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Isabella Manfredi On The Women Who Helped Her Find Her Voice

"She could speak to the intricacies and complexities of what female artists experience."

She’s known for her musical prowess, her powerful activism and “electrifying” presence on-stage, and behind Sydney-raised musician Isabella Manfredi are three incredibly inspiring women who have helped shape her into the woman she is today.

Below, she tells marie claire Australia who they are, and the lasting impact they’ve left. 

Rachael Sardelich 

“Rach was our day-to-day manager of [my band] The Preachers for more than four years. She was always really passionate about supporting artists. When I left the band, she also left her management role to become a Vedic meditation [teacher]. Now she is a creative mentor and an artist mentor/coach, but also a friend and somebody who knew me deeply [enough] to help me navigate through a really tough period where I could have easily given up or surrendered to the abyss.

She was so fundamental in holding space and being a sounding board for me to shape the vision of what I wanted to do as a solo artist. Every time I get a little bit insecure now or feel a bit muddled in what I’m doing, or even if I just need a bit of a pep talk I go to Rach. Working with her has made me appreciate taking a breath and [helped me realise] that good things take time, and that it is OK to be slow.

She made the record what it is, and has also helped me personally heal my heart and be strong enough in myself to become a mum and have a solid relationship. Rach was the person who helped me reconcile the fact that I wanted to have a family and be domestic, and also be an artist and a rockstar and travel all over the world and have that life. Before I started working with her, those two things felt incongruous, but now they [are] just my reality.”

Isabella Manfredi

Jess Kelley

“I met Jess on Zoom. She was living overseas and we connected through a mutual friend in the industry. I had spent a period of time without management, which was uncharted territory for me. I’d… [been] thinking deeply about what I wanted in a manager and had written down the qualities and attributes of the person I was looking for. Jess ticked all the boxes.

At the time, she was living in Los Angeles and managing Shania Twain and had managed Lykke Lee and Marina and the Diamonds. We had a lot of values in common. Jess was really passionate about women in the industry and could speak to the intricacies and complexities of what [they] and female artists experience.

She had supported her own artists to rise above all that or combat it. She is this total powerhouse, and also a mum. When I became pregnant with [daughter] Mina, Jess supported me in a way that didn’t diminish or take away from how hard it was going to be because, in reality, it is really hard but it’s not impossible. It takes somebody to live those two lives to be able to support somebody else through it.

Emma Louise

“I first saw [Australian artist] Emma sitting in the baggage collection [area] of Melbourne Airport six years ago. I remember thinking she looked so chic. She was wearing this two-piece suit and a little brown leather backpack and this cute hat. She looked like somebody I wanted to know.

We met and she invited me to a show that night. We became best friends shortly after that. Years later, Emma fell in love and moved to LA. During that period, I left the band and went over [there] and did a big writing trip, which started the seeds of my record.

There was something really warm and encouraging about Emma, and we wrote songs like water. It was effortless – one line running into the other. We’d sit around the piano then go out to the balcony and drink wine. I’d tell her all about what was happening in my life and she’d say, “You deserve better,” and then be like, “Wait, that’s a song,” and she’d go to the piano and read this line and then we would be deep into another track.

Emma was the person who really [helped] me to love singing again. She taught me to allow my instincts and intuition to lead the way.

Isabella Manfredi’s debut solo album Izzi is out September 2

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