María Isabel [@mariaisabelsev] is driving down ‘The 1’

María Isabel drops scenic visuals to her new single ‘The 1’.

‘The 1’ is the debut single and visual from New York’s María Isabel. Hailing from Queens, a region that is extremely prominent at the moment due to the highly popular NY Drill sound María offers something different. She is a soulful up and coming talent, but from this release, you would never know that it was her first single out. From the track itself to the visuals, the lo-fi R&B ballad has the polish of an artist well into their career cycle.

On ‘The 1’ María narrates a tale of a long distance love and the accompanying longing that it leaves when the couple are apart. It touches a topic in R&B that isn’t completely new, but is one that is sparsely navigated – and definitely not this well. Whether from personal experience or simply taking inspiration from the world, she perfectly captures what a modern day long distance relationship is like. Even down to the little details that add texture to the overall tale like:

“I will make time for the FaceTime,/ Cause you start your day while I end mine”

But it is those little details that make the story she’s weaving so easy to relate to and believable. It also does a good job of conveying the reality of the situation alongside the more typical romanticised tropes attached to that type of relationship.

Whilst an engaging narrative and great writing from María, it is her vocal performance that is really the standout on ‘The 1’. She delivers a performance that is unlike any debut I have heard in recent memory, it sounds extremely polished. She has real vocal range and displays this in her blend of softer less dominating vocals with some segments where she shows the power in her voice. If this is what her debut is like, we are in for a real treat as she develops her sound even further and displays more of what she can do.

Visuals were directed by María Alvarez with Peter Hou taking the lead as director of photography. The duo did the track justice and set María Isabel up with the best possible start visually. Their cinematography is spot on, even if it is often subtle. Their ability to translate the narrative through the videography is what makes the video so good even if it appears to be a pretty simple video. For example the juxtaposition of the shots of Isabel in the car with her lover with the shots of her alone in the car and outside around the car. It is a great video to accompany a great track.

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Hopefully ‘The 1’ is just the start of things to come from María Isabel and we’ll get plenty more from her in 2020 and beyond. She is an impressive talent and she has real potential to be a superstar globally as well as within the US.

You can stream ‘The 1’ here.

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