Some people look at Issa and assume he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Try a wooden spoon.
Though his father is an engineer and his mother is a pharmacist – prestigious professions that would guarantee them upper-middle class status in America – Issa’s parents were not born in America. They’re from Senegal -- a country smaller than South Dakota where the average citizen earns less than $2000 a year.
Issa grew up in Dakar – the nation’s capital which is also unique for being the westernmost point in all of Africa. Even though his parents were considered well-to-do by Senegalese standards, they both grew up dirt poor so they encouraged Issa and his five brothers and sisters to excel in school, steering them into practical, high earning vocations like computer science and engineering. All of the kids followed the plan. Except Issa.
Issa loved the arts, loved music, which didn’t exactly sit well with his parents since the only people who made a living singing in Senegal were beggars. But the vision Issa had for himself was bigger than Dakar, bigger than Senegal, bigger even than West Africa. Issa saw himself as a man of the world, making a living singing in such exotic locations as Europe and the United States. Since he was a little boy, his dream was to come to America to seek his fortune.