In a world that commodifies and demonises sexuality in equal measures, Brooklyn singer Ian Isiah proudly says: live your best sexed-up life.

On recent mixtape Shugga Sextape Vol. 1, his message reaches intense new heights. Through high-pitched Auto-Tune, grinding bass and hip-winding R&B croons, Isiah delivers lascivious, sex-positive jams. We spoke to him about the music that gets him going.

Ian Isiah interview

Albums that remind me of my first love

Destiny’s Child self-titled [Columbia, 1998] and Beyoncé, Dangerously In Love [Columbia, 2003]

Those two albums taught me how to distribute my emotions through sonnets. Hearing all the words they had to say about love really moved me. The words had such meaning, it was almost like I was singing the song myself.

Ian Isiah interview

An album that reminds me of New York

Lil’ Kim, Hardcore [Big Beat, 1996]

Forever and ever. Not just because I’m kind of old school, but because it reminds me of real New York. New York is considered so many different things now because it’s a portal for creativity. I still want to go back to the origins and say Lil’ Kim is what makes us New Yorkers who we are.

Ian Isiah Interview

An album from this year which resonated deeply with me

Empress Of, Us [Terrible, 2018]

The lyrics, the production, the love. I study music, so I can tell when something’s a fresh update. Her production skills are off the hook – it’s so cool to see a female producer, singer, a full project. She’s not a fragment – she’s a full story.

Ian Isiah interview

An album that changed my life

Brandy, Full Moon [Atlantic, 2002]

Full Moon by Brandy literally changed my life, musically and personally. She helped my mental growth. Her whole style and vibe of production was Christmas in my ears at all times. Brandy really changed my idea of what it meant to be a singer. Growing up singing in the church, you learn a lot of acrobatics, but when I started listening to Brandy, I noticed she was a singer that had tone. Tone is everything. You don’t have to do backflips in the gymnasium to get your tone.

Ian Isiah interview

A song that gets me turnt

T-Pain, I’m Sprung [Konvict, 2005]

This is so funny and it makes no sense, but right now, Stir Fry by Migos [Capitol, 2017]. That gets me together. Also, if I’m in the club and someone wants to do a throwback, any first-album T-Pain song gets me going. I’m Sprung [Konvict, 2005] gets me feeling nasty.

A song that spurred on my sexual awakening

Honestly, every single song I’ve ever heard. I know I might sound like a crazy, horny person, but I think the world is crazy and horny. I feel as though everything could be translated into something sexual; everything represents sex.

Shugga Sextape Vol. 1 is out now via UNO NYC


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