New York-based alt-R&B singer Yianna kicked off her Friday by releasing her second single, titled “Heavy Waters” (a follow up to her debut “Ordinary Love” in late 2018). Yianna is a songstress like no other, specializing in a soulful, vulnerable sound that is noticeably absent from today’s mainstream hits. “Heavy Waters” is full of intriguing lyrics, clean vocals and a beat that makes you want to dance with your best mates and relax at the same time; yes, it’s that type of song.
Yianna always had the drive and passion to flourish into the growing artist she is today, but before she decided to focus on music full-time, her original plan was to attend a military academy. She’d previously tried her hand in singing after dropping out of college at the tender age of 18 but was inspired to continue her musical journey after receiving encouragement from the people around her.
I recently got to chat with Yianna and learn more about her music and her character.
I wanted to start this interview by commenting on your voice. Your sound is one that I haven’t heard in a while, and it’s really beautiful. Who taught you to sing? Did it just come naturally?
Nobody really taught me to sing, I really just started exploring with my voice when I was around 18. I was listening to a lot of old soul music, learning what I could from the likes of Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. I guess it really just came naturally though.
Before you decided you wanted to join the army, did you always know that you wanted to one day become a singer?
No, I had no idea. As I was enrolling my family and friends were encouraging me to try and find a hobby I could stick to – from there I kinda stumbled onto singing one day. Even then, I didn’t have a vision straight away for my project or the kind of artist I wanted to be.
What made you want to enroll in a military program in the first place?
It was something I always felt compelled to do. It’s weird to talk about it though because it’s not something I ever followed through with, so for me, it’s just something in the past.
Your musical backstory is a true reflection of one trusting one’s inner artist. Is risk-taking something that you’d encourage other budding artists to try?
Absolutely. Risk is everything. If you feel comfortable with the music you’re making, you’re not doing it right. That’s going to show a lot in the new songs I’m working on.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I play a little guitar and piano. I started learning the drums. I’m pretty bad at all three, but just good enough to get my ideas across.
What do you do to de-stress?
I eat, I drive.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to walk around a lot in the city by myself. Find new parks or shops.
What can you tell us about your upcoming music?
It’s different from this release. It’s by far the rawest I’ve ever allowed myself to be. I really wanted to make music that empowered me because I wasn’t feeling so good.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I’m really looking forward to touring and of course, releasing and writing more music.
Any last words for aspiring musicians that are reading this right now?
Don’t ever give up. Work really hard. Even if it means working three jobs on top of making music, anything is possible. Nothing will happen overnight, but if you put in the work and you’re a kind person it can happen.
Featured Image by Rachel Golden, courtesy of Tallulah PR & Management