Written by Lauren Rosier
YaSi, a rising Iranian-American singer/songwriter, with an exquisite voice, and known as a firecracker on stage, delivers serious sentimental lyricism in her songs. YaSi grew up in Denver, Colorado, and unfortunately, at that time, Denver didn’t have much diversity then. She was one of the only Middle Eastern kids in her school, and definitely one of the only Persian kids.
“I gravitated towards music because it was a way that I could connect with other people, like my classmates, because I’m also like an only child. It’s not like I had any music I could compare and contract experiences with,” YaSi explained. “I fell in love with music at a young age. My mom told me the minute she knew I could sing was when I was like reciting Disney movies and singing them with full force. Music always found its way back into my life. It was something that gave me a deep level of understanding and comfort, and I just kind of went with it.”
Naturally, her influences changed through the years. “Honestly, I listened to a lot of pop music and Disney because that was the most accessible at the time. Because my parents are Persian, I listened to a lot of Persian music,” She began. A lot of the music that was on the Disney Channel was Britney Spears, *NSYNC, and Christina Aguilera, and she loved them, but she was looking for more.
“My first real music discovery kind of came from listening to hip-hop and that’s kind of where my passion for discovering music [came from] and seeing what was out there. Like when the Internet started, I remember physically being on Yahoo! Music, if anybody remembers that, [that probably ages me], but Yahoo! Music and watching music videos for just hours, and I would always have different pockets of stages like I’d either be obsessed with Queen one year, then Good Charlotte, Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, then obsessed with 2Pac, the Hieroglyphics, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera… it became just like a huge melting pot of things I became obsessed with, and honestly, now I find myself loving now the indie-pop stuff and finding old music from Argentina and Spain, old Disco, and not to be a stereotypical musician, like, ‘I listen to everything’ I genuinely probably have a phase for every type of music,” YaSi admitted. Don’t we all, YaSi, don’t we all!
The firecracker performer debuted with a banger of a song, her first single, “Guilty,” a track about feeling so culpable about innocent flirting. “To be clear, I don’t condone cheating at all – even hypothetically speaking – but ‘Guilty’ is about that gray area of relationships that makes you wonder, should I be feeling guilty about innocent flirting, and does this make me a bad partner? I didn’t know how to bring it up to anyone so we wrote an unfiltered (a lil’ harsh at times) song about it instead.”
That’s exactly why I just love her, though, she writes these songs about topics that everyone is thinking about but says nothing about. She’s not afraid to push the norms. Unfortunately, music wasn’t part of the equation for most of her family living overseas.
“It was [“Guilty”] the last song we worked on for the EP,” she explained. “[At that point], we had done a lot of cinematic pop music. It felt like we were missing that R&B flair. From 3 PM to 12:30 AM we wrote and sang the song and finished it that night.”
Unfortunately, music wasn’t really an option for most of YaSi‘s family. The expectations were that they would go onto college and become doctors, professors, nurses, engineers, or architects, etc. You catch my drift.
It wasn’t that music wasn’t accepted in Persian culture; everybody loved music in Persian culture. “Music is a huge thing. Dancing is a huge thing,” YaSi reiterates.
“I never really thought that it was a job that people could have until I was like in high school and had one of my teachers tell me: ‘hey, you’re a really good singer, you should go to school for this.’ of course, I laughed, and said, ‘there’s no way my parents would ever let me go to school for music.'”
That just wasn’t a thing and college was mandatory. She knew she had to go to college.
“I never really thought that it was a job that people could have until I was like in high school and I had one of my teachers kind of tell me like ‘hey, you’re a really good singer, you should go to school for this.’ and I laughed, and said ‘There’s no way my parents would ever let me go to school for music.’ That just wasn’t a thing and college was mandatory,” she revealed.
She knew, since she was 4 years old, that her parents required her to attend college after high school. She always thought that it would be for something other than music. She ended up getting rejected from her dream school for Sports Journalism, discovered a Music Business program in Denver, and then stayed there for her Music Business degree at the University of Colorado at Denver.
“I got to learn a lot about what I wanted to do as an artist, but on the business side. The word ‘business’ made my parents very happy. I ended up doing that and it was great to have a) an education; b) to meet a bunch of kids that were just as excited about the industry,” She exclaimed.
YaSi’s latest single, “World Is Burning,” is literally on fire, as she tackles some of the darker emotions felt in 2020 throughout our country. “While I wrote this song in January of 2020, the feelings of anger, confusion, disillusion, and the clear hypocrisy of how the world treats its citizens were the reason I wrote this song. We’re all watching people around us get ‘high’ on their vices, but how can we blame people when our backs are against an unpredictable wall?”
On her upcoming EP, she adds, “I’m really excited about the EP. I haven’t released a full project since 2019 and I’ve seen myself grow both as a songwriter and vocalist, but also as a performer. There have been so many things happening and people have been using music as a lifeline, so, thank you.”
One of her most personal tracks on the EP is the song “Inferno,” which speaks about her family in Iran, and finds herself singing in her country’s native language, Farsi, for the first time. “I’m not one thing,” she says proudly. “I’m 100% Iranian and 100% American.”
YaSi’s debut EP, Coexist With Chaos, is due to be released on April 2nd via Royal Rhythm Recordings.
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