Tell Me, says Mary Isaacs in original track
When Mary Isaacs began recording music in the early 1980s her releases were mainly cover songs. Over time, she learned that there was more to being original than meets the eye.
Isaacs has now composed Tell Me, her latest song, which is produced by Issachar Muzik. Interestingly, it is a follow-up to her rendition of Gregory Isaacs’ Tune In, another production by that Los Angeles-based company.
“Initially, I did a lot of cover songs. As my confidence, experience, and fan base grew I felt it was time to express another aspect of my creativity by writing my own lyrics and building my own legacy through my personal words and music that spoke from my heart and not someone else,” Isaacs told the Jamaica Observer.
She added: “It also offers me the financial benefit of copywriting my works, receiving royalties from my stage performances, airplay, record sales, and streaming.”
Working with the same producer to build familiarity for consistence in sound is also critical, Isaacs noted. She has found that in Lloyd Shaw, owner of Issachar Muzik, and singer-songwriter Sangie Davis, who has collaborated with her on several songs.
The Kingston-born Isaacs lived in the United States for many years. She launched her career there in 1982 with the original song, You And I, for Mudie’s Records, an institution in New York City.
Isaacs eventually cut well-received versions of Maxine Brown’s Oh No Not My Baby and So Good, So Right, originally done by Brenda Russell.
She spoke about her approach to songwriting.
“I am not a musician, so I usually receive a pre-recorded track from the executive producer, [then I] create/record a melody/composition of the work. In writing the song, I first do my best to come up with a catchy melody and record the melody on my phone,” Isaacs explained. “Then I write the lyrics of the song and, most importantly, create a repetitive and cohesive hook, one which I feel the audience will easily remember and gravitate to. Then I record the song.”
She lists Bob Marley, Burt Bacharach, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel among her favourite composers.