Renowned throughout his home continent for an infectious hybrid style he calls “African, smooth and divine,” the Ugandan-born multi-talented artist/composer is gearing up to release his highly anticipated full length debut album July 9. Testament to the great respect he has earned these past few years from the top artists on today’s contemporary jazz scene, Dance Again reflects Isaiah’s vast array of musical influences, from jazz and pop to Afropop and Latin music. The collection features tracks produced by two of urban jazz’s most acclaimed, sought after artist/producers, Darren Rahn and Adam Hawley. Rahn has scored over 25 #1 radio singles and multiple Grammy nominations working with genre greats like Nick Colionne, Julian Vaughn, Jonathan Fritzen, Dave Koz, Paul Brown, Eric Darius and Najee. Hawley is one of the genre’s hottest #1 Billboard charting guitarists.
Paving the way for the drop of the collection, Isaiah is releasing two new tracks – the funky, vibey and exotic title track, a co-write with Rahn which will impact radio May 17; and “Nsiima,” whose title translates to “gratitude” in the saxophonist’s native Ugandan, which will feature his longtime idol Dave Koz. “Even though it won’t be a radio single, ‘Nsiima’ is my way of expressing my gratitude not only to God bringing me this far, but also for the opportunity to work with Dave who has been a great impact on my journey as a musician and artist.”
These tracks follow two previous lead singles that have established Isaiah as a bona fide force in contemporary urban music these past few years. “Home Away,” another co-write with Rahn, was a powerful showcase for Isaiah’s lush, expressive soprano voice, with a cool, silky flow and soaring, horn textured hook. Released in June 2019, the track appeared on The Smooth Jazz Network Top 100 chart for several weeks and received airplay on thousands of smooth jazz stations and the influential SiriusXM channel Watercolors. Its title referred to the saxophonist’s drive to find a niche creating commercial instrumental music in America while staying true to his roots, which include numerous gospel flavored recordings in the early 2000s and later, starting with 2006’s Sinza, incorporating more African flavors into contemporary jazz.
In its theme and vibe, Isaiah’s follow-up single, the funky, infectious and brightly optimistic “Smile On” – which dropped in May 2020 – was the perfect song our collective moment in history. I was a grooving, free-flowing reminder that no matter what challenges life brings to us, those we love and even perfect strangers, we can always use our ability to smile as a resource for uplift and encouragement. In addition to major airplay on Watercolors, it was on the Most Added Tracks list on the Billboard airplay chart for three consecutive weeks. Isaiah also had the opportunity to perform a duet of “Smile On” with fellow saxman Michael Lington on one of Lington’s hugely popular weekly shows on the StageIt platform.
Rahn previously mixed the track “Pamojja” from This Is Me, Isaiah’s 2016 album that he recorded in Uganda. Though not heavily promoted in the U.S., it received widespread international radio airplay and was #1 for four weeks on California’s Smooth 97 The Oasis, aka “The Smooth Jazz Place,” based in Palm Springs.