Isabella Peña: A Passionate Artist with a Collaborative Spirit

Isabella “Isa” Peña ’23-’24, a dual degree student at Harvard College and Berklee College of Music, has always been passionate about the arts. Join us as we delve into her artistic journey, from her involvement in Rock for Relief to her success on 'American Idol' and her plans for the future.

Rock for Relief: Fostering Teamwork through Music

Discover how Isabella Peña's involvement in Rock for Relief shaped her understanding of the importance of teamwork in the world of music.

Isabella Peña's artistic journey began with her involvement in Rock for Relief, a high school organization that hosted concerts to raise money for various causes. Through this experience, she learned firsthand the power of teamwork in the world of music.

Peña believes that collaborating with other musicians not only enhances the overall sound but also creates a sense of unity and support within the music community. This collaborative mindset has carried over into her time at Harvard, where she has actively sought out opportunities to work with fellow artists.

Harvard Opportunes: Finding Community in A Cappella

Explore how Isabella Peña found her musical community and support system in The Harvard Opportunes, a coed a cappella group.

Initially hesitant about joining an a cappella group, Isabella Peña quickly realized that The Harvard Opportunes was the perfect community for her. As a freshman, she found support from upperclassmen and appreciated having a group of people to turn to with her questions and concerns.

Being part of The Harvard Opportunes not only allowed Peña to showcase her musical talents but also provided her with a strong network of friends who shared her passion for music. Together, they created beautiful harmonies and memorable performances.

Yard Bops: From Friendly Competition to Musical Collaboration

Learn about Yard Bops, the band Isabella Peña formed with her roommate, and how their initial competition turned into a successful musical collaboration.

During her freshman year at Harvard, Isabella Peña and her roommate initially planned to compete against each other in the Battle of the Bands. However, they soon realized that their musical styles complemented each other, and they decided to merge their bands instead.

The band, named Yard Bops after Peña's freshman year dorm, continued to perform together even during the pandemic. Their shared love for music and their ability to work collaboratively have allowed them to create a unique sound that resonates with their audience.

American Idol: A Platform for Musical Success

Discover Isabella Peña's journey on 'American Idol' and the impact it had on her musical career.

In her freshman year, Isabella Peña auditioned for the 2020 season of 'American Idol' and impressed the celebrity judges with her talent. Although she didn't make it to the finals, her audition and some performances were televised, gaining her recognition and a growing fan base.

One of her notable performances on the show was a duet with Olivia Ximins, which has garnered over 250,000 views on YouTube. Peña's success on 'American Idol' and her growing online presence have opened doors for her in the music industry.

A Multifaceted Artist: Isabella Peña's Musical Journey

Explore Isabella Peña's diverse musical pursuits and her passion for the arts beyond Harvard's campus.

Isabella Peña's musical journey extends beyond her involvement on campus. Alongside her academic pursuits at Harvard, she has also found success on her personal YouTube channel, where her performances have gained significant views.

While she acknowledges the challenges of the YouTube algorithm, Peña remains confident in pursuing a career in the arts. Her experiences both online and offline have shaped her artistic identity and fuel her determination to make a lasting impact in the music industry.

From Music to Law: Isabella Peña's Future Plans

Learn about Isabella Peña's academic pursuits and her plans to combine her passion for the arts with a career in law.

In addition to her musical pursuits, Isabella Peña is also a Government and East Asian Studies concentrator with a secondary field in Theater, Dance, and Music at Harvard. She has recently been accepted to Harvard Law School and plans to start classes in 2026.

Peña sees her gap year experiences as valuable assets to her future legal career, particularly in the field of entertainment law. She aims to protect artists and ensure that their work remains their own, anticipating challenges related to AI and the SAG-AFTRA strikes.

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