When it comes to artistry, Isaac Niaz holds all the keys to his creative kingdom. The singer, who recently performed the National Anthem at an Astros baseball game, also produces, composes, and is hands-on with all aspects of his burgeoning career.
With exciting new opportunities on the horizon, Niaz’s hustle is stronger than ever. The Houston artist’s latest creative exercise will be a remix EP with accompanying visuals, to debut for his fans later this month.
“I started singing before I could speak,” he explains. “My grandmother would tell me that when jingles came on TV, she noticed I could sing along with them.” Niaz discovered early on that in order to become the artist he dreamed of becoming, he had to do it his own way. “I always knew I wanted to sing professionally, and I’ve always wanted to pursue it,” he says. “I auditioned for American Idol and The Voice. I’d always make it to the final rounds before the live shows, but I didn’t love it because it’s such a machine and takes the art out of it.”
In addition to feeling stunted by the status quo of the music business at the time, Niaz was also facing a harsher reality. “I was closeted, and I didn’t get to pursue music the way I wanted to. The most crippling thing was not being out. I knew I ultimately couldn’t make my authentic sound if I wasn’t being true to myself.”
His evolution transformed his music ambitions. “I’m inspired by the creative process, and being able to do something that comes so naturally to me in front of people,” he says emphatically. “That energetic exchange with people willing to listen to my music and the creative side of the industry is so beautiful when you can do it authentically. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life, and being able to create something that is affirming to me is what I’m meant to do.”
The independent artist draws inspiration from a familiar voice. “I’ve always loved pop music, and the first thing that most [of my] listeners catch is the Mariah Carey influence. She’s one of the greatest to ever do it, and I’m so inspired by how she does it all—writing, melodies, backgrounds. I do the same thing with my music.”
Years of burning the candle at both ends by moonlighting as a musician while working full-time at a River Oaks hair studio has allowed Niaz to see his personal dreams come true. “I’ve performed hundreds of times, and my opportunities keep getting bigger,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of my favorite artists at the House of Blues. In 2020 I was riding my bike downtown and I passed that venue, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to play this venue one day. It’s such an iconic venue, and I’m going to manifest this.’”
It wasn’t long before Niaz’s phone rang. “Ten months later, I got the call to perform!” he says. “The turnout was huge, and it felt like the moment when this became real for me and that it was really happening. What I thought was impossible a year prior was now happening. My name was on the tickets and the Live Nation website. It was incredible!”
The local superstar is set to release his remix EP of some of his original songs this month, complete with accompanying visuals for each song and a Spanglish version of his tune “Out of Love” featuring producer and creative collaborator Iris.
“As an artist, I really want to express myself creatively, but also want people to love it,” he says. “With my remix EP, I’m revisiting some songs and giving them new spins.”
It’s been a long journey, working day and night, that has led Niaz to be able to shoot for the stars. “My dream has always been to play Madison Square Garden. I want to have a platform big enough to create a safe space for people who are afraid, or who don’t have a voice—and show them that I, as a gay man, had the tenacity to go out and do it. When I look at Mariah Carey [and some of my other] favorite artists, I think about how they provided [that kind of] safe space for me to turn to.”
Indeed, Niaz sees a higher purpose in all of the career opportunities coming his way. “My goal isn’t to be famous; it’s to be successful and do what I love for a living, and hopefully save somebody’s life through my music. That would be the biggest reward ever.”
Keep up with Isaac Niaz on Instagram @IsaacNiaz.