Ahead of the release of his forthcoming debut LP, The Love Champion, Brooklyn's UNO NYC affiliate, Ian Isiah is as slick as they come. Close friend and style consultant to Shayne Oliver (Hood by Air), the 24-year-old Brooklynite also runs with the GHE20GOTHIK crowd and has collaborated on recent projects with fellow UNO clan-members and Dazed favourites, Mykki Blanco and Future Brown. A former child gospel singer back in school, Isiah's sound has leapt from the pew to the pole this year with a string of ridiculously steamy tracks occupying that club-ready, sweaty hinterland between croon and grind. Following April's controversial and subsequently banned video for "Mindfvck" with Boychild, "Freak U Down" dials up the sensuality.
Here, Dazed talks to Isiah about making R&B that "makes you actually feel good way down in your gut" ahead of the release of The Love Champion on November 14.
Dazed Digital: When 'Sweat' came out there were some comments which were confused about your sexuality based on the lyrics, was that part of the plan?
Ian Isiah: My plan is to share pure music that's genderless - a sound that all people could bump to and not be placed in a box. When I write, I always express my true feelings about love, and that's genderless love.
DD: How old are you and where were you born? Where are you based now?
Ian Isiah: I'll be 25 this month - Sagittarius and loving it. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, the heart of the world, at least my world lol . I actually still live there as well.
DD: When did you start performing?
Ian Isiah: Music was always around me growing up. I think I started performing the moment someone passed me the mic when I was at least 5 at church - from then on I knew music was my heartbeat.
DD: What are the best places to hang out/party/perform in NY right now?
Ian Isiah: It's hard for me to answer questions like "where to hang out in NY?" Since most of my family and friends that knew me while I was still in my Mom's belly are here. I literally hang out in mostly every hood in NYC. As far as partying, I usually only go to fun underground parties like GhE20G0TH1C or like a local Hood Club playing amazing Top 40 and all Drake songs .
DD: What's your favourite on stage outfit right now?
Ian Isiah: Shirtless sweatpants & Timbs.
DD: What does being part of the UNO family mean to you?
Ian Isiah: It means being part of a family in general, having a support system that believes in you. Also it's just a beautiful thing to have others believe in a dream you have.
DD: What can we expect from your LP?
Ian Isiah: You can expect a lot of "feel good" music , unexplained emotions, and sweet harmonies to get you in the mood. I really want to bring back R&B music that makes you actually feel good way down in your gut, but relevant to today's world.
DD: What's the ideal place that Dazed readers should be listening to "Freak U Down"?
Ian Isiah: When you wake up in the morning for round two , When you're leaving the club with someone special, or even when you're in a dysfunctional relationship.
DD: What are your ambitions for 2014?
Ian Isiah: My only ambition is to revive how R&B music makes you feel - to take a gift that was given to me and share it with the world.
The Love Champion is released on 14 November via UNO NYC.
Follow Sian Dolding on Twitter here @SianDolding