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This piece is part of the Algorhythms project: artists telling stories about music they discovered from humans. Because where we discover music is an important part of its impact, and not all music is discovered through an algorithm.

Lisabel on Gretchen Parlato

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Photo by Nikola Kovačević

Lisabel Biscaldi is a contemporary jazz and soul singer-songwriter based in London. She fell in love with music as a teenager after her family moved from Italy to the UK and enrolled her in piano classes, voice lessons, and choir. From there, she went on to study music at BIMM Institute, graduating in 2016 with a degree in music performance. Lisabel debuted her first single, “Green Jade,” two years later.

Six months ago, Lisabel released her debut album, A Work of Art, through Brother Sun Sister Moon Productions--the record label she and music producer Nikola Kovačević co-founded in 2018. Longtime friends, the pair collaborated on every aspect of Lisabel’s LP from songwriting to recording to mixing and mastering.

At its core, A Work of Art is a dedication to love, Lisabel explained in an interview with Muze. She wrote the album’s title track after falling in love with someone who “represented a pure and loving soul” and whom she “trusted and wanted to celebrate,” though the record is more preoccupied with the general experience of being in love than with one particular partner. “The most common theme is definitely love, but it’s not always represented in the most predictable way,” she added. “There are songs that talk about love but lead the listener to think they talk about something completely different!”

For her Algorhythm, Lisabel considers the importance of sharing music with friends and the influence fellow jazz artists have on her work.

I personally didn’t grow up in the playlist era as when I was starting to soak up music, Spotify wasn’t such a powerful platform as it is now. I remember being very excited when my singing teacher would recommend music to listen to and I think that when we discover music that we end up liking following a suggestion of a friend, we inevitably form a special bond with the person who gifted us such a beautiful experience.
This year I released my debut album A Work of Art, and most of the music that influenced my songwriting was recommended to me by people who I would have conversations with or that would simply send a link for me to check out.
One of the artists that has influenced my album a lot is Gretchen Parlato; she’s a jazz singer from the States who’s known for her tone, rhythmic knowledge and interpretation of re-arranged jazz standards. The album I love the most is called The Lost and Found, and the song I really spent hours studying and listening to is called “How We Love.” Back in 2014/2015 when I was working on my album, her music was on repeat and she really inspired me to write fusion/new jazz and soul. My song “Stars Dance” is dedicated to her!
Obviously, as an emerging act, I feel like it’s very useful that a platform like Spotify suggests music to its users, but I believe that the algorithm phenomenon is somehow killing the fun which music lovers have when exchanging opinions about music. In my opinion, a good balance between being open minded enough to give a chance to a new artist suggested by an algorithm is as important as being the person that spreads music by sharing it with friends and family!

Give Lisabel’s debut record a spin and listen to the full Algorhythms playlist here.

Want to discover new music the old-fashioned way? Grey Matter is the music community where music and people meet. Learn more and join the community here.