Student Spotlight: Sophomore Aiden Isaacson explores her passion for songwriting by experimenting with new genres and music software

Music has been a large part of sophomore Aiden Isaacson’s life since childhood — now, she writes alternative indie music and hopes to become a professional musician.


Emily Wangen

University of Iowa student Aiden Isaacson poses for a portrait inside of Voxman Music Building on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Isaacson is a singer/songwriter that releases her music under the name Aiden Haley. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Addie Bushnell, Arts Reporter

Music has always been an important part of 19-year-old Aiden Isaacson’s life. While initially participating in choir throughout elementary school and middle school, her interest in music became more serious in 7th grade, when she began taking voice lessons. Over time, she learned to play several musical instruments, including guitar and piano, and she began writing and producing her own music in high school.

“I’m a very emotional person, and I would always have all these thoughts in my head,” Isaacson said. “I started writing them down, and then I thought: wait a second, this would sound cool put to music.”

Isaacson began experimenting with the process of songwriting, starting out by sitting down at her piano to pick out a melody. Now a sophomore majoring in communications, she lives in an apartment that doesn’t have space for a piano, so she relies more heavily on her guitar and music software like Garageband and Logic.

“I ended up getting a microphone so I could have a more quality sound,” Isaacson said. “I got a [music software] program called Logic. I just kind of played with it at first, and then over time I got better and better at using it. Even though a professional producer could do more than I could, you can still hear that my music has really transformed from where it used to be.”

Isaacson describes her musical style as alternative indie, noting that others have told her it sounds urban as well. As she became more proficient with Logic, she was able to experiment with different genres and instruments more easily.

“There’s a lot more options when you’re working on a program like that because you can have drums and guitar and piano and synthesizer and bass and all of that just at your fingertips,” she said.

Isaacson said music comes most naturally to her when she’s writing from a place of deep emotion.

“With songs like that, I can sometimes write them in five to 10 minutes because I’m feeling so inspired,” she said.

Isaacson often asks her three roommates to listen to her latest creations and to give feedback on them. She and her roommates have very similar tastes in music and enjoy introducing each other to new artists and songs.

The young musician said she has also found a large and supportive community of local musicians within Iowa City. One of her friends, who goes by the stage name Young Zorro, helped to introduce Isaacson to different producers and musicians who she could potentially work with.

“We’re all helping each other out,” Isaacson said. “There’s a big group of us working together.”

Isaacson hopes to become a professional musician in the future, and plans to begin performing in Iowa City and reaching out to radio stations to help kick-start her career. However, she said she doesn’t put unnecessary pressure on herself to become successful in the music industry.

“If it happens, it happens, and that’d be cool, and if it doesn’t, I still have my music,” she said. “I can still make music and perform on smaller scales.”

As for the near future, Isaacson is currently working on several new projects.

“I’ve been working on a couple songs. I have three or four in the works right now. I can’t promise anything any time soon, but I really want to drop an album sometime this year.”

Isaacson’s music can be found on Spotify at: