Discovering her love for music at the age of 16, South London songstress Yiigaa has become one of London’s promising acts with big things in sight.
Raised by her Ivorian master drummer father and her travel- loving mother, her childhood was filled with music. Heavily influenced by festival culture, world music, soul-electric and house, Yiigaa blends her flawless vocals and smooth productions to create a twist of what she calls ‘Souletric Afro-pop.
After a stream of successful singles including ‘Edge’ and ‘Nirvana’ the rising artist unveils her 6-track EP ‘Soul Ties’, a project that reflects the healing process after choosing yourself.
Speaking on the EP she says, I am truly so proud to bring you my silver lining, my flower in a dark room, something I’m so proud of born in a place that I will never be again but am thankful for. Without coldness how can we feel the warmth? Without loneliness how can we feel the touch of others? And without pain how can we feel pure strength.”
Although she has built her name with a success firmly established in music, she is also an accomplished actress and theatre facilitator. In 2020 she featured in Abdou Cisse short film “Damage Control” which aired on channel 4 and is also part of the converted national youth theatre.
“Acting was my first love and music saved my life”
To celebrate her latest EP release ‘Soul ties’, Yiigaa chats to Projext Liquid about how it all started, feeling vulnerable, and her future plans.
Listen to 'Soul Ties' below
When did you realise that music is something you wanted to take seriously?
I realised I wanted to take music seriously when I was about 16. I was going through a really difficult time in my life and I went to the studio with a friend. I remember recording my feelings and becoming so much lighter. I had never done anything that made me heal in that way and that I loved more.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I’ve been writing songs since I was 6, the first one that sticks out is called “Detention” with my cousin when we were 8. It was a ballad about being kept after school Lool! The first song I wrote I released was called “Breathe” which was part of my first EP on soundcloud in 2015.
How much do you think your childhood has influenced you as an artist today ?
Sooo much. My house was always filled with music. My Dad is a musician so we’d have drums all in the house, traditional music playing, and my mum loved world music and festivals so I was always exposed to so many cultures of music from Latin to Indian music. Also growing up in Brixton all the Caribbean culture mixed with the uk rap and r&b scene has hugely influenced the music I make and love .
Talk to us about your EP ‘Soul Ties’. It reflects on the healing process after choosing yourself and the power of self worth, why did you choose to explore this?
I don’t really choose what it is I make music about, I never have. And I truly didn’t know what the EP was about until about 3 songs in. I knew I was in pain from the situation I had left for various reasons but I was unsure what I was actually saying. Healing is weird and is so unlinier and that’s what I wanted to represent in the EP, the ups and the downs. Now I listen to it and I’m like yes you can put that all to bed now. It’s so liberating!
How long had you been working on it?
I’ve been working on this project for longer than it feels, by constantly pushing and exploring sounds and genres it’s been a journey. I had so many different artists come into studio with me over the past 2 years and even those who aren’t on the tape have inspired me in so many ways. I just love collaboration and especially with artists that make music different to my own. It’s always important to not limit yourself or sound.
Do you ever feel anxious about sharing your thoughts and emotions in your music?
Definitely! This EP is about something a lot deeper than Is on the surface but I believe in artists protecting themselves aswell as sharing. And I always want to inspire and make people feel like things will get better, but I don’t feel I have to share every detail of my pain, I think the finished product is enough. It takes time to get to that point though.
What helps you stay motivated in such a fast paced industry ?
My family, doing better for my family and making them proud. Also wanting to get up and do what I love every day! I also believe in building a platform so I can help others and make the world a more equal and safer space. So all of those things help me get up and go in the morning.
If you weren't doing music what do you think you would be doing?
I’m also an actor and theatre facilitator, so probably more acting. I do love it , but I say that acting was my first love and music saved my life. But to be honest I enjoy everything Creative, I love photography , painting, fashion , filming, editing things. There’s so many more things to come from me that people won’t expect!! The world is our oyster.
Congratulations on selling out your 1st headline show. How was the experience, was it everything you hoped for?
Selling out general sale in 2 hours was truly a dream , everyone gets imposter syndrome so at that point I was like, really for me? This girl from Brixton who started on soundcloud in bedrooms? I’m beyond grateful there isn’t many words.
We’ve already seen such a great start to the year from you, what else can we expect from Yiigaa?
Bigger and more euphoric tunes, collaborations with amazing people. But also some more reflective and mellow songs! More shows, loads more visual journeys and just a positive and open attitude that hopefully inspires a couple people on the way.