Photo Credit: Hillary Thomas
Whether it was her parents coming to America to give her better, or trying to create during the wild ride that was 2020 – resilience has always been the underlying tone when it comes to YaSi. We talked with the Denver-based artist about being first-generation, recording here and there during a pandemic, ‘Coexist With Chaos,’ and more in this back and forth.
Kendra: When did your love of music go from being a mere fan to wanting to be an artist?
YaSi: I honestly always wanted to be an artist, but drifted away from it and then back to it in life. I think after high school I realized music was the only thing that made me feel understood and happy.
Kendra: The college I went to was heavily filled with first generations in terms of seeking higher education, and the drive we had was just as apparent as the hurdles we had that others did not. As a first-generation American, do you feel your family’s struggles in many ways are what pushed you this far?
YaSi: I wouldn’t say their struggle, I would say my parents’ resilience is what pushed me so far. I graduated college for them because that’s what they wanted for their child; a good education and a happy life away from politics that create war and revolution that they faced. So when I chose to go against the grain, I knew I had to push myself to be the best I could be for my parents, and their sacrifices.
Kendra: Your debut, ‘Coexist With Chaos,’ is out now, and you worked on that in between LA and Denver…How was that during a pandemic?
YaSi: It was scary at times but more than anything it was very isolating. At the beginning of writing this EP we didn’t have rapid testing or knew much about this virus, so I would get a test the minute I knew I was heading to LA and isolate for two weeks and the same process when I arrived back in Denver. I didn’t see anyone other than my producers for a good chunk of writing this EP.
Kendra: You noted that you found yourself asking if anything you were doing at that time even mattered because of not just what was going on in America, but also overseas from where your parents are from. I think that was something 99% of us felt throughout the past year. For you, what would inevitably help you shake those thoughts and help you continue to work towards your goals?
YaSi: I think again, it was the resilience of the people around me and them pushing me to do my job to the best of my abilities. And a lot of this EP was created from was that feeling of confusion, and shameless promotion, of coexisting with chaos.
Kendra: The idea behind your single, “Guilty,” is something I think we’ve all thought about in relationships; innocently flirting but feeling bad. I mean, my guy is not opposed to me flirting when I’m out to get a free drink because…we on a budget! Was this idea more personal, or just a universal thought?
YaSi: Hahaha! Yeah, I understand that. The initial idea from this song was something personal but when I shared it with the guys I was creating this song with, they all assured me that they’ve felt something similar one way or another throughout their different relationships. And hearing that it was somewhat universal made it more intriguing to write a song about.
Kendra: You’re also singing in Farsi for the first time on this record. I talked to an artist last year who would intertwine Mandarin into her hip hop and it was so…I guess the word is refreshing in a way because it added a beautiful layer to the song. Do you think you’d ever do a full record in Farsi in the future?
YaSi: I am singing in Farsi verrrrryyy minimally on this record, but yes I would love to one day do a record that’s in Farsi and collaborate with other Persian artists throughout the world. I have connected with so many Persian artists like Afta Hill, Danny Asadi, and CHAII, this year thanks to the internet and they have been very inspiring to me.
Kendra: It’s getting a little easier with the vaccine rollouts, but it’s still kind of hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
YaSi: Writing more music, making more visuals, and finding and connecting with people who love and understand the music I am making.