Ysabella’s Brave Battle

Ysabella Brave, September 2007
Photo: Drew Altizer

It was five years ago that I met Ysabella Brave at an event in San Francisco, for the first and only time. I thought she would enjoy meeting Tippi Hedren, so I invited Ysabella (real first name, MaryAnne) to attend a fundraiser for the actresses’s animal sanctuary that I was helping to promote, being hosted by Christopher Bently and Amber Marie Bently.

Then working for Yahoo! during the day, Ysabella had for the past year developed a huge following on YouTube in her free time (now over 12 million views) with beautiful renditions of a wide range of music — Broadway showtunes, country, religious, pop — which I wrote about in an item called “A Star is Born on YouTube.”

Most of those early videos have been pulled from YouTube due to their draconian copyright policy (because she didn’t write the songs.) As a result, she began writing her own songs, and recording music based on Bible verse (I wrote about one of them in “The YouTube Madonna.”)

music video

Scenes from Ysabella Brave’s “Baby One” (2007)

In person she was charming, intelligent, a little shy, and exuded the sort of charisma one generally sees only in major movie stars. When she departed that evening I felt privileged to have met her, as I was sure the next time I saw her she would be on television or the stage.

And so it was with a crushing sadness that an update recently scrolled across my Facebook newsfeed where I learned that Ysabella, whom in all honesty I had forgotten about in the past few years, has been so sick since 2009 that she has been unable to work and is in very dire straits both physically and financially.

Ysabella Brave in “Woe, Hypocrites!” (2009)

In a rare Status Update in April of this year, she stated, “I’m mostly bedridden and housebound, if not in hospital.” And as I write this, she’s about to undergo a treatment so severe that she commented, “Tomorrow I walk through hell with God.”

I don’t know what will happen to her, but I do know that artistic talent should be appreciated and encouraged. A PayPal account has been set up for Ysabella, and I hope that if you enjoy her videos, you’ll join me in donating to it.

Ysabella Brave Performances, 2007

Below, is some of her best work (including one sung in Apsaalooke, the language of her Native American ancestors.) She created these herself with a very basic camera, mostly from her home south of San Francisco. With her beauty, soaring creativity, and talent, one can only imagine what she would do with the resources of a Lady Gaga or Madonna, whom she resembles in many ways.

Once she overcomes her present obstacles, there’s so much she’ll be able to achieve!

See more of her videos at this link.

“Baby One”

“Don’t Know Why I Didn’t Come.”

“Woe, Hypocrites!”

“Daxalusshiliik, Go Ahead & Run”

“Beautiful”