Ilse Shares Her Story, Concept For "Behind the Scenes"

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After the release of "Behind The Scenes," Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Ilse, has been gaining attention with her sleek smooth tone that has earned her much buzz around the music industry.

She has been working with some of the most well know producers in the industry to work on a project that she hopes will inspire human expression, stay true to their dreams and always be themselves.

Ilse gives Empty Lighthouse an exclusive look into her journey, the concept for "Behind The Scenes," her goals as and artist and her musical influences.

What was your life like before success?

I grew up in Ghent, Belgium, and moved to New York after studying Psychology. Music was calling me. I always have a melody in my head or a song idea, there is no way escaping it. Music runs through my veins. It's been a long and often dark and lonely journey, I hardly had any food and I had to sleep on a couch for years. I took on any music gig I could get: as a songwriter, background singer, reference singer, and just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they got worse: I got a vocal polyp, and, I couldn't afford the surgery.

It looked like that was the end; I had lost my voice. Within a week the doctor called that there was a new "test" laser treatment, and asked if I wanted to be part of that trial. I took the chance and 6 months later, after 3 treatments, and 3 months of vocal silence my voice was healed.

I started working as a songwriter with producer Chiba Antoine of GroovyMilesMusic (Gossip Girl, Games of Thrones).

Shortly after I met Violinist/Composer Juliette Jones (Florence + The Machine, Pharrell Williams, Aretha Franklin, Janelle Monae, J.Cole, Nicki Minaj) who introduced me to a dream team of producers and musicians.

How did you come up with the concept for "Behind the Scenes"?

"Behind the Scenes" comes out of the experience of living in New York City. In order to make it here, or just survive, people have to work and fight so hard to keep their heads above the water.

People are so driven and focused on their career that there seems no more time to connect with each other.

New Yorkers don't dare to show their vulnerable side, they keep up this tough surface and it can take years to build up trust, before someone lets somebody "behind the scenes".

"Behind the Scenes" is about a longing for a true connection and intimacy, where we can let go of the walls and share a deeply human experience.

What made you decide to move to New York?

In Belgium, where I grew up, the music scene was mostly Dance music.

I missed the "Soul" element and was really drawn to that. I started to do collaborations worldwide and in New York I found the people that really understood the sound I was going for.

How hard was it to make it in the industry?

Pretty much a mission impossible a lot has to do with who you know, and I didn't know anyone. It took years to find the right people to build a musical team/ the band and years to build a fan base. The industry is definitely playing hard to get and are scared to invest in anything that doesn't sound exactly like what's out there.

I'm very happy and feel so blessed to be surrounded by people that believe in art and are committed to bring music back. We want to bring music with a message, music to feel, music that is real.

What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

I have a few dreams I want to accomplish: one of them is to have soundtracks in movies. I love movies so much and a lot of my music is very cinematic. Sounds ad such a powerful effect to visuals. And then there's the dream of the "I Am Human" tour.

I can't wait for the album to be finished and share "the story" with people. A live performance creates such a beautiful experience and shows that music is not a one-way street. It is something that you share.

Who are some of your influences?

I got so many I grew up in a Rock & Roll environment. My dad was a bass player. I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin.

I got fascinated by Soul music and voices like Aretha Franklin. I remember being a huge Madonna fan. Today I love artists like Adele, James Blake, Lana Del Rey, Banks.

What kind of music do you listen to?

My iPod is filled with Pop as well as Indie music and golden '60s and '70s.

I love music of the future and music of the past. When it comes to music, I can't get no satisfaction ;) I am always looking for fresh new sounds or deep, nostalgic moods.

How do you hope to impact the life of your listeners?

I hope to connect people with themselves. I love all the upgrades in technology but it seems to come with a high price, where people are drifting further away from themselves and each other. With "I Am Human" I want people to feel again and always stay themselves. I want them to love themselves and not give up when there's a challenge on the way, to never give up and be proud of their efforts. It's not easy to be different, I grew up without a left arm and experienced bullying and uncomfortable stares but I learned to draw strength from within and nothing or nobody can stand in between that.

I see a lot of people being unhappy with themselves or caving in under the pressure of the media and beauty standards. I hope to break those suppressing patterns and I want to show them that beauty lies in the differences and uniqueness.

I've also started an "I Am Humane" movement, where we work on upgrades in humanity.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the world. If we come together we can get there, one step at a time.