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Closer with Michael Issak

Interview by: Jenny Salazar | Photo by: Joshua @ Sound Collective LA | March 30, 2024

Dive deeper into the heartfelt melodies and soul-stirring lyrics of Michael Issak's latest EP, "Forever is a Scary Word," as we journey through the rich tapestry of his musical landscape. Released on January 12th, this six-track compilation is more than just a collection of songs: It's a testament to Issak's personal evolution and cultural heritage, intricately woven into each note and lyric.

Drawing from his Egyptian-American roots and Los Angeles upbringing, Issak masterfully blends folk and indie pop elements, inviting listeners to embark on a voyage through his life experiences. From the passionately beautiful melodies inspired by classical Arabic music to the raw vulnerability of his lyrics, each track offers a glimpse into Issak's past and present world. As the Arabic folk guitar sets the tone, Michael's powerful voice sings a touching message in his song “Backfired.” Reflecting on the consequences of a lie, he reminds us all to be honest and true to ourselves in all that we do.

The EP opens with "Hey Boy," a poignant letter to his younger self, setting the tone for the introspective journey ahead. There was relatability with how chaotic life can feel through so many periods, especially the era of youth. Whether it's past periods of how life can make you think or the current events it has you experience, Michael includes both sides. Throughout the EP, Issak grapples with themes of identity, love and the uncertainty of the future, echoing the universal struggles of coming of age in a rapidly changing world.

Issak delved into the inspiration behind the album title, revealing his fears and anxieties about the concept of forever. According to Issak, "Forever is a Scary Word" encapsulates the overwhelming uncertainty of the future and promises enduring love and connection. In an interview with HAZZE Media, Michael mentioned he has been heavily "reading about this concept called apeirophobia,” which is the fear of infinity and forever. “This idea summarized the anxiety I experienced as an adolescent on the brink of adulthood, unsure of what the future would hold," said Issak.

Issak's songwriting is deeply influenced by artists like Phoebe Bridgers, whose ability to capture complex emotions with simple yet profound lyrics has left a lasting impact on him. Through his music, Issak seeks to emulate Bridgers' authenticity and honesty, creating a space for listeners to find solace and understanding.

As Issak reflects on creating the”Forever is a Scary Word,” he acknowledges the transformative power of music in his own life. Each song served as a therapeutic outlet, helping him navigate the challenges of growing up and finding his place in the world. "[This EP] has viscerally shown me the power of music for healing and how important music was for my transition into adulthood," said Issak.

From the melodies to the intimate lyrics, "Forever is a Scary Word" is a testament to Michael Issak's artistry and ability to transcend cultural boundaries through the power of music. As listeners immerse themselves in his world, they'll find a sense of familiarity and connection that resonates long after the final chord fades away.


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