layers have more time to weave something wonderful around you. Even the distant three notes that linger on the outskirts contribute to this – everything has been cleverly incorporated in order to gradually but steadily lull you into a state of calm and consideration.
The single is undeniably a grower, a fine song to begin with but a magnificent one by the time it reaches the end. The second half really allows the artistry of the moment to seize the wheel, enabling that alternative freedom to shine clearly. It’s definitely worth tuning in for.