ILSE knows first-hand what it means to hold on steadfast to her dreams. Born without her left arm, she overcame the odds and made her way to center stage, enchanting listeners with her voice and music and touching their innermost emotions. Drawing from childhood experiences in Belgium and her new life in New York City, ILSE sings about loss, courage, self-affirmation, attraction, romance, fear, and hope. Music has always been her biggest passion, it runs through her veins. ILSE’s musical roots originate in the music of her father, a former bass player. Initially, it was his love of rock music that inspired ILSE, but the sound and spirit of soul music pushed her to find her own unique musical path. On the way, ILSE quickly discovered her passion for bearing her soul before live audiences and this passion is what makes the stage ILSE’s new place to call home.
After majoring in Psychology, ILSE moved to New York to pursue her dream. ILSE struggled during her first years in New York City, slowly finding her footing despite poverty and rounds of rejection. She gained experience in regular performances at open-mics, where she has shared the stage with Lana Del Rey (formerly known as Lizzy Grant). ILSE’s commitment paid off one day when she was approached by Michael Douglas after a show in Manhattan’s Sugar Bar. Soon after, she had her first sold out show in the legendary Joe’s Pub, The Public Theatre, a venue from the “Best of New York” list (where artists such as Amy Winehouse, Elvis Costello, Adele, Lady Gaga and many others have played).
The I Am Human debut LP is a spectacular representation of Ilse’s winding journey: a woman-takes-on-world capsule odyssey and very much a small wonder – a transfixing amalgam of alchemic quality: feather-delicate yet diamond-hard; imbued with achingly vulnerable streaks still insists on tough-as-nails, self-worth configuration. The album offers a unique and multifaceted coverage of the human experience delivered in a fresh and bold sound: featuring both up-tempo hit singles boasting state-of-the-art production gadgetry alongside earth shattering timeless ballads with piano and strings. In between, this profound and non-compromising creation catches its breath with a poetic intermezzo and climates in an epic full size orchestra.
This fascinating fusion – bruised, throbbing human and feminine emotions delivered in a confident, almost swaggering sparkly lucid sounds and musical production – is well mastered by boldface names behind the consoles in the likes of Grammy-nominated Producer/Musician Joshua Valleau (John Legend, James Blake, BBC), Columbia Records, Sony UK Composer/Producer Sebastiaan Vandevoorde (Moonlight Matters, Arches, Villa; remixed artists such as Adele, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Moby), Violinist/Arranger/Composer Juliette Jones of Jules & The Dirty Collective (Florence + The Machine, Pharrell Williams, Aretha Franklin, Janelle Monae, J.Cole, Nicki Minaj) and even Grammy winning producer Ricky Key.
With full-page newspaper and exclusive magazine interviews, appearances on national radio stations and a growing presence on television and social media, ILSE is loudly and proudly making people pay attention. International press reviews make this absolutely clear:
Ilse Gevaert is a fighter and a winner
“The Lady is a Champ”
“After her studies in Ghent she started her journey into the wide world. After several dark years she succeeded, thanks to the ‘Ghent’s stubbornness’. Her newest song ‘I Am Human’ is a hit.”
“Singer-songwriter Ilse Gevaert could be about to create a musical earthquake not managed by a Belgian since her countryman Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1841. Her forthcoming album I Am Human could be the best biggest thing to have come out of Belgium after the women’s tennis rivalry between Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.”
“Ilse Gevaert displays a talent for turning negatives into unlikely positives.”
Her nonconformist, piercing views and inspiring messages do resonate with the masses: Over a 100,000 fans have joined online and her Youtube channel is counting more than a million views. Her summer single ‘Work It’ was listed Number 1 as most popular track on Twitter’s Hypemachine. And of course, heartwarming thumbs-up in the form of Tweets and follows from fellow visionary artists such as Mikky Ekko, The Unkown Mortal Orchestra and Mike Posner.
With its bass-heavy, lavishly cinematic sound and undeniable charm, ILSE’s music dances between musical eras while pointing towards the future. Hers is music made for everyone—music made for you to feel. ILSE’s music is made to bring people together.