MusicRowPics: Kira Isabella

Kira Isabella

Kira Isabella

Kira Isabella, a petite Ottawa, Canada native with a big, expressive voice, isn’t afraid to grab the attention of U.S. Country radio listeners with her timely HitShop Records debut single.

The haunting, socially conscious “Quarterback” marks a daring first choice to send to radio. The song tackles the aftermath of a date rape in a small town, made public via the internet. The crime threatens the reputations of a “no name” freshman girl and the community’s high school senior football star. 

She always heard that a girl’s first time / Is a memory she’ll never forget / She found out the hard way about love / When she saw those pictures on the internet / Who are you going to blame / the star of the game or the no name girl from the freshman class?

The song’s writers, Rivers Rutherford, Bobby Hamrick and Marti Dodson, were inspired by recent events splashed across media headlines, including situations in Steubenville, Ohio, and Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.

“When I heard it, I immediately realized the subject resonated with people in my generation. It’s a reality that they deal with,” says Isabella. “I’ve had people write to me, thanking me for recording this song because they’ve gone through a very similar situation to what is depicted in the lyrics.”

Isabella may be a newcomer stateside, but she is no stranger to the spotlight. In 2009, she signed with Sony Music Canada and released the project Love Me Like That in 2012. Isabella has had several singles at Canadian Country radio, including the Top 20 hits “Songs About You” and “Blame It On Your Truck.” She earned the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)’s Rising Star Award in 2012; the next year was named the CCMA’s Female Artist of the Year. That same year, Isabella notched her first Juno Award nomination (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards) for Breakthrough Artist.

“I wanted to bring her on [to the label] when I was at Sony,” says HitShop Records founder Skip Bishop. “She’s such an engaging artist and a strong vocalist.” He made good on the intention by making Isabella one of his first signings at his new HitShop Records label in 2013. She is currently working on tracks for her upcoming debut U.S. project, which will be produced by Mark Liggett and Jerry Lane.

After previewing the single for MusicRow staff, she gave a brief acoustic performance, showcasing her powerful and controlled soprano during “Little White Church,” a tender ballad she co-penned with Jason Phelps, and the bluesy “A Little More Work,” a previous single from her Love Me Like That project.

Isabella has been in Nashville working with various songwriters, in addition to embarking on a recent radio tour to perform her music for radio programmers across the country.

For more information, visit kiraisabella.ca.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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