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  • Writer's pictureCatherine White

Southern Tier Music Life

Elmira musician Isaiah Smallwood Receives Arts Grant and Wins 'Golden Ticket' to Hollywood As American Idol Contestant


by Victoria Scott, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes


The Folk Arts Program at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes congratulates musician Isaiah Smallwood on receiving the Rural & Traditional Arts Fellowship Grant administered by the Arts Council of Wyoming County in partnership with the New York Council of the Arts (NYSCA). He also, recently, auditioned for the current season of the television singing competition American Idol, advancing to the contests in Los Angeles, CA.


Photo by Victoria Scott. Isaiah Smallwood performing at Corning, NY's Music in the Square, Summer 2022.


Isaiah is a musician living in Elmira and is part of the praise team of His Tabernacle in Elmira Heights. As a Rural & Traditional Arts Fellow, Isaiah will produce a 6-song EP entitled From My Heart to Yours, an accompanying music video, and host a video premiere and EP release and discussion.

His music is influenced by country, soul, and gospel music. The music video will feature the natural and human-made landscapes of Elmira and the surrounding prominently rural areas. “As a young Black R&B and Gospel musician, I want to reflect back to my community the beauty of where we live, as well as be a role model for local teenagers of what you can do as an artist committed to living in our rural region,” says Isaiah about the impact he hopes the project has.

You can listen to Isaiah here, and follow his American Idol journey on Facebook.


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