Introducing: Yaniza

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Singer-songwriter Yaniza recently spent some time waking us through her latest single “bouquet” and the influences she’s experienced in her music career thus far. Yaniza, like many of us, is learning each day to be a stronger, more confident person not only in her music, but also her daily life. Dating is one of the most obvious songwriting topics, yet Yaniza has managed to gracefully captivate hearts with her pure honesty and relentlessness to find the best partner for herself. 

Thank you for joining us today! Are you excited that “bouquet” is officially out?

Thank you for having me! I’m so beyond excited! I wrote “bouquet” almost a year ago and I worked really hard to get it to where it is. My friend Kornel Sylwester produced it and he always takes good care of my songs. The feedback I’m getting from everyone about the song has been really positive and I’m so grateful.

Your latest releases all tie into the things you’ve learned while dating. What would you say isyour most valuable dating lesson you’ve learned and why?

Oh man, I’ve learned SO many dating lessons lately. Take mixed signals as a no, trust your gut, don’t give people excuses no matter what. I think the most valuable one though is actually something that a friend of mine told me years ago that I never forgot. He said “why would you ever want to date someone who isn’t absolutely crazy about you?” That’s it, point blank. If someone is unsure or doesn’t see you as a gem that they can’t wait to treasure, they’re not for you.

Every songwriter has a different process. How do you typically bring lyrics to life? Run us through your creative process.

My process usually involves lyrics and melody coming to me at the same time, and then I build the rest of the song around that. Sometimes melody comes first on its own and then I add lyrics to it based on the mood that it makes me feel. I also often sit down with a particular subject matter in mind and then I’ll grab the guitar or ukulele and start playing chord progressions that I’m familiar with. Then I start singing about what’s on my mind even if most of it comes out as gibberish or even if the melody doesn’t necessarily repeat itself right away. It’s all about letting the ideas flow naturally and then seeing what I came up with and organizing it into a way that makes sense to listeners. I have a million voice memos with melodies that just pop into my head, and each song has many voice memos because I try to record everything right away so I don’t forget it.

Was the writing process for “bouquet” any different than your usual routine? Why or why not?

I wrote “bouquet” in that more rare form where I was thinking about the subject first, and then decided to process it through writing. I just couldn’t stop thinking about all my past dating experiences and how I felt like guys were super into me right off the bat, and then started slowly getting distant and losing interest. I was pretty certain that this is how most relationships end, but what was so confusing to me is that I couldn’t imagine losing interest in someone like that. Most of the friendships I have now are ones that I’ve had for over 10 years, unless the other person decided to betray my trust or treat me for granted. I’m just not someone who is used to dropping someone platonically or romantically. Once I like someone, I’m able to commit for a long time. So I was feeling like I was doing something wrong to push them all away and I was trying to figure out what it was. In writing the song, I realized that I’m not really doing anything wrong. I just have to keep hoping and waiting for someone to appreciate all that I am long-term 🙂

What tips do you have for someone who isn’t an artist, but still wants to use songwriting and poetry as an emotional outlet?

My biggest piece of advice would be to just let any and all ideas out. It can be on paper, in a voice memo, a video, whatever. Don’t overthink it and don’t worry about showing it to anyone. I know it seems like every song, movie, piece of art, book, etc was easy and was finished overnight, but this is far from the case. Everything starts with brainstorming or even venting. I think the best art comes from transferring your experiences from your head or heart to paper, and then organizing it later. Some parts may not fit into the art piece even if they’re relevant. Some things may need to be exaggerated or slightly altered. But no one needs to know about those specifics unless you want them to. Just go for it and see what happens!

As a jewish, biracial female artist, what lessons do you wish other young women with similar backgrounds to yours could learn before jumping into the music industry?

This one cuts deep, I’m so glad you asked it! Again, something someone told me comes to mind here because I’ll never forget it. I actually met Lily Singh at a YouTube event a few years ago and I asked her why I should keep going if I’ve been trying so hard for years to reach a larger audience, and other people seem to go viral overnight. She was encouraging and said something along the lines of “some people have to work harder than others.” Without going into detail, I immediately understood that she was connecting with me about being a woman of color. These platforms were simply not made for us to succeed in, and if we allow it to get to us, it will continue to be this way. Young women with similar backgrounds as me should absolutely keep trying at whatever it is they want to accomplish. We will have to work harder, it’s just the way things are at the moment. But the success will be so sweet because we never gave up, or if we did, we bounced right back and got the job done. There is no shame in giving up, but make it temporary and get right back to it.

What artists are you most excited to hear new music from and why?

I’ve been really excited about Mickey Guyton lately! She is an incredible black country artist and I was hooked on her music as soon as I heard it. She’s so inspiring because country is a genre that doesn’t open its arms to just anyone, but Mickey Guyton breaks those boundaries with her undeniable talent. Country is one of my favorite genres and I swear I’ve never felt like I could release country music until I found Mickey. A song of this genre may or may not be on my agenda coming up 🙂 I’ve also been really enjoying Zoe Wees’ music lately. I first heard of her because of an Instagram ad but she’s popping up more and more and I’m excited to see her progress! She has a very unique voice and I love her neon braids! My all time fave artist though is Taylor Swift and I’m pumped for her re-release of Red with the new songs!

Do you think the artists you listen to on a daily basis influence your music? If so, in what ways?

Absolutely! I am not classically trained in music, so beyond the guitar and voice lessons I started taking in high school years ago, the way I learned how to write music was through listening to other artists. Once I learned the foundations of songwriting in high school as well (shout out to Beacon and Mr Letiecq for running an amazing music program!), I was able to sort of piece together anything that I didn’t learn. I love listening to pop, country, and acoustic singer-songwriter/coffeehouse style the most, and it shows in my music too. I also love naughty rap songs but I don’t think those fit as well with my brand lol!

What can fans look forward to next from you?

A whole lot more music! I’ve been writing a bunch and just trying to decide the best way to release everything in this new world of singles dominating over albums. I may try to find something in between those options 🙂 I have more songs about love and heartbreak, but also some about understanding that life ebbs and flows and making the most of the time we have. I also plan to start posting on YouTube again and continuing to merge my love of music with my love of teaching ukulele. I also have some merch ideas cooking and some live shows getting scheduled. Basically fans can look forward to the fact that my mind is exploding with ideas and once I organize them, just like I do with my songs, I’ll share them right away!

Listen on Apple Music

Maria Herrera

Maria Herrera is a freelance music journalist for Indie Is Not A Genre and co-founder of a small Nashville-based indie artist management group called Evergreen Entertainment.

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