Isla Van Hout (1996) is a jazz vocalist from Belgium, based in Amsterdam. At the age of twelve she started taking piano and voice lessons at the local art academy. Early on, it was very clear that Isla wanted to pursue a career in music. It didn’t take long before she professionally started studying music at Musart, an art high school in Hasselt, where she studied classical piano for two years. The love and interest for jazz music kept on growing. Therefore, she decided to switch majors to jazz vocals, preparing for her bachelor studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. She finished her bachelor studies in 2018 and graduated with a 9.
In her music, Isla always combines her love for soul and pop music with her jazz-roots. This unique combination is the root of her band IKS. IKS is a pop and soul band with singers Bahghi Yemane and Sarah Zeleznik, where three part harmony takes the lead accompanied by warm sounds of guitarist Mikael Ásmundsson and grooving basslines by bassist Freek Mulder. Part of IKS’ repertoire are originals and arrangements written by Isla. They recently went on tour in Estonia, The Netherlands and Belgium and released an EP in March 2018.
Van Hout also forms a duo together with pianist Jetse de Jong. Following in the footsteps of their musical heroes such as Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson, Van Hout and de Jong pay tribute to the great blues and jazz songbooks from the thirties, forties and fifties. The duo met at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where they discovered a mutual admiration for the excitement and swinging sounds so recognizable for the music from that era. They have been performing throughout the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Currently, Isla is pursuing a master’s degree in jazz vocals at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. As part of her masters, she is studying abroad at Temple University in Philadelphia where she is taking lessons with Dick Oatts, John Swana, Terell Stafford, etc. She is mainly focussing on writing her own music and discovering her own voice in the battle between genres such as jazz, blues and soul music. When she returns to her home in Amsterdam, she hopes to record an album with original music and a new band.