Isabella Englert Autobiography
My name is Isabella Rose Englert. Some people call me Bella and fewer call me Izzy-which is a good thing. I’ve been playing piano since I was little and the class was called “Tiny Fingers.” The low left hand notes were lions, and the high right hand notes were mice. I started teaching myself how to play guitar in 8th grade. My friend Hannah leant me her guitar, and the first song I learned to play was Blackbird by the Beatles.
At first I was just playing covers I learned on youtube, and continued to learn classical piano with my Russian teacher Yelena. I got my first guitar for graduation from 8th grade. It is so beautiful. It has roses inlaid into the top. In 10th grade I asked my parents if I could go to the Rockland Country Day school because I heard they had a songwriting and contemporary music program. It was then that I first started writing my own songs. That same year I sent the firsts two songs I ever wrote to the Grammy Foundation to enter into their Grammy Camp competition. From over 1,000 submissions, 25 kids (6 of them songwriters) were chosen to participate in their Grammy Camp held at Rubber Track Recording Studios in Brooklyn, NY. And I was one of them! It was incredible. Life changing, in fact. I met many artists including Vince Gill, and we not only wrote and recorded songs, but we also made a music video of a song I co-wrote called “Three Claps.” Being around so many talented kids and working with industry professionals was a turning point for me because it was then that I knew for sure songwriting was what i wanted to do with my life. The following summer I spent two weeks at Berklee School of Music summer programs where I continued to work on my songwriting and performing skills. Last year, a father at my school named Greg Talenfeld heard me perform my original songs at our showcase event called “Blue Light Cafe,” and offered to help record my first EP at his recording studio, OK Records in Nyack, right near our house. Lucky me!! My guitar teacher Billy Rouse gave me some valuable pointers, and with some great local musicians helping out I’ve now got my My first EP, “Closer to Roses” which is now available for sale on iTunes and CD Baby (hint, hint). The title song “Closer to Roses” was written for my grandfather Jim. He was a champion Rosarian in Ohio, and he had hundreds of rose bushes in his back yard and won many, many competitions. Also, my grandmother’s name is Rose Marie, so its about her, too. He passed away last fall from cancer and I wrote “Closer to Roses” just before we went to see him in July to say goodbye for the last time.
This coming fall I will be attending the Univeristy of Miami’s Frost School of Music. There are very few Colleges/Universities in the country that have degrees in contemporary music, so the programs are extremely competitive. I got into Berklee School of Music and Miami but decided on Miami because only 17 students were admitted into the contemporary music program there. Plus, they have a huge outdoor swimming pool in the middle of the campus which isn’t too bad either! I won’t miss New York’s brutal winters for a couple of years.
So, a little bit about myself personally. I was born in LA and when I was two we moved to a cute, artsy suburb outside of Manhattan. I love our community so much. It has the Hudson River right by us, loads of parks, and I also love being so close to New York City. I have a sister named Piper who I adore. She is 4 years younger than me and recently became taller than me. 🙁 I am very close with my parents and will miss them a lot when I go off to college. I have a ton of first cousins which is so much fun and a fluffy adorable rescue puppy named Oliver. We had lots of other pets, but its kind of tough to cuddle with a rubber boa constrictor named Teddy Roosevelt. We finally decided to give a dog a try, and it was love at first sight.
One of my favorite artists is Ingrid Michelson. She inspires me to be true to myself and my music and not feel like I have to conform to what I think other people would want. Sometimes it is hard to be so personal in my songwriting, but my teacher Billy Rouses really helped me get over that and now my most personal songs are my best. In fact, “Enough to make me cry” was originally a private poem I wrote and Billy encouraged me to turn that into a song. This was the song I entered for this contest! After I made the top ten semi-finalists, I decided to enter “Two Steps Closer”. “Two Steps Closer” was a song I wrote in an R & B style. I wrote this to test myself because it’s not my typical style of writing and I am very proud of it and think it could be a great pop song.
Although my lyrics tend to be melancholy, I still try and keep light and humorous when I am on stage performing. I love to laugh and make people laugh and enjoy that opportunity when I am on stage performing.
My other interests are reading books, drawing, going to plays and concerts and camping. I’ve also enjoyed learning to cook, and got my first cookbook over the holidays. Every summer a bunch of my cousins and aunts and uncles canoe onto an island in the Adirondacks in upstate NY. We camp there for a week without any running water or electricity. It is very secluded and quiet. I love it and have loved it ever since I was a little girl. People often ask me if I get bored, but I absolutely do not. I love being with my extended family on an island where there is such beauty, silence and nature all around us. Although, once we are back home and I see a spider in my bedroom at night I still freak out, so I guess camping has not cured my fear of bugs.
Finally, I just want to say what an honor it is to get this far in your competition. I really hope you choose me as the winner because I take my songwriting very seriously and will work very hard during my week in Dallas and every week afterwards. I want there to be no doubts in your minds of your decision to choose me and I look forward to making you all and myself proud!