JAMusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?
Y: I think that innovation is imperative for creative stimulation especially nowadays when there is so much music and content out there. It’s difficult to consistently bring something fresh to the table but these challenges, I believe, make the music more potent. When you’re able to acclimatize to the ever- changing artistic climates, you push yourself to be more daring, more controversial. I dabble in all genres but being a primarily Urban Pop singer in a country where the music is predominantly Dancehall and Reggae necessitates that I constantly take chances and believe in my art regardless of popular opinion. If you want to be a preeminent artist, you have to be open to change because in the end that can only develop and strengthen your craft.
JAMusic: What elements do you hold that’ll define you as an entertainer as oppose to just another artiste?
Y: I’m an entertainer because when I perform I strive to give the people an experience, not just a show. From the lights, the sound, the stage- no matter how small or how big a venue is - I aim to effectively utilize all the resources at my disposal so that ,whether a person has seen me perform countless times or is seeing me for the first time, all that person can think of is how they feel in those moments when they see me perform. I dance, I rap, I sing, I deejay- I do a lot of things other entertainers do but my charisma on and off stage and in my records is what sets me a part.
JAMusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?
Y: I think the biggest risk I’ve taken artistically is pursuing music in the first place! My parents have always encouraged my love for music but seeing me proactively pursuing it really freaked a lot of people out lol because a lot of folks knew me as ‘The Brain’ in school- aka an astute scholar. Each time I voice a song, I realize more and more that deciding to follow my passion and not societal expectations is a risk that I am glad I took and continue to take.
JAMusic: What do you consider to be the greatest obstacle that you had overcome in achieving your current status?
Y: I think the greatest obstacle I had to overcome was finding the right producers and people to help me realize my immediate goal, which was to make music I could be proud of. I’m currently working on my E.P. ,and it took a lot of trial and error to get to a place where I felt comfortable with what I’d created.
JAMusic: A former student of Glenmuir High and a top performer in the GSAT and CAPE examination, when did you realise that music was your calling?
Y: I realized from a very tender age, to be honest. My father was a promoter back in the day and my mother was in a group so music was always around me- music of all genres at and that really helped me to develop my own artistry. Even at Glenmuir, I was always involved in some creative discipline – the choir, Indian dancing etc. so I knew that music was always in me but nothing happens before it’s time. And now it’s my time.
JAMusic: What’s the meaning being your stage name and given name, Yashae (I believe it’s Russian meaning), and is using your given name a strategic move to represent transparency and authenticity on your musical journey?
Y: I’m actually not sure about the Russian meaning lol, but I know it’s a rare name and on every website I’ve ever visited, It has something to do with an immense passion for the arts so shout-out to my mother for giving me that name! Using my real name was somewhat strategic in that as I said, not a lot of people have that name so it’s easier to search for me online etc. but like you said, I tend to be very direct and honest through my music so it was only appropriate that I use my actual name.
JAMusic: Let’s talk a bit about your single Boomerang, is this your debut single and what’s the story being the single?
Y: It is my official debut single. I had released a single called ‘Let This Beat Sing’ to test the waters and start getting my name out there. Boomerang is a step in a more upbeat dancehall-driven pop direction It is a fun club/party/ I’m-feeling-down-and-need-a -lift kind of song. It’s about a girl saying ‘hey, I will ride with you forever but you have to treat me well in more ways than one’ *wink* I was in the studio with Sammy G of Kuya Productions and they’ve worked with Alessia Cara, Nelly, Little Mix and so on so it was really a great experience. He gave me a beat to jump on and I started it ,and it just became this whole other sound- new melodies and everything. He was humming this catchy melody and I just started mumbling ‘Do Me Like That’ and the rest was butter.
JAMusic: What would you consider to be the greatest contributor to your musical diversity and versatility?
Y: My parents without question. They exposed me to all sorts of artists from virtually every genre. I incorporate Dancehall, Rap, Rock, 80s soul , a bunch of sounds in my music because they let me know it was okay to experiment with and appreciate other cultures and their music. With regards to my music role models, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton, Beyonce, Celin Dion etc. have also helped me, through their art , to really push the envelope.
JAMusic: How does your musical influences compound when you are sitting to write a song and record it? / Apart from them being timeless, what drew you to all the artistes that influence your sound?
Y: What actually drew me to Michael Jackson was a biography that I had to study for a reading competition that I had I entered when I was in Grade One. Plus, my parents are avid fans so his music as well as Toni Braxton’s was always everywhere! M.J. , Toni and Beyonce make me feel something when I listen to their songs; they pull me into the track ,and that is how I want listeners to feel when they listen to my music. Whenever I put pen to paper, I write from both an artist and listener’s perspective. When I get into the studio, I imagine that I am performing for a live audience so that I can kill it in the booth as I would on stage.
JAMusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?
Y: I’m a Jamaican girl doing Pop music , which isn’t an entirely strange concept because of course you have veterans like Grace Jones and Diana King that made the mainstream transition, but I’m doing something that in recent times hasn’t been done. I’m bringing a direct international feel to the music us Jamaicans do , and I am aiming to let the world know that Out of Many We Are One People and the same goes for our music. Just because we’re known for Dancehall and Reggae doesn’t mean we don’t have the potential to excel in other genres.
JAMusic: When you look to the future, what are some of the areas you’d like to change professionally and personally?Y: Professionally, I’d like to have more solid members on my team , people who genuinely want to grow together and make this thing happen. Personally, I want to make it my mission to change the way people and the industry view Jamaican artists. We are not just Dancehall or Reggae acts; there is diversity on the island. We just need to take the time to find it.
JAMusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
Y: It’s cliche, but my purpose is to use my music as an instrument for positive change. I want everyone especially the indigent to know that no matter where you’re from or what you have been through, you can be anything you want to be. I’m slowly but surely realizing that ;)