Ish D was raised on Fruity Loops. Not the cereal with the toucan mascot — the music-making software. Born Ishmael Davison, the San Angelo native-born music producer cut his teeth making beats with the family computer and with the PlayStation 2 game “MTV Music Generator.” MIDI controllers and other tech were way too expensive, so he used the tools he had to experiment and produce his first material in his living room.
“There weren’t a whole lot of options for me,” he says. “So I made my own.”
That became a recurring theme for the producer, who would go on to launch a successful career producing tracks for local luminaries like Sam Lao and legends like Lil Wayne. He’s now going solo with an eight-track EP that is rooted in house music but includes flashes of R&B. It’s the apex of a career that includes a wealth of different experiences and the start of a new chapter.
The EP, Marina’s Melody, is due for release Aug. 31. Davison made the beats for every single track and wrote the songs with his writing partner, local singer-songwriter Bianca “BeMyFiasco” Rodriguez. The project is four years in the making, and was borne out of a desire to do things his way.
“It was a slow, slow process, and I really took my time with it,” Davison says. “I figured, if this is how I get noticed as a producer, I want to make sure I’m happy with everything I’m putting out there.”
With Marina’s Melody, Davison is putting out his reflections and meditations on love. It’s a personal record on which he and Rodriguez ruminate on love lost and found in their separate relationships. Davison believes that will make the EP universally relatable.
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“Losing love, finding love and figuring out how to maintain love: These were all things that everyone deals with at one point or another, and we were both reflecting on that while we were writing," he says.
The EP is firmly rooted in house music, which Davison refers to as his “comfort zone.” While he may be more known for his work in the rap and hip-hop realms, he’s excited to get back to his roots, surprise fans and make some new ones along the way.
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“The songs are very relaxed, and it has an electronic R&B feel to it,” he says.
His style hearkens back to the days of '90s house music before EDM took over the scene. It’s a soulful brand of house that he hopes to introduce to his new home city.
“There really isn’t anyone making music like this,” he says. “So instead of waiting for someone to follow, I decided to bring it to Dallas myself.”
Marina’s Melody will be released Aug. 31. You can stream the first single, “Flashlight,” here.