Izzy Escobar flies with broken wings every day.
The incoming first-year musical theater student released her debut song “Broken Wings” on June 25, stemming from her experience of abuse from a stepparent, which she turned into inspiration for her music at a young age. The four-minute pop song, accompanied by an original music video, celebrates overcoming difficult situations in life and ultimately learning to let go and grow from them, Escobar said.
“I’m grateful that I’m able to help others who are going through a similar situation and use my music as a positive influence because I really believe that I went through all of that for a reason,” she said. “I’m now able to talk about it in a really positive manner and help others.”
Escobar said she lived a double life when she was younger, going to school and pretending everything was okay – not even her closest friends knew about the darker struggles she was experiencing at home. As a result, she turned to music, a constant in her life since the age of 4 when her mom encouraged her to play the violin. At 8 years old she started writing music in a songbook, which ultimately culminated in songs like “Broken Wings.”
“Music has always been my therapy, and it’s always just been the place for me to go to. I write songs every single day,” she said. “I’m doing music every single day.”
Kristen Nolfi, Escobar’s mother, said it was difficult for her to hear Escobar reflect on the darker times in her life throughout “Broken Wings.” However, the song also showed her that Escobar had found a healthy way to move on from her struggles.
Nolfi said the way Escobar chose to symbolize dark situations with her lyrics about overcoming a river of tears is powerful in that she describes how she persevered even after difficult experiences.
“Hearing Isabella channel her thoughts, emotions, feelings into ‘Broken Wings’ informs me as her parent that she’s got the skills to channel her hardship into something positive,” she said.
Escobar’s manager Stefano Devenedito said he became interested in representing Escobar due to her large vocal range and passion. Escobar first played for Devenedito in a New York restaurant on the water. She took the ferry, bringing only her acoustic guitar with her, before singing covers to the strumming of her guitar strings in the middle of the restaurant.
“She had a lot of fire in her,” Devenedito said. “It seemed like (music) had been something she had been waiting to try and explore for a while.”
By writing “Broken Wings,” he said Escobar created an anthem for people who have struggled or felt different or alone. The song is a powerful statement for anyone, male or female, who has had challenges or difficulties in their life, he said.
Escobar’s writing process begins with a simple beat. After finding one on YouTube or creating one using her guitar, she then improvises lyrics over the sound several times, before taking her favorite parts from each improv session and turning them into a song. For “Broken Wings” the lyric-writing process took approximately three hours. She then worked with songwriter Cass Dillon who helped with the melody and overall structure of the song.
Since the song is so inspired by her life, Escobar wrote some of her personal experiences into several of the single’s lyrics. The song begins with “Seventeen, walking alone,” a reference to a time when Escobar traveled to a Cape Cod beach by herself, which was also where she came up with the song’s title.
“I kind of just looked around and I just felt such peace inside of me and such self contentment for the first time in a while,” she said.
Other people have found a similar sense of peace in Escobar’s music. Since releasing the song, Escobar said many listeners have reached out to her via social media to share their own difficult experiences in life. Although the song is a reflection on dark times in her own life, Escobar said she is grateful to be able to help other people going through similarly tough times in their own lives by creating a message of hope.
“Just for people to be vulnerable like that to me and reach out to me and say that my song was able to help them is such a reminder of why I do this,” she said. “Helping other people is just the best part of all of this.”