This time, we get to know Yi, a singer-songwriter currently based in France. Inspired by the jazz greats of old, such as Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald, Yi brings some classic vibes with a modern twist to the music.
The track "I Didn't Mean to Cross Your Mind" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
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1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.
I am originally from the Philippines but I live in France now. I am currently a Voice major at IMEP Paris College of Music and have been singing live here and there. I am releasing my third album, "Nina Someone" (NOT Nina Simone) on Feb 24, 2023.
2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?
When I was in 6th grade, students were asked to sing a song in front of everyone one by one. When it was my turn, they all laughed for the entire duration of my performance because of the quality of my voice and the vibrato. They just thought it sounded bad and weird. I decided that I would never sing again. When I was in high school, after seeing Mariah Carey on TV performing "Against All Odds", I realized that a husky sound could be beautiful and that I should stop hating my own voice just because my peers didn't like it. That Mariah video inspired me to make music that complements my voice.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences as an artist come from very different genres of music: Ella Fitzgerald, Jeff Buckley, Debbie Gibson, Bon Jovi, and Mariah Carey. My music has been evolving into a jazzier sound because of jazz school.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
I am more of a songwriter than a vocalist so one of my goals is to write songs for other artists. I've always written songs for my own voice and released albums and singles but it would be nice if I stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote for other voices.
5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.
I can only make music when depressed or anxious. When I am very 'productive', it means that I am not okay and I take advantage of that. I've been trying to write happy songs for years now but I just can't and probably don't have to. Most of the time, I write lyrics first before the melody. Recently, I've been composing chord progressions + melodies first because I need to submit them as homework/projects to jazz school. I just add lyrics afterward. The songs that I wrote this way tend to be jazzy. My latest song, "I Didn't Mean to Cross Your Mind" was composed this way.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
"Angel Eyes" - Ella Fitzgerald version. I don't know why it is my all-time favorite. I only know that the moment I find out why then it will not be my favorite anymore. I'm weird, I know :)
"You can only grow as a musician if you listen to other musicians' music - old and new, East and West, all genres."
7. What is the best advice you have either given or received in terms of music?
The best music advice that I have received is this: You can only grow as a musician if you listen to other musicians' music - old and new, East and West, all genres.
8. Proudest accomplishment?
I was a UK Songwriting Contest finalist in 2010 for my song "No" and a semi-finalist in 2020 for my song "Alcohol". You can find the latter on music platforms. I've also written, sung, and released two albums these past few years and a third one is coming on February 24, 2023.
9. Just for fun! What's been your most embarrassing moment so far?
I was a few seconds away from performing a song and someone from the audience said "sawasdee ka". She said it again, bowed a few times and she looked like she was waiting for a response. I said to her with the mic on that I didn't come from Thailand. I could sense some awkward faces in the audience right after that.
𝟭0. Tell us about your lowest and highest points in music so far.
My lowest point in music was when it felt like my music career was just a waste of time and that music wasn't for me. I know that some of you can relate. This feeling eats you up inside. My highest point in music was when I proved to myself again and again that I was wrong for thinking that. Now, I see to it that every day is a high point in music.
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