Whenever someone talks about music in the VTuber scene, certain stereotypes emerge: a cutesy voice, J-pop inspired rhythms, and more generally set to a more upbeat tone with feel-good lyrics. However, there's a rarity of VTubers who explore on other musical genres and show their passion for said genre to bring more unique musicality in the VTubing scene.
In the past, VTuber NewsDrop has put the spotlight to two creative and unique music-centric VTubers: metal VSinger Futakuchi Mana and electronic music VTuber/producer Synthion. In these interviews, we highlighted one thing: how both of these VTubers have shown their passion to have their music stand out from the rest.
For our latest 'Spotlight' feature, NewsDrop speaks with the crow VTuber Isaa, who just recently announced a redebut this June 3. A rising figure in the indie VTubing scene, Isaa is best described as a music artist whose subdued voice helps create more laidback yet melodic covers in the VTubing scene.
NewsDrop spoke with Isaa, also a first for the site to include a full-on audio interview, to learn more of her musical upbringings, her insights in producing music in the VTubing scene, and even learning an insightful reason of her VTuber lore.
The Genesis of Isaa's Music Journey
Long before Isaa debuted as a VTuber in December 2020, she has an extensive background in music, starting off with being a classically-trained singer, where she went to a school for singing as her fundamental. She also noted that aside from that, she was having years of private music training lessons as well.
Interestingly, her music education background started in the genre of jazz. And while she had a plan of pursuing it on higher education, she eventually dropped it.
"I actually thought about pursuing that kind of career, as [in] higher education, so going to college for music. But, I really don't like jazz, and that's the only kind of music that they will formally educate you in.
"You can't be educated in pop music; you can't be educated in [J-pop] music or [K-pop] music. And that wasn't working out with my interest, so I decided to do my own thing."
At this juncture, Isaa then started out her music career as an utaite, where she uploaded various song covers on YouTube dating back to 2016. As she slowly grew her music content, she decided that this was the best for her to pursue.
She even remarked that when she debuted on the utaite space, she started out when she was really young, with most of her friends were five or six years older than her. She even shared that she often would randomly add people on Skype to build her social community during her utaite days.
The First Entry into the Rabbit Hole
Isaa told NewsDrop that her first introduction into VTubers was right after graduating high school, she got introduced to Hololive's Inugami Korone by a friend. During that introduction, she was being convinced that aside from her typical music content, she can explore as a VTuber by also playing games on stream.
And while the proposition of being a VTuber sounds enticing, Isaa opened up her initial struggles of becoming one.
"To be candid with you, I was not very popular as an utaite—I was very, very small. I had like under a hundred or two hundred subscribers, and that was my only [active] social media. I think my Twitter [account] only had like around twenty followers.
"I kind of saw it as an opportunity to not only promote my music with my music, but also with my personality, and a little bit of charisma [and] a little bit of 'rizz'."
What is the Signature 'Isaa' Music?
There's a lot of VTubers who do their own take on various song covers. But NewsDrop asks: what is the signature characteristic among Isaa's various music releases? The crow VTuber explains:
"I think my voice in the VTubing scene is a little bit different, because I think a lot of people have a very pretty and sparkly soprano tone, and I'm definitely like an alto/mezzo soprano tone; so my voice is a little bit deeper, especially for a girl. And I think that's a bit uncommon in the space.
"Another thing that potentially sets me apart is how many genres I spread out into. Like, I just did a country cover [and] I don't think that's super common."
@isavtuber Replying to @Paladin I don’t sing country often but it is definitely fun! Before He Cheats - Cover by Isaa #vtuber #countrymusic #cover #coversong #anime #fyp #beforehecheats ♬ original sound - Isaa ✂️
Isaa also admits that while she knows that her voice has a lot of "power" to it, like a "strong" straightforward tone to it, she was initially self-conscious about it.
"Actually, when I started out as a VTuber, that's something that made me self-conscious because I didn't sound like anyone else.
"Everyone else is cute [...] but I always felt like my voice was a little bit too muddy to shine in the same way theirs did. And I think that it actually turned out one of my strongest suits [as] my voice is a little bit different."
On Giving Music Advice and Insights to Make a Track Standout
When Isaa is not releasing banger music releases or trying out Persona 5, she's busy doing music consultations. This stemmed from a tweet back in March this year after she was approached by many people to help them manage their song cover production.
🎙️FREE COVER CONSULTATION🎶— 𝖎𝖘𝖆𝖆 🐦⬛ (@isavtuber) March 11, 2023
Making covers is scary! I'm here to help!
Want to make a banging cover READ THIS!
• Follow me on Twitter (new followers welcome)
• Like & RT this tweet
• Drop the song you want to cover!
Ends March 26th!#Vtuber #VTuberAssets #Giveaway pic.twitter.com/WzP083mH0u
"I've also been approached by a lot of other VTubers that I maybe don't know personally. And I kind of saw an opening for this kind of lesson or service because I don't really have the time to walk everybody through this kind of skill.
"I would like to create free resources (music production)—that's something on my to-do list. I have some friends that I'm working with to try and create some free uh easily accessible resources on YouTube. But if people want the service of a one-on-one kind of lesson, I'm more than happy to offer it.
"I did offer a few free trials and they went super well, and I feel like I'm confident enough with running a session like that, so I'm actually offering it as a paid service now."
When asked about what qualities should a VTuber track, Isaa notes three key essential things: a voice that is fresh to listeners, great recording equipment used, and genuine passion for the track they are doing.
"I feel like you can really hear when a singer has a passion for what they're doing and they're able to convey that. Not only do they have that passion, [but they're also] able to convey it to the listener.
"And that is what really makes a cover special for me, because we're not the original recording artist, we're a secondary artist who wants to do a take on this. And I think that's really what makes a cover special is that somebody loved it enough to make their own version."
The 'Raindrop' Original and 'Shinunoga E-Wa' Cover
'Raindrop', an original track produced by Flanger Moose, was Isaa's first original song. According to her, she was actually approached by Flanger with the demo for this track. And while she didn't have much influence on the overall track, she was glad that she was able to perform this song as her first original.
"The lyrical direction of Raindrop is definitely like a bittersweet kind of feeling and I think if you like lo-fi you'll definitely like the track."
When asked what cover best defines her music, she says it was the cover of 'Shinunoga E-Wa', originally performed by Fujii Kaze.
"I just really love Fujii Kaze's music, and I thought I love this song [and thought] I'll give it my best shot. Funny enough, that's actually my best performing video on YouTube: it just passed a hundred thousand views, so I'm very very proud of that."
VTuber Lore and Redebut
Moving forward from the discussion of her musical prowess, we now turn to her general VTubing experience, as well as her upcoming debut on June 3. But we are curious: why, of all lores, choose the crow as the persona?
It led to a very interesting reason from Isaa, revolving around an initial choice of being a cat VTuber to her current living in an urban area.
"First of all, I actually wanted to be a cat, but I was always suggested by many other VTubers to not be the cat because there's just so many other cat [VTubers] and it's a little bit harder to stand out when you are similar to other people.
"But, another animal that I felt particularly connected with was the crow because I grew up in a very metropolitan area. We don't have squirrels but we have crows and there's a lot of them and every night at around 6:00 or 7:00PM, which is ironically when I go live, they fly in groups over my house to find somewhere else to stay for the night.
"And I was kind of trying to find a way to take a little bit of my personal life and put that into my VTubing persona, and that's kind of why I chose a crow—and they're also really loud."
Now, with the upcoming redebut on June 3, Isaa will be debuting a new model (which has been used lately for her TikTok videos), as well as her new original song, and a redebut karaoke concert. We ask her: what can fans expect from this?
"For the second original song, you can expect to hear a different theme entirely throughout the song. We wrote [it] about overcoming rejections, because everybody gets told 'no' in their lives, and I think the hallmark of a good content creator—just a persistent person—is being able to take that 'no' and continue with what you like to do, regardless of what other people think of it. So it's more of a triumphant and hopeful kind of theme with the lyrics, and I hope people will resonate with that.
"In terms of the concert, it's gonna be produced with some backing tracks: you'll hear some hits from my YouTube, some fan favorites and then some songs that I've never sung on stream before."
Advice for Aspiring Music-Centric VTubers
Amidst a sea of advice for aspiring music VTubers, Isaa stresses that VTuber artists must overcome the initial mental hurdle of doing content, be it music-related or not.
"I think the first thing that you need to overcome is the mental hurdle of uploading content, regardless of if that be music or otherwise, you can just do content. It doesn't have to be perfect: in fact, your first try will never be perfect [but] just upload it, get familiar with criticism [and] compliments."
To listen to the full conversation between NewsDrop and Isaa, check out the full interview below:
We thank Isaa for her valuable time for VTuber NewsDrop's first audio interview. She regularly streams on Twitch, and is also active on Twitter and recently TikTok. She most uploads her music releases on YouTube as well as on Spotify.